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GCSE Music

Music in Wales Music for Stage and Screen Music Evolution Musical Forms and Devices

The GCSE Music course is divided into 3 units:

  • Unit 1 - Performing
  • Unit 2 - Composing
  • Unit 3 - Listening & Appraising

Unit 1 - Performing (30%)

Students will perform two contrasting pieces; one as a solo and one as a main part in an ensemble. Combined performances should not exceed 10 minutes. To attain a high grade at GCSE, performances need to be of at least grade 3 standard or higher. Pupils will have to perform for an external moderator in February/March of year 11.

Unit 2 - Composing (30%)

This unit is internally assessed under controlled conditions; students will have between 16 and 20 weeks to complete the composition. Students develop musical ideas in the form of two contrasting compositions that make links to the Areas of study. Students will be expected to keep a log of their compositions throughout the process. Music technology will be available to students to aid, develop and refine their compositions/ arrangements.

Unit 3 - Listening & Appraising (40%)

A final written paper will be sat in normal exam conditions, lasting 1 hour and 30 minutes. All questions relate to the set works in the Areas of Study.

The paper will be in two sections:

  • Section A: eight compulsory questions in response to unprepared musical extracts from the set works that will be played on a CD during the examination
  • Section B: An evaluation of a performance or composition undertaken during the course