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The Fernwood School

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GCSE Music

GCSE Music allows you to really learn the art of composing and to learn about a broad range of styles from across the globe, as well as across time.  In addition to this, performing on your own instrument is a vital part of the course and to be very clear, this does specifically include singing.


40% of your mark comes from a listening exam at the end of the course, which is based on what you have learned about the different music you will have studied. This ranges from the 17th Century Concerto through to rock bands like Queen or Guns ‘n’ Roses, and from Samba through to Bhangra and onwards to the way that music is used in film.


30% of the course is based on two compositions, one written in each of the two years of the course. You normally write the first for your own instrument, in a style of your choice, whilst the second one is based on a brief (with lots of choice!) that is set by the exam board.  Whilst this part of the course might seem a little daunting, we teach you how to do it!


The last 30% is based on two performances.  It is largely expected that this is something that you are working on outside of lesson time, given that if you have read this far, you enjoy playing!  You need to perform for 4 minutes, and you can record these as many times as you wish until you are happy with what you submit.

Regardless of whether you see yourself following a pathway into the arts after your GCSEs, Music is a GCSE course that not only allows you to expand your understanding of something you love, but gives you a qualification that is looked on favourably by colleges, universities and employers; they recognise that to succeed in Music demonstrates not only skill, but dedication and commitment over time.

Options – GCSE Music

Essentially yes, but that does include singing. 30% of your mark comes from you performing on your chosen instrument, so quite simply, you won’t pass the course without it.
There is no exact rule, but roughly speaking, to open up the full range of marks for performing, you will need to be about Grade 3 standard on your instrument in Year 11 (you don’t need to have done the exam). Generally, pupils who have got GCSE grades 7, 8 or 9 have been Grade 5 standard or above on their instrument when they are in Year 11.
30% of your GCSE comes from you writing 2 pieces of music, and this is the part of the course which tends to scare people. For a lot of you, this will be a new skill, so don’t worry – we expect that and teach you how to do it!
Yes! It is an academic course and to be good at music demonstrates your commitment over time. We have a number of students who have gone on to study music related courses at university and others who have gone on to study totally unrelated courses such as veterinary medicine.

Head Teacher – Mr P Burke
The Fernwood School, Goodwood Road, Wollaton, Nottingham, NG8 2FT
0115 9286 326 |
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