Year 9 Music

A common course consisting of six units of study is taught to the whole year.  At the same time students are introduced to as wide a range of the classic music repertoire of Western styles as possible.  The aim is to supply the more able students - those who are likely to go on to study Music at GCSE - with an initial grounding in all three principal areas of musicianship that are embraced by the GCSE specification: Listening, Composing and Performing.

The course is also designed to be appealing to those students who may be undecided about GCSE but are capable of taking the subject.  For students who would not normally consider taking music further, the course is structured in self-contained and varied units so that they may feel a sense of achievement at having completed each unit of work, and will provide them with a good layman's knowledge of the subject for later in life.  The topics studied are:

  • Music & Liturgy
  • Film Music
  • The History of Pop Music
  • Technology & Composition
  • Class Performance
  • Further analysis of a set work

 

GCSE Music

GCSE Music is an ideal course for anyone interested in the subject who has practical skills as an instrumentalist or singer.  The course examines music as an academic and practical subject.  Wide-ranging styles from Baroque choral music through to modern rock are studied in their social and historical context.  Candidates are expected to use this knowledge to inform their performance and composition; discovery of their own creative abilities in these fields can be one of the most rewarding and enriching aspects of the subject.

The course followed is Edexcel Music:  

It is built around four areas of study':

  1. Western classical music (1600-1899): Baroque, Classical & Romantic
  2. Music in the 20th century: Serialism, Music Theatre, Minimalism
  3. Popular music in context: Jazz, Rock, Club Dance
  4. World music: Folk Fusion, Indian music, African Music

Candidates are expected to have reached a standard of approximately Grade 3 in both practical and theory before starting the course (although each potential candidate will be considered individually).  The course consists of three units; Performance, Composition and Listening and Appraising.

Unit 1: Performance (30%)

Candidates submit two recorded performances:

  1. Solo Performance
  2. Ensemble Performance (candidates play an undoubled part)

The performances are assessed on difficulty, accuracy and interpretation. Pieces should be of sufficient length and complexity to give the performer adequate opportunity to demonstrate their ability. The overall length of both pieces should total between two and five minutes.

 

Unit 2: Composition (30%)

Candidates compose two pieces, which relate to two different styles of music, by applying their knowledge of the four ‘Areas of Study’ studied in the Listening & Appraising part of the course (Unit 3). The overall length of both pieces should total between two and five minutes. Candidates’ discovery of their own creative abilities in this field can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the subject.

 

Unit 3: Listening & Appraising (40%)

This involves the study of twelve set works, three from each Area of Study (see above). It is assessed in a 90-minute written paper that includes questions in response to recorded extracts from the set works.

GCSE Music is a necessary foundation for further study of Music at AS/A2 level and will prove invaluable for Music Technology at AS level.

 

AS Music

The aims of the course are to develop students’ aural and analytical skills, to encourage solo and ensemble performance and to develop an understanding of the techniques of composition. The AS course is particularly appropriate if you play an instrument to a significant standard; performance counts for 35% of the total paper.

The AQA specification is followed: here

 

Entry Requirements to the AS Level Course

A minimum of Grade B at GCSE is vital for the two year study of A level Music; candidates should also have Grade 5 theory and a practical attainment of about Grade 5 on at least one instrument. The courses are designed in such a way to cater for, and reward equally, those interested in the mechanics of the subject and those for whom music is an abiding leisure pursuit.

 

AS Course

Unit 1: Influences on Music

This is a written paper lasting 1 hour 45 minutes

Section A 
Contains structured listening questions using a CD of musical excerpts. Candidates then answer two essay questions:

Section B
Is based on the set work from the compulsory Area of Study, The Western Classical Tradition

Section C 
Is based on a second Area of Study: Choral Music in the Baroque Period

 

Unit 2: Composing - Harmony and Counterpoint techniques

1) Candidates demonstrate their ability to harmonise a traditional 16 bar melody using standard cadences, chords in root position and inversions, conventional progressions, modulations to related keys and the use of passing notes.

2) Candidates are also expected to show their ability to control texture by creating a piece of music by adding two melody parts to a given bass in a style of the candidate’s choice. In doing so, they need to demonstrate how to handle techniques such contrapuntal melodic writing, and the use of imitation.

 

Unit 3: Performing: interpreting musical ideas

Candidates offer two performances from a choice of six, including opportunities for solo and ensemble performances.

Student Viewpoint

For many, the move to AS course comes as something of a relief to students. Instead of requiring knowledge over a wide area, the course focuses on depth of knowledge within a limited number of topics. At AS 70% of the course is coursework.

 

A2 Music

The aims of the course are to develop students’ aural and analytical skills, to encourage solo and ensemble performance and to develop an understanding of the techniques of composition.  The AS course is particularly appropriate if you play an instrument to a significant standard; performance counts for 35% of the total paper.

The AQA specification is followed: here

 

A2 course

Unit 4: Music in context

This is a written paper lasting 2 hours and 15 minutes

Section A 
Contains structured listening questions using a CD of musical excerpts. Candidates then answer two essay questions:

Section B 
Consists of an essay question based on the chosen set work from the compulsory Area of Study: The Western Classical Tradition

Section C 
Consists of an essay question based on aspects of English Choral Music in the 20th century

 

Unit 5: Harmony and Counterpoint techniques

Candidates demonstrate their ability to create and develop musical ideas with technical control and expressive understanding, making creative use of musical devices, conventions and resources in two questions:

1) harmonising a chorale melody in the style of JS Bach showing understanding of, and the ability to handle, accented passing notes and suspensions, notes of anticipation, and a richer harmonic palette than at AS

2) completing part of a movement of a string quartet in the style of Haydn and Mozart. This allows candidates to demonstrate their understanding of, and the ability to handle as appropriate, the development of thematic ideas through the use of sequence, imitation, inversion, augmentation and diminution, modulation and variety of texture.

 

Unit 6: Performing: a musical performance

Candidates will offer two (or more) contrasting pieces to form a short solo perfomance programme.