Type and Level of Qualification: GCSE Level 1/2
Exam Board and syllabus: Edexcel
Pupils will study a range of different musical styles, divided into the following four areas of study: Western Classical Music, Music in the 20th Century, Popular Music in Context and World Music. Pupils will develop performance and ensemble skills on an instrument they feel confident with. They will also build on composition skills, taking inspiration from the different areas of study.
Methods of assessment
Solo performance: This should be on an instrument that they feel confident with as it contributes to 15% of their final grade. Pupils are able to record as many performances as they like and we will submit the best one. We advise that pupils discuss their choice of piece with their instrumental tutor, or their music teacher.
Ensemble performance: This does not have to be on the same instrument as the solo performance, but it is important that pupils are confident in the instrument as this performance is worth another 15%. Pupils are encouraged to choose a piece they enjoy playing, but their part must be clear and should not be doubled by another instrument by another instrument in the ensemble. There is some time available in lessons to work on this, but pupils are expected to make sure they schedule enough rehearsals outside of lessons to prepare for this.
Compositions: Pupils will complete two compositions over the course, worth 15% each. Each one must be based on a different area of study and the composition brief can be tailored to suit their interests. As pupils study the different set works they will gain knowledge of different composition techniques, which will help them prepare for this. Compositions are marked on compulsory criteria of: development of ideas, use of resources, form and structure. They could then be marked on any three of the following: melody, harmony and accompaniment, rhythm and tempo, texture, dynamics, use of technology. Time is allocated in lessons but pupils are expected to conduct research in their own time.
Listening and Appraising: This is the area of the course that can prove most daunting for some pupils, as it is assessed in a written listening exam at the end of the course. Although previous knowledge of theory and an ability to read music is helpful, all pupils can access this element of the course through analysis, work in class and listening/research undertaken by the pupil.
Key dates of assessments
Pupils will research and draft two compositions in year 10, which they will refine under controlled conditions in year 11 when they have developed their confidence in this area. Composition 1: research and preparation from January to February half term. Composition 2: research and preparation from May half term until pupils go on work experience.
Pupils would be given opportunities to record performances in year 10 and 11, although they are welcome to arrange a time to record performances as soon as they feel ready.
Additional textbooks and Supporting materials
Resources for each of the set works can be found on the department Froggle page. Once your child has logged in, resources can be found following: Home – School Departments – Music – Year 10/Year 11. There is a folder for each set work, including notes on the analysis and some background information.
How parents can help
The best way you can support your child is through listening to the set works together and through supporting them to meet all deadlines.