Music GCSE provides a contemporary, accessible and creative education in music with an integrated approach to the three main elements – performing, composing and appraising. You will be encouraged to broaden your musical horizons and understanding with areas of study that motivate and challenge.
By the end of this course you will be able to perform confidently as a soloist and an ensemble player. You will also be able to compose fluently using appropriate notations and software. You will understand how to comment on technical features of a wide range of music, from classical to world music and popular music.
OCR J536 Music
In year 10 you will start to work on your first portfolio, performing on, and composing for your own instrument or voice. You will also be introduced to the 5 areas of study which include Film, World Rhythms, Pop Conventions and the Concerto. In year 11 a further portfolio will require you to respond to a set brief and record a group performance piece.
Homework will be set weekly and will often be in the form of consolidation exercises, either based on the theory of the course or simple composition tasks. There is an additional expectation that you will be actively practising your instrument or voice. Furthermore, learners will progress well on this course if they listen widely and attend a range of events and concerts.
There are two assessed performing and composing coursework units, totalling 60% of your final grade. There is also a listening exam paper, lasting 1½ hours, taken at the end of year 11.
Many pupils who take this course go on to take music or music technology at A level and to study related courses at university. Others use this course to develop a raft of transferable skills such as communication, problem-solving, creativity and independent thinking.
Jobs that this might lead to include song writing, writing music for film or computer games, publishing, journalism, performing, teaching, music therapy, working in the community or working in the media.
Pupils must be keen on making music to take this course. You should be resilient, as there will be times your composition ideas don’t go to plan, and you will have to go back to the drawing board. Grade exams are always good to have, but there is no requirement that you have taken any to take this course. It is helpful to be having instrumental or singing lessons and to be actively raising your level of music theory towards or beyond grade 5.
Weekly after-school sessions are run when pupils can drop in to get extra help, or to catch up when they have missed a lesson in the week. These are particularly useful when we are doing the assessed coursework.