The GCSE Music course attracts talented young musicians from all over the country, many who attend the junior departments of the Royal College and Royal Academy of Music. Individual and group lessons available online and face-to-face.
2022: 82% (Grade 7-9, 22 entries), 2021: 85% (grade 7-9, 13 entries), 2020: 72% (grade 9), 2019: 43% (grade 9)
The Edexcel specification is followed and the qualification is attained through Faregos Home Education Exam Centre, Hampshire, UK. It is also possible for children who attend school to sit GCSE Music privately, or attend classes as extra support.
One and two year options are available. My one year course (June start) usually attracts advanced students with good pre-existing skills going into their final year of studying for GCSEs prior to starting A levels. The two year course has a September start. Both individual and group lessons are available.
60% of the course is coursework; performing and composing. The standard level of difficulty for GCSE Music is Grade 4, although pulling off Grade 5 standard pieces well has its benefits. Students are required to perform as a soloist, plus in an ensemble setting (30% weighting). The total performance submission is a minimum of four minutes. Students also submit two compositions totalling three minutes (30% weighting). One composition is free choice and the other is in response to a brief released by Edexcel. The remaining 40% is a listening paper where eight set works are studied appealing to a range of musical tastes. The focus is very much on musical elements (i.e. DR SMITH – Dynamics …Rhythm, Metre and Tempo…Structure…Melody…Instrumentation…Texture…Harmony and Tonality) alongside context and musical language (i.e. terminology). The paper consists of short answer questions, music dictation, unfamiliar listening related to set works and an extended response.
I provide all course material (i.e. study guides with integrated scores and recordings). Practice listening papers will be required in the final stages of the course. There will be a strong focus to begin with on acquiring the necessary subject specific terminology. Once this has been achieved, students usually find the listening paper straightforward to access. Otherwise students are taught how to compose and the importance of musical development and how this is achieved. The music software package Sibelius is required and there is a free version available. The performance aspect of the course is mainly worked on with the student’s instrumental/vocal teacher.