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GCSE Music

Mathematics - Year 7

Click here to return to our Music curriculum overview

Below you will find more specific information about the curriculum in Music for students who have chosen this subject for GCSE, explaining to you what students will learn, when, why and how. There is also information about how parents/carers are able to support students in their learning, extra-curricular opportunities in this subject and how it links to other subjects and the wider world.

While this information covers a broad range of areas, please do get in touch with the Subject Leader Mr Dolby if you have any questions.

Please click on the questions below to find out more.

Which exam board will students be examined by?


How are groups organised?

We organise our classes by mixed ability. The students have five one-hour lessons per fortnight.

What characteristics does a successful student have in this subject?

The most successful students in this subject will enjoy working creatively, both independently and with others. They will be open-minded and intrigued by different musical styles, and passionate about music-making. They will enjoy playing an instrument or singing.

What are the key concepts students will study at this level?

  • Performance; solo and ensemble
  • Composition
  • Listening and Appraising; including set works

What will students learn at this level?

  • Performance Skills
  • Composition Skills
  • Key Vocabulary
  • Essay Writing skills

Course content:

Popular Music 1960-1990:

  • - Musicals
  • - Rock music of 60s/70s
  • - Film music
  • - Computer gaming music
  • - Pop music from the 1990s

Western Classical Music 1650-1910:

  • - Handel anthems & oratorios
  • - Orchestral music of Haydn, Mozart & Beethoven
  • - Piano music of Chopin & Schumann
  • - Late-Romantic Requiem

Traditional Music:

  • - Blues music
  • - African & Caribbean fusion
  • - Contemporary Latin
  • - Contemporary British folk

Western Classical Music since 1910:

  • - Aaron Copland
  • - British music of Arnold, Britten, Maxwell Davies and Tavener
  • Minimalism

What skills will students develop at this level?

  • Creativity; performance and composition
  • Analytical skills
  • Teamwork
  • Music software skills
  • Communication skills
  • Problem-solving skills

How will students learn at this level?

  • Performance practice
  • Listening to a wide range of musical styles
  • Experimenting with different compositional techniques
  • Observing peers
  • Using the internet to support your learning
  • Analysing and Writing about music

How will students’ learning be assessed at this level?

Performance work (solo & ensemble) recorded, internally assessed and externally moderated

Composition work (2 pieces) internally assessed and externally moderated

Written paper (1 ½ hours) is externally assessed

When do key assessments take place?

Y10 mock exam (end of Y10)

Y11 mock exam

Performance & Composition work submitted Easter of Y11

Written paper sat in Summer Term of Y11

How can parents/carers support students’ learning?

Wider listening of any kind

Discussion of any music together

Use of Music First ‘Focus on Sound’ website at home (students have a login)

Performance opportunities

Time and space for practice

What equipment do students need for this subject?

Essential school equipment

How does this subject link to other subjects?

History; musical traditions, styles and context

Drama; performance practice

IT; use of music technology

What websites or resources may be helpful to support students’ learning?

Exam board information:


What extra-curricular or enrichment opportunities are available for students in this subject at this level?

A variety of groups running at 8am, at break, at lunch and after school, including: orchestra, wind band, choir, jazz band, piano club, theory club, rock group

What sort of careers can this subject lead to?

A surprising variety of careers are open to those choosing to study music, as seen in this Cambridge University link:


What does student work look like in this subject at this level?


How does this subject support a broad and balanced curriculum, meeting the needs of all students, and developing traditional core skills?


How does this subject promote creativity, critical thinking, practice, perseverance and resilience, and making links?

Throughout the creative process, students are developing skills of critical thinking, practice, perseverance and resilience.

How does this subject encourage enrichment and the development of cultural capital, deep learning, and inclusivity?

chrough analysis and discussion of music from different times, cultures and places, students are given the chance to immerse themselves in deeper learning and enrichment.