GCSE Music offers a solid foundation for progression to other music studies, including A-level music, and often to a Music related career.

There is a strong weighting on the practical aspect of music (performance and composition), as well as listening and appraising. It produces all-round musicians, focusing on:

  • How to grow as musicians
  • How to listen to and appraise different musical styles and genres
  • The importance of evaluating, writing, analysing and refining ideas
  • How to create and perform music as individuals and in groups.


Why study Music?                  

Music GCSE can lead to a music related career (performance, teaching, management). It also teaches valuable transferable skills:

  • Self-confidence
  • Concentration/Practice
  • Creativity
  • Evaluation
  • Team-Work


Exam Board and Specification Edexcel – GCSE Music
Key areas of content                  

Component 1: Performing (30%)

Pupils are required to perform two different pieces of music using either their voice or an instrument of their choice, of at least four minutes’ combined duration.

One solo and one ensemble (group) performance

Internally marked and externally moderated.

Component 2: Composing (30%)

Students compose two compositions, of at least three minutes’ combined duration.

One composition to a brief set by Pearson (at least one minute in duration) and one free composition set by the student (at least one minute in duration).

Internally marked and externally moderated.

Component 3: Appraising (40%)

The paper is made up of two sections and is out of a total of 80 marks.

Section A – Areas of study, dictation, and unfamiliar pieces (68 marks)

Six questions related to six of 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 – Extended response comparison between a set work and one unfamiliar piece (12 marks)

One question that asks students to compare and/or evaluate the musical elements, musical contexts and musical language of one set work with one unfamiliar piece of music.

A CD with the music extracts will be played to all students at the same time and will repeat the extracts a set number of times.

Area of study Set works

GCSE Music contains four areas of study, with two set works in each. The areas of study are:

1. 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’

2. Vocal Music

H Purcell: Music for a While

Queen: Killer Queen (from the album ‘Sheer Heart Attack’)

3. Music for Stage and Screen

S Schwartz: Defying Gravity (from the album of the cast recording of Wicked)

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

4. Fusions

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

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



Assessment arrangements
  •  30% – Performing (coursework recording)
  •  30% – Composition (coursework in controlled conditions)
  •  40% – Appraising (listening examination)
Textbooks, websites and other relevant material Further information:

Listening: set works (see above)

Instrumental Lesson Programme Lessons are available on all instruments and fees must be paid per term in advance.             

Costs per term

£80 Group Lesson

£40 Group Lesson for Free School Meal Pupils

£150 Solo Lesson

£75 Solo Lesson for Free School Meals pupils

£30 Instrument Hire Cost 

To book a lesson please fill out the ILP Application Form and return to 

For further information please contact 

Each department has a 'DNA', that is to say our vision for that department. The DNA of the Music Department can be viewed here:

Bolingbroke Academy Subject DNA: Music

To view the full subject curriculum for Key Stage 4 please click here: Key Stage 4 Curriculum 2018-19

If you have any queries please contact the Head of Music Ms Breckon

Want to join our Music Friends Scheme? To find out more, click here.