GCSE Music

Ashbourne’s GCSE Music students have fantastic opportunities not only to explore a wide range of musical styles and contexts but also to share and develop their own ideas through composition and performance in the many and varied events we organise throughout the year. This provides our students with the chance to put their knowledge and skills into practice and gives them a taste of life as a profession musician.

Why study GCSE Music?

GCSE Music introduces students to an art form that spans all cultures across all walks of life. Students will examine a wide range of music and contexts, including their own, to develop their musical knowledge, creativity and technical skill. Importantly they will explore how music expresses identity.

Which syllabus do we follow?

Ashbourne follows the Edexcel specification for GCSE Music.

What is covered on the course?

The aim of this course is to develop students’ musical fluency and open a pathway to studying A level Music. It covers a wide range of music theory (melody, harmony and tonality, structure, tempo, metre and rhythm, dynamics and articulation, sonority, texture and notation), a variety of musical styles (18th century instrumental, vocal, film and stage music, fusion), as well as music technology (software, recording, decks and sampling). The course is divided into three core areas: Performing, Composing and Appraising.

We give our students a wide scope to explore, develop and perform their own music, whether instrumental or voice, and plenty of organised events where they have the chance to perform solo or ensembles. This encourages students to think creatively, tighten their technical control and try out different styles, moods and techniques.

Students are required to perform solo and ensemble for the qualification, both of which are assessed internally and externally moderated. This component comprises 30% of the overall qualification.

Students explore their own musical ideas, drawing inspiration from other composers and musical contexts, and develop techniques and strategies for composition. This includes being able to create pieces that are technically tight and coherent as well as learning how to notate composition scores.

Students create two compositions for this component: one from a set brief and the other personally driven, both of which are assessed internally and externally moderated. This component comprises 30% of the overall qualification.

Students study a wide variety of musical styles and approaches including instrumental music between 1700 and 1820, vocal music, music for stage and screen and fusion. Students will learn how to appraise music from a technical perspective and from emotional response point of view through listening, analysis, class discussion and written work.

Students sit a written examination of 1 hour 45 minutes for this component, which comprises 40% of the overall qualification.

Who teaches this course?

Piers Tattersall

MA Music Composition (Royal College of Music); BA Music Composition (Royal Northern College of Music)

Piers has been composing for many years and his work has been performed widely including by the Britten Sinfonia, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, The Composers’ Ensemble and London Children’s Ballet.

Piers runs Ashbourne’s choir and music club and has been instrumental in the production of our popular annual Ashbourne Revue.

Yat-Soon Yeo

MA Music, Historical Musicology (King’s College, London); BA Music (King’s College, London); PGCE Harpiscord and Conducting (Guildhall School of Music and Drama); PCGE Secondary Music (Institute of Education, University of London)

Yat-Soon is a professional musician, conductor and musical director who has performed extensively as a solo harpsichordist and in ensembles at many prestigious and historic venues in the UK and Europe. He has also conduced widely acclaimed productions of baroque opera and vocal music including for the London Baroque Opera and is musical director with Opéra de Baugé in France. 

Yat-Soon has been sharing his love of music and wealth of professional and educational experience for many years as teacher and director of music at schools, including St Paul’s Girls and Lady Eleanor Holles, and Birmingham University.  

Why Choose Ashbourne College?
Studying at Ashbourne helped me to explore new horizons in art and discover the diverse culture of London. Two years of A-level program have provided me with a knowledge of various Textiles and Fine Art techniques which I hope would be taken further within my specialist area at the university. History of Art helped to develop analytical skills which are absolutely necessary in order to formulate my aesthetic. Now I hope to find my own way within the broad Fashion industry
LidiiaArt and Design (Foundation) at Central St Martins
Gained responsibility and independence and has a mature approach to their studies
I have had a very valuable experience working at Ashbourne. I feel lucky that I got such a great opportunity to deal with different kinds of jobs which include; document preparations, helping at some organised opening evenings or dealing with students’ enquiries. Having a chance to deal with these tasks I feel that I have already gained a lot of valuable improvements in the skills which are needed in a college administrative working environment. The Ashbourne staff are very friendly and helpful. They never hesitated to give me advice on the jobs I was doing and what I should and should not do. I can not thank them enough for such great help and experience during all those times I was working at Ashbourne
Kim Anh TranFormer Part-Time Administrative Assistant