KS4 Music

Music at Key Stage 4 is an increasingly popular option choice at St George’s School.  Students study the Edexcel GCSE Music which builds on the knowledge and skills that pupils have acquired during study at Key Stage 3.  

Unit 1 - Performing (30% of total GCSE, Controlled Assessment) 

Students must submit two performances - one solo and one ensemble - at the end of the course.  The recordings are made under controlled conditions i.e. with their teacher present and must be made within a time limit of 10 hours total recording time. 

In order to do well in Performing, students must be attending regular instrumental/voice lessons.  We always work closely with students' instrumental/voice tutors in order to help students achieve their potential in performing. 

Unit 2 - Composing (30% of total GCSE, Controlled Assessment) 

Students must create record and make a score for 2 compositions.  These are individual pieces of work and students may not compose in groups.  However, many students will use other musicians both from the GCSE group and from the wider school community to perform on the final recordings of the work.  We encourage students to complete their composition work in the manner they feel most comfortable working within e.g. live recording, creating a composition using music technology or multi-track recording in our studio.  Students have a total of 10 hours to complete each final recording and score, which are undertaken in controlled conditions.

In order to do well in Composing, students should listen to a wide variety of music in their own time.  They should also spend some of their instrument/voice practise sessions improvising and trying-out their own ideas. 

Unit 3 - Listening and Appraising (40% of total GCSE, Exam) 

The final exam will consist of two sections.  Section A will have 8 compulsory questions that require students to respond to extracts of music.  Section B has two questions, of which students choose one to answer.  It will require an extended, essay-type answer.  Both sections are based on 12 'set works' - pieces of music that students will have studied during the course.  Students are given full revision notes for all 12 set works.

In order to do well, students must engage fully in listening lessons and complete all homework tasks set.  Listening to a wide range of music, attending live music performances and performing music from a wide range of repertoire will also help students to gain the musical understanding required for this area of the course.  Thorough revision as the exam approaches is also essential.

In addition to instrumental/voice lessons, we also advise students to ensure that they belong to at least one musical ensemble e.g. choir, orchestra or rock school.  The skills developed in these activities will benefit students in all areas of the GCSE Music Course.


Homework is set in every Key Stage 4 Music lesson. It is designed to extend and consolidate learning. It will frequently involve learning facts about the set works in preparation for the exam.

Useful links and Revision Guides