Students who take the GCSE Music course will follow the Edexcel specification which enables them to continue their study of performance, composition and listening from KS3 in three distinct units. Performance is completed in the form of two controlled assessed performances: solo and ensemble. This gives the students the opportunity to show off their instrumental skills that they have been working on with their instrument teachers (instrument lessons are free to all GCSE Music students). The composition course focusses on developing the fundamental compositional techniques used to create a successful piece, as well as giving students the opportunity to learn to compose in a wide variety of styles. The listening course leads up to a final exam at the end of the course and is based on a list of 12 pieces that allow students to cover a chronology of pieces from the 17th century to the present day.
Students who take the BTEC Music course will follow the Edexcel NQF BTEC Level 2 Award in Music. Students will cover four very different units to allow them to become well-rounded musicians. They will study a unit that gives them the opportunity to create, design, plan, prepare and produce a music product (i.e. a concert) right from the conception of the idea to the finished product. Students are often surprised at how large-scale an event they are able to produce by themselves, and derive a big sense of achievement on completion. Students also study a unit focussing on composition and this is taught from the perspective of composing a commercial situation. They see a composition through from the creation of initial ideas to developing them into full pieces. The BTEC course also provides a course on the use of music technology with a focus on sequencing. Finally, students prepare for a potential future in the music industry through the study of how the industry works, and focus on individual job roles and responsibilities. This unit is assessed in the form of an exam at the end of the course.