Examining Board: AQA

For the first term Year 9 students will be developing their composition, listening and performing skills in order to start the course in the Spring term

Aim of Course

Content: GCSE work is based on the four elements of listening, appraising, performing and composing. These are based around the five Areas of Study which are studied through various styles of music. The five Areas of Study are:

  • Rhythm and metre
  • Harmony and tonality
  • Texture and melody
  • Timbre and dynamics
  • Structure and form

The styles studied are

  • Western Classical Tradition from 1650-1910
  • Popular music (including The Beatles, Rock music, Film music such as Harry Potter, Alicia Keys, Adele and Taylor Swift, plus many more)
  • Traditional music (including The Blues, Jazz, African music, Caribbean music, Salsa, Samba and British Folk)
  • Western Classical Tradition since 1910

Method of Assessment*:

Understanding music: 40%

The listening component is assessed by a written examination which lasts for one hour. The examination focuses on the five areas of study and involves answering questions about recorded excerpts of music. Students learn to use technical vocabulary to describe the structural and expressive aspects of music. Students will Study a piece from the Western Classical Tradition from 1650-1910 and a piece from Popular music set by the exam board. There will be a 30-minute paper with questions about these set works which students will have to answer under exam conditions.

Composing: 30%

Each student will choose at least two areas of study and compose through one of the three strands. This is written in class time. This will be submitted as a musical score using our music programme Sibelius. Each student composes two pieces, one free composition and one from a set brief by the exam board.

Performing: 30%

Each student must record a solo and an ensemble performance. These performances may be on any instrument or voice and can be recorded in the final year of the course. Students will be expected to participate in at least one musical ensemble during a lunch time or after school. The total of the music performed must be at least four minutes

Method of Assessment

Written examination: 40%
Coursework: 60%

Recommended Reading:

We recommend the following: CGP GCSE Music Complete Revision & Practice with Audio CD; The AB guide to music theory- volume 1 and 2; How Music Works: A listener's guide to harmony, keys, broken chords, perfect pitch and the secrets of a good tune (Penguin classics); How to Compose Music: A Guide to Composing Music for a Musician (or an eager Beginner) who wants to become a Composer - (How to Write Music) and How to Produce Music: The Ultimate Guide to Music Production (for the Beginner)