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Edexcel GCSE Music

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What will I learn?

GCSE music at BOA is a combination of performance development, composition work, theoretical study and the exploration of musical pioneers via eight set works. Throughout the course you will spend time developing approaches to both group and solo performance, improving your composition technique and learning to analyse both your own and other composers’ compositions. Within the appraising element of GCSE Music you will become familiar with various musical genre’s & style’s, whilst learning to apply the common musical elements to analyse a piece.


How is the course structured?

There are 3 units in the GCSE specification: Unit 1 Performance; Unit 2 Composition; Unit 3 Appraising.

During Unit 1 – Performance, you will perform both a solo and an ensemble piece with a combined length of no less than 4 minutes.

In Unit 2 – Composition, you will compose two pieces of music. One of these compositions will be to a ‘set brief’ provided by the exam board, with the other a ‘free’ composition.

In Unit 3 – Appraising, you will study 8 set works from four areas of study (AOS1 Instrumental Music from 1700-1820, AOS2 Vocal Music, AOS3 Music for Stage and Screen, AOS4 Fusions). Alongside the set works, you will also develop your understanding of music theory. These set works and theory content will form the basis for the course examination.


How will I study?

 You will learn through a combination of theory study and practical application during your allocated lesson time of 2.5 hours per week. Due to the practical nature of the course, students will benefit from having individual instrumental/vocal lessons outside of their allocated GCSE music lesson time.

Within composition sessions you will learn how basic structures work, how to write a simple melody with instrumental accompaniment and how to create musical variety through the use of musical elements. Logic & Sibelius composition software is used during this part of the course.

Within performance sessions you will split your time between solo and ensemble tasks utilising our departmental performance and rehearsal spaces. Performances are captured in the academy recording studio.

Within ‘Set Works’ sessions, you will explore the historical context of musical styles, the genre specific characteristics associated and understand notation. The set works necessitate a more academic approach, allied with the chance to experience the set works practically, where possible.


How will I be assessed?

 Performances and compositions are recorded and assessed within the academy and moderated by external examiners. The Listening and Analysis unit is assessed by a formal written examination of 1 ¾ hours.

Unit 1: Performance is worth 30% of the final grade

Unit 2: Composition is worth 30% of the final grade

Unit 3: Appraising is worth 40% of the final grade.