Non-examination assessment - Performance examinations and composing
The GCSE course brings together the three main components required for the study of Music – Performing, Composing and Listening/Appraising. It is a natural progression from skills acquired in Key Stage 3 although Grade 4 practical standard (ABRSM, Rock School or Trinity) on an instrument or as a vocalist is required if a high grade is to be achieved.
The skills studied during the course are based on four areas of study and in-depth analysis of pieces of music or set works:
- Instrumental Music
- Vocal Music
- Music for Stage and Screen
In total there are three components to the course:
- Component 1 Performing worth 30%
Candidates must prepare two practical submissions: a solo and an ensemble performance. These must be a minimum of one minute each in duration and total four minutes together. Performances are recorded and assessed in school during Year 11 and then sent for moderation.
- Component 2 Composing worth 30%
Candidates must prepare two compositions: one in response to a brief and the other a free choice composition. The set brief is released in September of Year 11 and the compositions are completed under controlled conditions in school. The compositions must be at least one minute in duration each and total three minutes together. Compositions are assessed internally and moderated externally.
- Component 3 Listening and Appraising worth 40%
During the external examination candidates listen to a series of short musical excerpts taken from both the set works studied throughout the course and unfamiliar pieces of music. The examination contains questions on aural skills, instrumental recognition, elements of music, musical contexts and musical language, and concludes with an essay question. This assessment comes at the end of the course.
The GCSE Music course is a well formulated and highly enjoyable course, which covers a wide variety of music and caters for musicians of all instruments and genres. It allows creative musicians a wealth of opportunities to develop and challenge their musicianship, build self-confidence and work as part of a team. The students will be given plenty of performance and composition practise and will be able to showcase their talents and skills regularly throughout the course, both in lessons and public performances.