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Music GCSE

Music GCSE

Course Length


The course

Music is a subject that embraces a wide variety of musical styles, covering potentially one thousand years of development. GCSE students encounter ‘serious’ Western music from the seventeenth century to the present day, as well as a range of the ‘popular’ music of the twentieth century, and also indigenous music from non-Western cultures.

Students are expected to have reached a minimum performing standard equivalent to Grade 3 by the end of this course – it will therefore be extremely advantageous if they have already achieved that level in advance. Students generally need to have an active and wide-ranging interest in listening to and studying music, as well as the self-motivation to carry out independent study. Students should note that the coursework for this subject must be completed within just two terms, and the whole course is taught and examined at èAV in just three terms.

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What skills do I need?

For Component 1 students need to have had at least two years of study on your chosen instrument (or voice) by the start of the course. Some knowledge of the theory of music will be extremely advantageous.

How is the course assessed?

There are three components. Component 1 (Performing music) is a coursework unit. It involves one solo performance (with accompaniment) and one as part of a group chosen from the general repertoire of your instrument or voice. The total performing time must aggregate to more than 4 minutes. It is internally marked and externally moderated, and is worth 30% of the total marks. Component 2 (Composing music) is also a coursework unit.It involves producing two pieces of music, lasting a minimum of 3 minutes together. One will be composed to a brief set by the examination board; the second will be a free composition. It is internally marked and externally moderated, and is worth 30% of the total marks. Component 3 (Appraising music) is a written examination. Students will study and be examined on eight set works across four areas of study: (i) Instrumental Music (1700-1820); (ii) Vocal Music; (iii) Music for Stage and Screen; and (iv) Fusions.

The paper lasts 1 hour 45 minutes and is worth 40% of the total marks. Students should make their own arrangements to have weekly individual instrumental lessons, as èAV is not able to offer such tuition. They should also be regularly involved in some form of group musicmaking, eg at a Saturday music school or in a band with friends. It is highly desirable for students to have their own copy of the Sibelius music-processing software (‘Sibelius first’ version is sufficient) so that they can transfer composition coursework effectively between home and college.


Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Music Student Book
By J. Martin, J. Arkell
Published by Pearson, ISBN 978-1292123141

Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Anthology of Music
By J. Winterson
Published by Pearson, ISBN 978-1292118383

Exam Board and Specification Code

Pearson-Edexcel 1MU0

John Cameron
Head of Department

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