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?
Ashbourne has broadened my academic and personal horizons beyond any expectation I may have had when I first arrived here. I think a good school gets you where you want to go, but an outstanding school takes you to a place beyond what you would ever have envisaged for yourself, and therefore I can only describe Ashbourne as an outstanding and incredible place to study. As planned, having finished my A levels, I am now entering into my gap year in order to pursue my entrepreneurial ambitions. I intend to gain work experience in the business sector im entering into, in hope to build a strong foundation of authentic understanding and knowledge of the industry, on which I hope to build a successful business in the near future
NicolaGap year
Academic excellence in a relaxed atmosphere! Small classes means that the teachers are able to give the students the dedicated attention that they need not only to succeed but also to understand the material taught.This is a nurturing institution that equips students with all the tools they need in future. I would certainly recommend this school to anyone – but saying this I do not want Ashbourne to lose the close knit family relationship that my daughter enjoys with faculty staff, teachers and students. So I want this to remain as a closely guarded secret!!
I see Ashbourne as a place which I feel comfortable to express myself and it creates an environment that encourages me to develop as a leader. I am constantly looking for ways to improve. I am determined to continue to develop myself and I know that this is made more attainable with Ashbourne’s fantastic support and encouragement. I am very lucky to find myself at Ashbourne. It is a truly remarkable place to work.
Dennis FulcherHead of Multi-Media and Social Science Faculty