Edexcel GCSE Music:

The Edexcel GCSE Music course enables students to develop their performing, composing and listening skills whilst broadening their knowledge of music theory and history.

The course divides into three sections:

1.) Performing (30%) – one solo performance and one ensemble piece performed on any instrument in any style will be submitted.

2.) Composing (30%) – two compositions from different areas of study are submitted.

3.) Listening (40%) – this consists of a written examination based on set works from different areas of study.

Parts 1 and 2 are assessed pieces of coursework which are completed under controlled conditions.

The four areas of study are:

1.) Western Classical Music 1600-1899 (baroque, classical, romantic)

2.) Music in the 20th Century (serialism, minimalism, musicals)

3.) Popular Music in Context (blues, rock, dance)

4.) World Music (folk, Indian, African).

Students are taught in mixed-ability groups and have five hour-long lessons a fortnight. Homework is set once a week. Lessons are differentiated to cater for all ability levels and consist of a variety of performing, composing and listening activities.


Autumn Term

Spring Term

Summer Term


Students refresh and build on their notation skills and music theory knowledge. They work on developing their solo and ensemble playing skills. They study set works from Area of Study 1: Handel’s ‘And the Glory of the Lord’ from Messiah, Mozart’s First Movement from Symphony No. 40 in G minor and Chopin’s ‘Prelude No. 15 in Db major (Raindrop)’. They develop their composing skills through short tasks linked to set works.

Students work towards a performance in the March GCSE Music Concert.

They continue to develop their composing skills.

They study set works from Area of Study 2: Schoenberg’s ‘Peripetie’ from Five Orchestral Pieces, Bernstein’s ‘Something’s Coming’ from West Side Story, and Reich’s Third Movement from Electric Counterpoint.

Students work on their first composition (controlled assessment).

They continue to develop their playing skills working towards a performance in the Summer Concert.

They study set works from Area of Study 4: three performances of Rag Desh, Capercaillie’s ‘Skye Waulking Song’ and Koko’s ‘Yiri’.


Students refresh their knowledge of set works in Areas of Study 1, 2 and 4.

They study set works in Area of Study 3: Miles Davis’ ‘All Blues’, Jeff Buckley’s ‘Grace’ and Moby’s ‘Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?’.

Students continue to develop their performing and composing skills.

Students work on their second composition (controlled assessment).

Students work towards a performance in the March GCSE Music Concert.

They continue to revise their knowledge of set works.

Students revise for their listening paper.

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