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KS4 Music

Year 10 and 11 New Specification and Course Content

GCSE Music (New Specification)

Click the link to view the full AQA GCSE Music Specification

Assessment Objectives                                                                        



Perform with technical control, expression and interpretation.



Compose and develop musical ideas with technical control and coherence.



Demonstrate and apply musical knowledge.



Use appraising skills to make evaluative and critical judgements about music.



Component 1: Understanding Music

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

What's assessed

Musical performance, covering assessment objective AO1.

How it's assessed

·       Two pieces, one solo and the other as an ensemble.

·       Either through playing music, singing, or music technology.

·       Total performance time must last four minutes minimum and seven minutes maximum (ensemble performance must be one minute minimum).

·       Must provide recording of the performances, including accompanying evidence (a score, lead sheet, annotation, or guide recording).

·       72% marks in total (30% of GCSE).

Component 3: Composing Music

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).

·       Combined composition time must last three minutes minimum and four and a half minutes maximum.

·       72 marks in total (30% of GCSE).

GCSE Music Year 10 Course Overview

Year 10 Course Overview

GCSE Music Year 10 Baseline Assessment and Personalised Programme of Progression

Click below to view the PDF:

Year 10 Baseline Assessment and Personalised Programme of Progression

GCSE Key Words

GCSE Key Words 


Click below to read the Music Department Homework Policy:

KS4 Homework Policy

GCSE Music Booster PowerPoint 2016

Examples of GCSE Music Compositions and Performances

Click the links below to listen to examples of grade A and A* GCSE Music compositions and performances 

You may need to download: Windows Media Player

Rye Hills School Student GCSE Composition

Rye Hills School A* Ensemble Performance

Rye Hills School Grade A Solo Performance

Rye Hills School GCSE A* Solo Performance

Rye Hills School Grade A Solo Performance

Rye Hills School A* Ensemble Performance

YouTube Links

The following YouTube videos are recommended for GCSE students studying 'The Clock':

AQA GCSE AOS 1 - Haydn Symphony Walk Through

AQA GCSE AOS1 - Haydn Clock Symphony Description

Improve your Literacy

Click on the link below and make sure you can spell the words and understand their meanings:

Music Words