Music is a universal language that embodies one of the highest forms of creativity. The Music Department aims to engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music and their talent as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement. All students in Key Stage 3 have access to high quality musical instruments, as well as state-of-the-art Apple Mac computer systems to explore music through composing, performing, listening and appraising. The musical projects at Key Stage 3 are designed to be engaging and motivating for beginners, developing players and for musically experienced students too.

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

Hans Christian Anderson

Course description

The national curriculum for music aims to ensure that all pupils:

  • perform, listen to, review and evaluate music across a range of historical periods, genres, styles and traditions, including the works of the great composers and musicians
  • learn to sing and to use their voices, to create and compose music on their own and with others, have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, use technology appropriately and have the opportunity to progress to the next level of musical excellence
  • understand and explore how music is created, produced and communicated, including through the inter-related dimensions: pitch, duration, dynamics, tempo, timbre, texture, structure and appropriate musical notations.


Students are assessed each half-term depending on the focus of the project, eg. listening, performing and composing.

Ways to help my child succeed

  • Discuss the possibility of your child trying out, or learning a new musical instrument – contact the Music Department for more information.
  • We see extra curricular music-making as a natural extension of classroom activities and encourage all students who are learning to play an instrument to bring it in to lessons, to develop their individual and ensemble skills and to show their peers the wonderful sounds they are developing with their instrument!
  • Encourage your child to join one of the many extra-curricular musical activities each week.
  • Encourage musical exploration – developed musical skills are linked to high achievement in maths, logic, linguistic and verbal skills, as well as creativity.

Useful websites

GCSE Music helps students to develop subject knowledge, understanding and skills, through listening to a variety of music, playing music and creating their own music.

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

William Shakespeare

Course description

The specification places a strong weighting on practical aspects of music (60 per cent), with choices catering for a wide range of interests and abilities. This three-unit GCSE assesses students’ skills in listening and appraising, composing and performing music.

GCSE Music offers a solid foundation for progression to other music studies, including A Level Music, and often to a music-related career. This course provides the opportunity for students to develop valuable transferable skills such as self-confidence, concentration, creativity, evaluation and team work.

  • Component 1 – Understanding Music (40%)
  • Component 2 – Performing Music (30%)
  • Component 3 – Composing Music (30%)

Exam board


Past papers


Component 1: Performing

Total duration of performances: 4-6 minutes

A minimum of two pieces, one of which must be an ensemble performance of at least one minute duration. The other piece(s) may be either solo and/or ensemble. One of the pieces performed must link to an area of study of the learner’s choice.

Component 2: Composing

Total duration of compositions: 3-6 minutes

Two compositions, one of which must be in response to a brief set by WJEC. Learners will choose one brief from a choice of four, each one linked to a different area of study. The briefs will be released during the first week of September in the academic year in which the assessment is to be taken. The second composition is a free composition for which learners set their own brief.

Component 3: Appraising

Written examination: 1 hour 15 minutes

This component is assessed via a listening examination.

Eight questions in total, two on each of the four areas of study.

  • Area of study 1: Musical Forms and Devices
  • Area of study 2: Music for Ensemble
  • Area of study 3: Film Music
  • Area of study 4: Popular Music

Ways to help my child succeed

  • Students will need to practise their own instrument regularly and complete composing and written assignments.
  • They will be expected to be involved in at least one of the extra-curricular activities during the course.
  • They will be able to take part in a range of musical events such as: music concerts, band nights, musical shows, lunchtime concerts, Carol Services.

Useful websites