Music GCSE KS3

Enjoyment for Life

Music at GCSE level is fun and diverse; you will perform with others, sing in choir, compose, analyse and evaluate pieces of music. It is a 2-year course of study with a listening examination at the end. It is open to young musicians from all backgrounds – all you need is a willingness to perform and get involved!

The marks awarded come from three ‘activities’ of Performing, Composing and Appraising.

Unit 1 – Performing. You will perform two or three pieces to your teacher, who will record and assess. These will be of your choice but there must be one ensemble piece. These have to be minimum of Grade 3 standard or equivalent in order to achieve full weighting allowance and total performance time is 4 – 6 minutes. Students will also prepare Programme notes (500 – 1000 words) for one of the chosen pieces that will be assessed.

Unit 2 – Composing. You will compose two pieces; a free composition and the other in response from a choice of briefs set from WJEC. Total time for both compositions must be 3 – 6 minutes duration. Students will supply a recording of their piece and the candidate does not have to perform it. The quality of recording is not assessed. A score, chord sheet or outline is required although not reflected in the marks. It is also a requirement for learners to write an evaluation of the piece composed in response to the brief set by the WJEC.

Unit 3 – Appraising. A written examination of 1 hour (approx.) of 8 questions on the Areas of Study, with two questions based on prepared extracts, and the other six questions will be based on unprepared extracts.

Entry Requirements

There are no specific entry requirements and it leads on from KS3 Music classes (see below). It is advisable to have reached Grade 3 standard on your chosen instrument or voice. We do require that all students who take GCSE continue or start to have instrumental lessons and take part in at least one extra – curricular musical group. You should have a curiosity about the subject.

Course Requirements

The specification we follow is the WJEC Syllabus.

GCSE Practical assessment:

1. Performing – assessed at any point in year 2 of the course. Teacher recorded and assessed, externally moderated.
2. Composing – free composition in year 1, WJEC brief composition in year 2. Teacher assessed, externally moderated.
3. Appraising – a written, listening examination in the June of the second year.

Where does it lead?

Students can use as a subject to broaden their GCSE options or further develop their music skills by studying AS/A level Music.

Key Stage 3 (Years 7 – 9)

Music in the Lower School is designed to be fun and develop the skills in Performing, Composing and Appraising at all levels. Children perform a range of ensemble pieces which have been arranged for a variety of instruments – their chosen instrument, or one from the classroom. Students learn to play these pieces in class and then compose their own version. Units of work include: Film Music, Latin American Dances, Classical music, 80s anthems, Reggae, Baroque music, Music of the Orient, Pop song writing, Blues and whole class singing. In the autumn term in Year 9, classes provide a unique and enchanting addition to the Christmas Concert with their Bell Ringing. Throughout each unit, students perform as a solo and ensemble and develop their listening, improvising, composing and rehearsing skills and will become more rounded musicians.

Useful websites:

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