Music is offered as an option for GCSE (OCR) and has three elements:
To take GCSE Music pupils MUST be having instrumental or vocal lessons with a teacher.
1) Listening - candidates have to show a wide knowledge of musical styles, based on topics set by the OCR examination board which include topics such as Dance Music, Programme Music, Film Music, World Music and traditional Western Music. A knowledge of basic musical theory is also needed. This unit is assessed by a written examination to recorded questions on a CD.
2) Performing - All candidates are asked to perform a solo (with accompaniment if needed) on any musical instrument, including singing, keyboards and guitar. A solo at a simple level will be awarded some marks, but the true standard looked for is about Associated Board grade 4 - 5. The performance is assessed at school so the grade examination need not have been taken. Candidates also have to perform in an ensemble showing they can hold a line in a duet or larger group.
3) Composing - over the two years of the course candidates will build up a folio of original compositions and arrangements. Candidates submit two compositions, one of which must be composed for their own instrument, and one other from the set topics in the listening paper.
Both the Performing and Composing work is assessed under controlled conditions at school and moderated by the external examination body.