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All pupils study music in Years 7 and 8, after which it is an optional subject. In addition to academic lessons, all pupils have the opportunity to participate in a huge array of musical experiences, whether by learning an instrument or voice, or playing or singing in one of our many groups and choirs.

Year 7 & 8

Pupils develop essential skills in music such as composition skills, musical theory and have regular practical experience through the study of a wide range of musical topics including pop music, the blues, computer game music and bucket drumming.

Year 9

Pupils choose Music as an optional subject and continue to develop their compositional and theoretical understanding as they prepare for the study of music at exam level. Topics including modern minimalist music, film music and musical theatre, are designed to give pupils the necessary skills in appraising and analysing the effectiveness of a piece of music and the confidence to make critical judgements about a work based on sound musical knowledge.


Pupils will follow the Edexcel GCSE (9-1) 1MU0 specification.

Music GCSE is a very stimulating and interesting course that enables pupils to not only study and analyse set works within music history with suggested wider listening, but also to compose and perform during the two years of the course.

Those pupils who are interested in taking music as a GCSE option need to:

  • Be having weekly instrumental lessons on an orchestral instrument, piano or voice and to be able to reach grade 4 standard by year 11.
  • Be able to read music notation proficiently.
  • Be approximately grade 3 standard in theory (ABRSM).
  • Be an active and committed member of the school music activities.
  • Have a wide range of listening interests.

Course Content

Component 1: Performing music (internally assessed)

  • A solo performance – lasting at least 1 minute.
  • An ensemble performance – lasting at least 1 minute.
  • Total performance time must last at least 4 minutes.

30% of the total marks (15% each)

Component 2: Composing music (internally assessed)

Two compositions

  • 1 composition to a brief set by the exam board, lasting at least 1 minute.
  • 1 free composition chosen by the pupil, lasting at least 1 minute.
  • Total composition of both works must last at least 3 minutes.

30% of the total marks (15% each)

Component 3: Appraising (externally assessed)

A 1 hour 45-minute written paper

All questions relate to four areas of study with two set works in each:

  • Instrumental Music 1700-1820
    (Bach: Brandenburg Concerto No.5 & Beethoven: Piano Sonata No.8 ‘Pathétique’)
  • Vocal Music
    (Purcell: Music for a While & Queen: Killer Queen)
  • Music for Stage and Screen
    (Schwartz: Defying Gravity from Wicked & J Williams: Soundtrack to Star Wars, Episode IV)
  • Fusions
    (Afro Celt Sound System: Release & Esperanza Spalding: Samba Em Preludio)

40% of the total marks