GCSE Music

Why study GCSE Music

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

GCSE Music at Ashbourne

As a GCSE Music students at Ashbourne you will have fantastic opportunities not only to explore a wide range of musical styles and contexts but also to share and develop your own ideas through composition and performance in the many and varied events organised throughout the year. This provides you with the chance to put your knowledge and skills into practice and gives you a taste of life as a profession musician.

Which syllabus do we follow?
Ashbourne follows the Edexcel specification for GCSE Music.

Who teaches this course?
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.

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.


You will have a wide scope to explore, develop and perform your own music, whether instrumental or voice, and plenty of organised events where you have the chance to perform solo or ensembles. This encourages you to think creatively, tighten your technical control and try out different styles, moods and techniques.

You 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.


You will explore your 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.

You will 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.


You will 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. You 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.

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

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