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 many students who play an instrument or sing and also enjoy listening to music! The course is diverse and inclusive yet stretching and rewarding for all types of students. It develops musical skills through performing (Unit 1: 30%), composing (Unit 2: 30%) and listening/writing about pieces (Unit 3: 40%). The course caters for a wide range of interests; a variety of works from Bach and Beethoven to Queen and Star Wars soundtracks are studied.

 

The course followed is Edexcel GCSE Music:

http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-gcses/music-2016.html

 

  • Unit 1: Performance (30%)

Candidates submit two recorded performances in Year 11:

1.        Solo Performance (minimum ABRSM Grade 3 standard)

2.       Ensemble Performance (candidates play an undoubled part)

The overall length of both pieces should be more than 4 minutes.

 

  • Unit 2: Composition (30%)

Candidates compose two compositions (usually using Sibelius 7 or Cubase software):

1.        A composition based on one the below Areas of Study

2.       A ‘free’ composition

Candidates’ discovery of their own creative abilities in this unit can be one of the most rewarding aspects of the subject.

 

  • Unit 3: Listening & Appraising (40%)

This involves the study of 8 set works, 2 from each ‘Area of Study’ (see below). Musical understanding is assessed in a 105-minute written paper that includes questions in response to recorded extracts from the set works and some related pieces played during the exam: 

 

AREA OF STUDYSET WORK
Instrumental Music 1700–1820

J S Bach: 3rd movement from Brandenburg Concerto No. 5 in D major.

L van Beethoven: 1st movement from Piano Sonata no. 8 in C minor ‘Pathétique’
Vocal Music

H Purcell: Music for a While

Queen: Killer Queen (from the album ‘Sheer Heart Attack’)
Music for Stage and Screen

S Schwartz: Defying Gravity (from ‘Wicked’)

J Williams: Main title/rebel blockade runner (from the soundtrack to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope)
Fusions

Afro Celt Sound System: Release (from the album ‘Volume 2: Release’)

Esperanza Spalding: Samba Em Preludio (from the album ‘Esperanza’)

 

A level Music

A level Music is an ideal course for many students who play an instrument or sing to a high standard (around Grade 5 and above), who have theoretical knowledge through ABRSM Grade 5 theory, GCSE Music or composition, and who want to improve their musical skills. The course is diverse and inclusive yet stretching and rewarding. It is considered to be a very well-respected A level by universities. The course caters for a wide range of interests; a variety of works from Bach and Brahms to the Beatles and Kate Bush are studied.

 

The course followed is Edexcel A-level Music: http://qualifications.pearson.com/en/qualifications/edexcel-a-levels/music-2016.html

 

  • Unit 1: Performance (30%)

Candidates perform a recital consisting of solo and ensemble pieces (which can include improvisation or music technology). The overall length of the recital should be more than 8 minutes.

 

  • Unit 2: Composition (30%)

Candidates compose two compositions (usually using Sibelius 7 or Cubase software):

           1.        A ‘free’ composition which could relate to one of the below Areas of Study (20%)

           2.       A composition exercise from a brief that assesses compositional techniques (10%)

 

  • Unit 3: Listening & Appraising (40%)

This involves the study of 2 to 3 set works from each ‘Area of Study’ (see below). Musical understanding is assessed in a 2 hour written paper that includes questions in response to recorded extracts from the set works and some related pieces played during the exam: 

AREA OF STUDYSET WORK
Vocal Music

J. S. Bach: Cantata, ‘Ein feste Burg’, BWV 80: Movements 1, 2, 8

Mozart: The Magic Flute: Excerpts from Act I no. 4 and 5

Vaughan Williams, On Wenlock Edge: Nos. 1, 3 and 5
Instrumental Music

Vivaldi: Concerto in D minor, Op. 3 No. 11

Clara Wieck-Schumann: Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17: movement 1

Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique: Movement I
Music for Film

Danny Elfman;‘Batman Returns’

Rachel Portman: ‘The Duchess’

Bernard Herrmann: ‘Psycho’
Popular Music and Jazz

Courtney Pine: Songs from the album ‘Back in the Day’

Kate Bush: Songs from the album ‘Hounds of Love’

Beatles: Songs from the album ‘Revolver’
Fusions

Debussy: Estampes: Nos. 1 and 2

Familia Valera Miranda: Songs from ‘Caña Quema’

Anoushka Shankar: Songs from ‘Breathing Under Water’
New Directions

Cage: Three Dances for two prepared pianos: No. 1

Kaija Saariaho: Petals for Violoncello and Live Electronics

Stravinsky: Movements from ‘The Rite of Spring’

 

Entry requirements to the course

A minimum of Grade B at GCSE or a pass in ABRSM Grade V theory

 ABRSM Grade 5 on at least one instrument 

 

Student viewpoint

The move to A level Music is now a natural extension of the GCSE Music course, and will be stimulating for those who enjoy GCSE Music. 60% of the course will still be made up of coursework (performance and composition), while the variety and increased level of demand provided by the set works will be stimulating for all students who do well at GCSE Music.

 

Complementary subjects

Music has links to nearly every subject, and it is very difficult to suggest any particular subjects to which it can be particularly associated. Music attracts theologians, scientists, linguists, historians, artists, politicians, philosophers, medics and lawyers! Nonetheless, for those particularly interested in a singing career, combing music with a foreign language is a good idea; many vocal pieces are in European languages!

 

Career and University opportunities

University courses embrace a very wide selection of topics to suit the individual, and usually provide the same variety as this A level course, but with a greater level of demand.  Study can be orientated towards the classical repertoire or include a focus on such subjects as World Music, Film Music, and Contemporary Music. At a music college or conservatoire the main focus will be performance, though all courses include some academic elements as well.