Key Stage 4


Examination Board: EDEXCEL – GCSE Music Full Course (2MU01)

Course Description

GCSE Music is about making and listening to music. It covers performing, composing and listening in a wide variety of musical styles – popular music, world music, and classical music. There are opportunities to use music technology such as sequencing and recording. You will enjoy this course if you want to study a subject that:

  • involves performing
  • involves listening to all kinds of music
  • involves composing or arranging music
  • gives you the opportunity to play music with others in e.g rock groups, bands, orchestras and choirs
  • gives you the opportunity to learn more about and use music technology.

As well as covering Music at GCSE level, the course will enable you to develop Key Skills in Communication and Information Technology in whatever you do afterwards. If you enjoy the GCSE Music course then you can consider pursuing this subject at A Level. Your listening skills will enhance the aural perception needed in language examinations. Your performing skills will give you confidence in playing to an audience – useful if you intend to pursue, for example, drama or law. In addition, you might wish to study a Level 3 Music or Music Technology focused BTEC, or an A level in Music Technology.

The course can be summarised as follows:

Areas of Study

·         Western classical music 1600-1899

·         Music in the 20th century

·         Popular music in context

·         World music


Unit 1: Performing Music (30%)

·         Students produce both a solo and an ensemble performance recorded at any time during the course.

·         Performances may be on any instrument and in any style, with the centre choosing the music to be performed by each student.

·         Controlled assessment conditions will apply to this unit, which is assessed by the teacher and moderated by Edexcel.


Unit 2: Composing Music (30%)

·         Students produce:two compositions or two arrangements or one arrangement and one composition.

·         The combined length of the two pieces should be between two and four minutes.

·         Students no longer have to write about their compositions and are assessed on composition skills only.

·         Controlled assessment conditions will apply to this unit, which is assessed by your teacher and moderated by Edexcel.


Unit 3: Music – Listening and Appraising (40%)

·         1-hour 30-minute examination externally set and marked by Edexcel.

·         Students respond to questions based around the set works for the unit.

·         In Section A, students respond to questions based on recorded extracts of set works.

·         In Section B, students answer a more in-depth question on a chosen set work(s) and are assessed on Quality of Written Communication (QWC).

Teaching and Learning Styles:

 Lessons will develop students’ skills as composers by exploring a wide variety of musical styles and the setting of related composition and arrangement tasks. We feel that it is important to encourage individual skills and interests in composition work so that students can build up a portfolio of skills that they can apply to their free composition assignments. You will also listen to a wide variety of music and learn more about how and why it was written and/or performed.


Coursework: You will perform (play, sing sequence or record) two pieces altogether. One of the pieces will be a solo in any style and on any instrument. The other performance will be with other players. These performances may take place in the classroom, in school music groups or outside school. They will be recorded and marked by your teacher. You may offer sequencing as part of your solo performing, and multi-track recording for performing during the course.

You will also compose two pieces according to a brief written by your teacher or yourself. These will be in a form or style that you have chosen from a list that includes Popular Music, African drumming, variations, rondo, experimental or electronic music and club dance remix. If you like you could write a song for a musical.

If you are interested in music technology you may use computer sequencers, multi-track recorders, digital recording and sampling in the preparation and presentation of compositions. You may also use technology to record work and to produce printed scores and extract parts.

Final Examination: There is one final exam in the summer. You will listen to a CD and answer questions on the four Areas of Study which cover popular music, classical music and music from around the world. It is worth 40% of your final mark.

We offer students who do not have musical experience on an instrument, a chance to gain a Music GCSE by focusing on Music Technology in music and increasing their knowledge and understanding of Sequencing and Studio Techniques (Recording and Multi-tracking).   This option would be ideal for all keen Music Technologists and those with an interest in Pop and Commercial Music. All students however, will be expected to read and understand traditional notation and be open to analysing a wide variety of musical styles, genres and traditions.


 Music is taught in mixed ability groups.

 Further information on the above courses can be obtained from Mrs G Robertson, Head of Expressive Arts Faculty.