Bishop Rawstorne Church of England Academy

Key Stage 4 Music

Is It Right For Me?

A passion for music can take you far – into the worlds of performance, composition, education and media. In addition, the study of music is highly regarded by universities and further education establishments because it relies on the mastery of many different disciplines and skills.

What Do I Need To Know, Or Be Able To Do Before Taking The Course?

  • Have an interest in performing, composing and listening to music and a desire to learn more and to discover new styles of music.
  • Level 5 or above at key stage three.
  • Be able to play an instrument or sing or be willing to learn an instrument
  • Enthusiasm and commitment

What Will I Learn?

We follow the AQA GCSE syllabus which is split up into 4 units. The Music GCSE course is an exciting opportunity for students wishing to further their composition, listening and performance skills. Over 2 years, students learn about music from many different styles and genres such as ‘Popular Music’ and ‘World Music’, and are given the chance to perform and compose in these styles as well. Below is how the GCSE is split up.

How Will I Be Assessed?

Unit 1: Listening to and Appraising Music

20% 1 hour written examination

Candidates explore 5 Areas of Study through 3 strands of learning

  • AoS1 Rhythm and Metre       
  • AoS2 Harmony and Tonality       
  • AoS3 Texture and Melody       
  • AoS4 Timbre and Dynamics
  • AoS5 Structure and Form


  • Strand 1 The Western Classical Tradition
  • Strand 2 Popular Music of the 20th and 21st Centuries
  • Strand 3 World Music

Unit 2: Composing and Appraising Music

20% Up to 20 hours Supervised Time for the composition and 2 hours Controlled Time for the appraisal

A. Candidates compose one piece of music which explores two or more of the five Areas of Study and links to one of the 3 strands announced annually by AQA (10%),

B. Candidates appraise the process and outcome (10%)

Unit 3: Performing Music

40% Controlled Assessment

Candidates offer one individual performance (20%, acoustic or technology-based) and one group performance (20%). The recordings can be made at any time during the course.

Unit 4: Composing Music

20% 25 hours Controlled Assessment

Candidates compose one piece of music which explores two or more of the 5 Areas of Study in any style or genre of the candidate's choosing.