Music GCSE, Edexcel

Dedication to music making in all its forms is important to the success of the course, as is the self-discipline necessary to practice at least one instrument regularly outside school hours. Experiencing live music of all types from all over the world is vital to the understanding of how and why different forms have developed, as is the ability to recognise and discuss the musical idioms, with reference to their historical, geographical, social, cultural and acoustic influences. Consequently, great emphasis is placed on attending musical events in the locality, both as a performer and as a member of the audience.

It is recommended that students have a Music Theory level of grade 2, or its equivalent, in order to meet the musical literacy demands of the course. The suggested level for a chosen instrument should be grade 3 or above. Preparation for the solo section of the performing coursework consists of singing or playing instruments, both as a soloist and as a part of a small ensemble. The best-recorded performances during the course are selected for assessment.


Coursework (worth 60% of the final grade) covers performing:  solo performing, ensemble performing and approaches to performing, and Composing (students compose their own pieces to a set brief and their own free composition).

Appraising (worth 40% of the final grade)

  • Section A: Includes dictation and unfamiliar pieces, six questions related to the eight set works, one short melody/rhythm completion exercise, one question on an unfamiliar piece (skeleton score provided) with questions on its musical elements, musical contexts and musical language.
  • Section B: Includes an extended response comparison between a set work and one unfamiliar piece, a question that asks students to compare and/or evaluate the musical elements, contexts and language of one set work with an unfamiliar piece of music, a listening exercise.

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