Music – Key Stage 4 – GCSE

At Enfield Grammar School we follow the Edexcel Specification GCSE Music 2MU01.  The full specification can be downloaded from the Edexcel website or by using the link below:

Edexcel website

Is this the right subject for me?

Yes, if you enjoy:

  • Composing and performing music.
  • Learning an instrument or singing.
  • Creating Music on your instrument, on a computer or in a recording studio.
  • Learning about all types of music, including classical, popular and world music.

How well do EGS Students achieve at Music GCSE?

Very well! — over 90% A-C grades in 2014!
The number of students choosing to study music at GCSE level is much higher then the national average.  Many of our students go on to study music at A-Levels and at University.

In order to do well students must:

Attend regular insturmental/voice lessons
Performing places great physical strain on the body and students must train their bodies to cope with the rigours of performing in order to create succesful performances. We work closely with the instrumental tutors in order to better support our pupils.
Take part in ensembles
the department run over 20 ensembles a week and there is a clear link between success in music and engagement in musical ensembles.
Choose an appropriate piece for performance
An important part of the Assessment Criteria is the difficulty muliplier.  Students who submit a performance at a ‘more difficult’ level will receive extra marks.  Similarly, students who perform pieces at an ‘easier’ level will have marks deducted.  In the Specification, there are guidelines as to what constitutes a ‘more difficult’ piece for each type of instrument – we encourage students to show these to their tutors and always give guidance on choosing appropriate pieces.
Listen to Music
Sounds obvious right? But students must engage fully in listening lessons and complete all HW tasks set – this will frequently involve learning facts about the set works in preparation for the exam.
– Listening to a wide range of music
– Attending live music performances
– Performing music as much music as possible 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.

Unit 1 – Peforming (30% of total GCSE, Controlled Assessment)

Students must submit two performances
– One Solo Performance
– One Ensemble Performance
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 reality, students can do a number of recordings and we can select the best ones to submit.

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 instrumentl/voice practise sessions improvising and trying-out their own ideas.  It is very helpful if students have access to a keyboard at home when they are working on composition ideas so that they can experiment with harmony (chords).

Unit 3 –  Listening and Appraising (40% of total GCSE, terminal 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.  The set works are drawn from 4 areas of study: Western Classical Music, Music in the 20th Century, Popular Music in Context and World Music.
Students are given full revision notes for all 12 set works and these are also available below.