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?

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?
During my three-year ride as an Asher, new doors opened up for me to a new world in which I found my true passion. It is encouraging independent learning while providing students with sufficient support when needed, along with its active, lively and friendly atmosphere that give Ashbourne its uniqueness. The location is great and adds to the liveliness of the atmosphere. As far as academia is concerned, the necessary platform for success in most subject areas one might be interested in is provided. The rest is up to the individual
DanialMedicine at UCL
Our grandson was very ready to make a huge step from recluse, out­ of ­step with his age group, not knowing what to do with himself or how to relate to others, many of whom he found terrifying. He found travelling on the tube terrifying and trusted few people. Ashbourne has never pushed him too hard but has always encouraged every step he has taken towards what was sometimes a big risk for him. He has learned to respect himself as a learner, to be realistic about his strengths and what he finds difficult, and is learning what to do about the things he finds difficult. He is becoming sociable, well­ informed good company, smiles 100% more than he did and travels to and from Ashbourne by tube without a qualm. He is punctual (or sends a message if held up). He is learning to trust the many good people he now recognises as on his side. He is very aware of how much Ashbourne has contributed to these huge changes and is looking forward to trying out University in September, becoming a student, knowing lots of other people will arrive by different routes. A real success story/work in progress. Thank you Ashbourne
If I had to describe Ashbourne in three words it would be welcoming, intimate, and fun. I have never met such an eclectic group of people who all get on and are integrated with each other so well. It’s a great opportunity to get the grades that you want alongside gaining confidence and maturity
Emily BoothroydFormer Administrative and Behavioural Assistant and PA to the Director of Studies