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GCSE Music

Board: AQA   Subject Code: 8271

 

Examinations

Component 1: Understanding music

Written Examination: 1 hour 30 minutes - Percentage of total marks 40%

What’s assessed

  • Listening
  • Contextual understanding

How it’s assessed

Examination paper with listening exercises and written questions using excerpts of music

Questions

Section A: Listening – unfamiliar music (68 marks)
Section B: Study pieces (28 marks)

 

Component 2: Performing music

Percentage of total marks 30%

What's assessed

Music performance

How it's assessed

As an instrumentalist and/or vocalist and/or via technology:

Performance 1: Solo performance (36 marks)
Performance 2: Ensemble performance (36 marks).

A minimum of four minutes of performance in total is required, of which a minimum of one minute must be the ensemble performance.

 

Component 3: Composing music
Percentage of total marks 30%

What's assessed

Composition

How it's assessed

Composition 1: Composition to a brief (36 marks)
Composition 2: Free composition (36 marks).


Tips for Parents

Places of interest/events to visit connected with syllabus – concerts, recitals, musicals and events in school.
Pupils should be encouraged to practise their instruments at home (a large part of their homework) and to take part in active
music making with other people.

 

Helpful websites

www.aqa.org.uk
www.bbc.co.uk/education
www.classicfm.com/discover/music/pass-gcse-music-quiz/

 

 

Extra-curricular Music

Cardinal Heenan Catholic High School recognises the educational and social opportunities that arise through partaking in music-making through the extended curriculum. Our music staff work hard to provide many activities. Examples include:

Madrigal Group

Arguably the school's flagship music ensemble, the madrigal group is an all-girl close-harmony choir. Although originally formed for madrigal song, this ensemble performs a diverse range of music from Latin blessings to lively arrangements of contemporary songs. The Madrigal Group has performed across the region to wide acclaim and has made numerous recordings. Entry is by audition.

Junior Choir

The Junior Choir is open to boys and girls from the lower school (years 7, 8 and 9). Rehearsals take place during two lunchtimes per week and are open to any pupils who are interested. No auditions are held.

Orchestra

An instrumental ensemble open to all years and abilities. Music ranges from adaptations of Handel's 'The Watermusic' to John Williams' 'Jurassic Park'. Rehearsals take place during one lunchtime per week.

Recorder Ensemble

Players use several members of the recorder family to deliver a mixture of medieval melodies and light-hearted modern arrangements. Rehearsals take place during one lunchtime per week. Junior and senior ensembles enter local music festivals each year in the spring term.

Jazz Band

Run by Mr B Duffy, this fun 20th century ensemble offers opportunities for players of jazz-related instruments.

Other Ensembles

Previous ensembles have included string ensembles, string quartets, senior choirs, staff choirs and student-run rock bands. A small worship ensemble also forms to play in school services.

Instrumental Music Tuition

The school organises group instrumental music tuition taught by peripatetic teachers. Guitar, drums, woodwind and strings are popular choices. Please speak to our curriculum leader for more information.

Concerts

Christmas carol concert, end of year concert, GCSE music concerts, master-classes from accomplished pianists: all have been highlights of recent years in the music department.

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