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Music - Key Stage 4 (including Y9 Express GCSE)

The Music Department follows the Edexcel specification for GCSE:

GCSE Music is covered by listening to and analysing the set works and related works, composing using techniques learned from the styles explored and performing both set works and the students own choices. 60% of the course is completed as coursework with the Listening and Understanding Examination is taken during the summer session in Year 11 (end of Year 10 for ‘Express’ students).

Coursework – Performing:
Guidance is given as to what music should be selected for the performance module and the assessment criteria are shared with students to enable them to understand what is expected of them. Students may offer any instrument or voice. Opportunities to perform with others are given in lessons and GCSE students are expected to be a member of at least one extra-curricular music activity run by the school.

Coursework – Composing:
During the first year, composition exercises are completed and students are free to compose in any style chosen from any two contrasting areas of study. After a number of taught sessions covering a wide range of musical styles and techniques, students will complete each composition under controlled assessment conditions. These will take place during normal music lessons. Successful compositions from previous students have included; a Moby-style pop song using riffs and samples and a piece using a pedal note in the style of Chopin.

Examination – Listening & Analysis:
The set works are analysed and discussed in depth. Resources are available for students to support their learning.

The Areas of Study (AoS) are: 

  1. Western Classical Music 1600-1899
  2. Music in the 20th Century
  3. Popular Music in Context
  4. World Music

These Areas of Study each have set works which are covered in depth in much the same way as they are studied at AS/A2 level. This provides good preparation and a clear progression route for those wishing to study music at a higher level.

GCSE Music is a varied course. It has practical performance and composition units and with the suite of computers available for use it also provides students with opportunities to build their specialist ICT knowledge and skills. Music is also a highly academic subject. The knowledge and understanding required to succeed is best supported by some prior knowledge of musical theory and it is also advisable to be of a good standard on any chosen instrument before embarking on the course. We suggest a minimum of Grade 3 at the end of Year 9 (or end of Year 8 for ‘Express’ students). We offer reduced rates on instrumental lessons for students taking GCSE Music. It is advisable to have an individual lesson if studying at this level.

Edexcel Level 2 BTEC in Music/ Music Technology:
BTECs are vocationally related qualifications, where learners develop knowledge and understanding by applying their learning and skills in a work-related context. Additionally, they are popular and effective because they engage learners to take responsibility for their own learning and to develop skills that are essential for the modern-day workplace. These skills include: team-working; working from a prescribed brief; working to deadlines; presenting information effectively; and accurately completing administrative tasks and processes. BTEC Firsts motivate learners, and open doors to progression into further study and responsibility within the workplace.

The Edexcel BTEC Level 1/Level 2 First Award:

The  units offered are shown below. Students will study two core units and choose two optional units.

Unit

Type of Unit

Mode of Assessment

Weighting

 

Unit 1:

The Music Industry

Core

External exam taken in the summer term of Year 10

25%

Unit 2:

Managing a Music Product

Core

Internally assessed coursework

25%

Unit 4:

Introducing Music Composition

Optional

Internally assessed coursework

25%

Unit 5:

Introducing Music Performance

Optional

Internally assessed coursework

25%

Unit 6:

Introducing Music Recording

Optional

Internally assessed coursework

25%

 

BTEC Music Additional Information:
Unit 1: The Music Industry – which provides an overview of the industry, particularly focusing on the shape of the modern industry and covering the emergence of the role of the self-employed producer, performer and promoter.
Unit 2: Managing a Music Product – which covers essential aspects for progression. This unit looks at the development of a music product. As well as providing a vehicle for demonstrating skills and learning, it also introduces the role of planning and promotion in the management of a music product. Learners can base their work on a live concert, event, a CD or online product, providing opportunities for both music performers and technologists.
Unit 4: Introducing Music Composition – which encourages learners to develop creativity in addressing specific needs and requirements when responding to client briefs – similar to the behaviour required in the professional world of music composition.
Unit 5: Introducing Music Performance – which enables learners to develop their skills as performers for progression to the next stage of their education or training, as well as developing their technique and reflective practice.
Unit 6: Introducing Music Recording – which encourages learners to become familiar with recording technology and techniques that will reinforce their musical practice as well as developing important skills for progression into the professional world.