Music - Key Stage 4

The music department follows the new Edexcel GCSE specification for Music at Key Stage 4. This is a two-year course for those who enjoy performing, composing, and learning about different styles, genres and idioms in music. It allows students to build upon and develop basic skills studied during Key Stage 3, and provides excellent preparation for further musical study and a foundation for the Advanced Subsidiary and Advanced GCE in Music. GCSE music students should expect to be performing at a minimum standard equivalent to Grade 3 of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

The GCSE course involves a balanced curriculum of performance based work and score study. You will compose using both instruments and music technology producing your final compositional scores on the Sibelius Music Program.

Music Course Overview

Unit 1: Performing Music
Internally assessed
Unit code 5MU01


• One solo performance

• One ensemble performance


• Recordings of both solo and ensemble performances (on CD/MD/MP3)

• Scores, professional recordings or written commentary (for realisation) for both performances

30% of the Total Mark

Unit 2: Composing Music
Internally assessed
Unit code 5MU02


• Two Compositions, or

• Two arrangements, or


• Recordings of both compositions/arrangements (on CD/MD/MP3)

• Notated score or written commentaries for both compositions/arrangements

30% of the Total Mark

Unit 3: Music – Listening and Appraising
Externally assessed
Unit code 5MU03


• Knowledge and study of set works in the Areas of Study


• A 1 hour and 30-minute written paper

• All questions relate to the set works

• The paper will be in two sections

• Section A: eight compulsory questions in response to extracts from the set works that will be played on a CD during the examination (68 marks)

• Section B: one questions from two optional questions on the set works, requiring extended writing (12 marks)

• A total of 80 marks for the paper

40% of the Total Mark


What prerequisites are there for GCSE Music?

You will need to be the equivalent of ABRSM Grade 3on your instrument/voice, plus have taken the ABRSM Grade 3 theory exam. You can be entered for the theory exam through school, and attend theory classes.

You would be required to have weekly lessons on your instrument/voice throughout year 10 & 11.



I am not Grade three yet but will I be able to take GCSE Music?

As long as you are having instrument and theory lessons and can achieve the grade 3 standard before the January of year 11, you will be able to take GCSE Music.

How will I contribute to the school?
As a GCSE Music student you will be expected to play a greater role in the school music scene. You will have more opportunities to perform at events in school, and outside school. You will be a member of a school Music group and assist with concerts and musical entertainment.