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The Howard Partnership Trust (THPT) is a Surrey based Multi-Academy Trust, comprising 4 secondary and 6 primary phase schools. We are proud of our ethos of collaboration and inclusion, "Bringing out the best" in students of all abilities and backgrounds. Visit website

Part of The Howard Partnership Trust


Level GCSE
Exam Board Edexcel

Music is an excellent choice for students who wish to extend their knowledge of performance, composition and the history of music. All styles of music from Baroque, Rock, Dance, Musical Theatre and World Music are studied during this two-year course, as well as learning to analyse familiar and unfamiliar music. Music is a fantastic qualification to have as it shows motivation, dedication to rehearsals and practice as well as organisation, teamwork, independent study and the confidence to perform or speak in public as well as developing creativity. This can be applied to any career in or out of the Arts.

Over the GCSE course students learn to compose music in various styles and have access to computer software called Sibelius 7 and Garage Band which notates and plays back your compositions in notation or tab. They will develop ensemble and solo performing skills as well as their knowledge of musical history, theory and analysis of music.

All music students are expected to take part in the concerts for their GCSE year group, where a solo and/or ensemble performance would be asked of them and enrichment activities. As part of their weekly homework students are expected to attend at least one extra-curricular music activity. This could be Orchestra, Concert Band, Senior Choir, Vocal Harmony, The Crescendudes or they may wish to form a band with other students and join Oxted Rocks (this runs after school, all others are at lunchtime). They can also be part of the school show which would count – providing they attend their allocated rehearsals and performances. Students are expected to be part of the termly Music Department concerts as part of their extra-curricular activity and will have one class concert in January where they must perform a solo and an ensemble.

What do I need in order to take GCSE Music?
Students should be able to play an instrument or sing.   It would be beneficial for students to be at least Grade 3-5 standard by Year 11 when taking their GCSE performance exam (not at the start of Year 9), they do not have to have taken the exams. Reading music is beneficial but can be taught in year 9. Students are expected to embrace all styles of music and types of musicians, as they will need to have knowledge of classical music styles as well as popular music, jazz and world music. It does not matter what instrument you play or if you sing and do not play an instrument. There is no type of instrument more suited to GCSE than another. 

Whatever your choice of instrument or voice, we very strongly recommend that you are having lessons with a teacher rather than solely relying on online resources as they will help you perform with the correct technique which will enable you to progress further and play more accurately and fluently. The Music Department are very happy to help you arrange lessons if needed. 


Unit One: Performance (30%)
Students are to perform a solo and an ensemble piece of music with a total of four minutes for both pieces. Pieces can be in any style and for any instrument, students can do different instruments (including voice) for each piece. Students are advised to perform music that is challenging (Grade 4 or 5) if possible as they can achieve extra marks for the level of difficulty. However, it is best for students to perform a piece they find challenging but most importantly can play as accurately as possible regardless of grade.

  • This is to be completed in March of Year 11 

Unit Two: Composition - Controlled Assessment (30%)
Two Controlled Assessments in two tasks to complete two final compositions. A free composition for any instruments in any style of music and a composition to a brief where students write a piece of music based around a choice of four questions.

  • Composition 1 to be completed by end of Autumn term Year 11
  • Composition 2 to be completed by end of Spring term of Year 11 

Unit Three: Listening and Appraising - Exam (40%)
Students study eight set works chosen by the exam board in detail as well as wider listening of different musical styles. Student sit an exam where they are asked question on these set works and some unfamiliar music. The set works are Brandenburg Concerto no.5 in D major, 3rd Movement by J.S. Bach, Piano Sonata no.8 in C minor ‘Pathetique’ by Beethoven, Killer Queen by Queen, Music for a while by Purcell, Main title and rebel blockade from Star Wars a new hope by J. Williams, Defying Gravity from Wicked by S. Schwartz, Samba em Preludio by Esperanza Spalding and Release by Afro Celt Sound System.

  • Exam is in June of Year 11

GCSE Music is an excellent qualification in preparation for A-Level Music, performance, technology or composition related courses



Staff Contact:
Mrs S Homewood -