Key Stage 4

Year 10 and 11 New Specification and Course Content

GCSE Music (New Specification)

Click here to view the full GCSE Music Specification

Assessment Objectives Weighting
AO1 Perform with technical control, expression and interpretation. 30%
AO2 Compose and develop musical ideas with technical control and coherence. 30%
AO3 Demonstrate and apply musical knowledge. 20%
AO4 Use appraising skills to make evaluative and critical judgements about music. 20%

Component 1: Understanding Music (40%)

What's assessed

Component 1 focuses on listening and contextual understanding. It has two sections, covering assessment objectives AO3 (knowledge and understanding) and AO4 (evaluative and critical judgements).

How it's assessed

  • Written exam: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Exam paper includes listening exercises using excerpts of music
  • Section A – listening (68 marks)
  • Section B – contextual understanding (28 marks)
  • 96 marks in total (40% of GCSE)


  • Two sections
  • Section A – eight compulsory questions
  • Section B – four sets of linked questions, two compulsory (one must be on Western classical tradition)

Component 2: Performing Music (30%)

What's assessed

Musical performance, covering assessment objective AO1.

How it's assessed

  • Two pieces, one solo and one ensemble
  • Performances can be delivered in a number of ways which can include (but are not limited to):
    – Voice
    – Instrumentally (i.e Piano, Guitar, Saxophone, Violin, Trombone, Flute Keyboard or Drum Kit)
    – Music Technology
    – DJ performance
  • Total performance duration must be a minimum of four minutes and a maximum of seven minutes, and the ensemble performance must be one minute minimum
  • Candidates must provide recordings of their performances, including accompanying evidence (a lead sheet, score, annotation, or guide to the recording)
  • 72% marks in total (30% of GCSE)

Component 3: Composing Music (30%)

What's assessed

Composition, covering assessment objective AO2.

How it's assessed

  • Each student must compose two compositions
  • Composition 1: composing to a brief (36 marks)
  • Composition 2: free composition (36 marks)
  • Compositions must have a combined duration of at least three minutes (minimum) and four and a half minutes (maximum)
  • 72 marks in total (30% of GCSE)

GCSE Music Year 10 Course Overview

Content coming soon.

GCSE Key Words

Key Words Document

YouTube Links

AOS 1 Coronation Anthems

Requiems of 19th Century

Piano Music of Chopin and Schumann

AoS 2 Broadway

AoS 3 Blues

AoS 3 Blues

AoS 3 Fusion Music & the Caribbean

AoS 4 Classical Music since 1910 (1 of 2)

AoS 4 Classical Music since 1910 (2 of 2)

April 2024


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