Music (KS4)


Examination Board: EDEXCEL GCSE Music (1MU0): Specification 








Course Description:

The GCSE music course is an exciting and dynamic exploration of music from the 18th Century to the modern day.  The course has been designed to study a wide range of music and to develop students’ analytic thinking skills, performance technique and ability to compose original music using up-to-date music software.  As part of the course students will be encouraged to develop a deeper understanding of how music is constructed and to foster their own individual sense of style and creativity.


The music GCSE is divided into three distinct areas of assessment and are weighted as follows:

Performing (30%)  – Students should record one solo and one ensemble performance on their chosen instrument, lasting approximately four minutes in total.  Students do not have to perform in a large concert unless they wish to, and they may record their performances as many times as they are able to.

Composing (30%) – Students should complete two compositions lasting approximately three minutes in total.  One of the pieces will be to a brief, (or idea) set by Edexcel, and the other will be to a topic of the students own choosing.

Appraising (40%) – Students will study eight set works in preparation for a listening and appraising examination, which will last for 1 and ½ hours.  They must demonstrate an understanding of the stylistic features of the studied music and grasp the use of musical vocabulary to justify their responses.

Why Study Music?

Music complements a wide range of subjects and is a highly regarded GCSE and A-level qualification.  Students develop vital skills through the discipline of routine practice, building confidence and composure under pressure, whilst also engaging in problem solving, analytical and critical thinking, working individually or as part of team, and gaining diverse technical skills.

However, perhaps most importantly, music is fun.  Lessons mix practical learning with academic writing and whether students are looking to study music to year 13 or year 11, if they have an interest in music the GCSE course is to be highly recommended.  Steven Spielberg (Film Studies is one of the set work areas) played the clarinet and composed his first film score at the age of 16.  Professor Robert Winston played the clarinet; England cricketer Steven Finn played the violin and Andrew Lloyd Webber has generated a promising career from the music industry.

Albert Einstein (who also played the violin incidentally) remarked that ‘The greatest scientists are artists as well’.  So whatever your motivation if you would like to become a film composer, explore world music traditions, create a pop song hit or develop an understanding of the Classical genres, then the music GCSE course is the option for you.


Further information on GCSE Music can be obtained from Mrs G Robertson, Head of Expressive Arts/Head of Music