Available as either GCSE or RSL Level 2 Certificate in Technology & Composition for Music Practitioners.

Music at Key Stage 3

Students in Year 7 study a range of topics and develop a breadth of skills in music:

  • They look at 3 songs: I ‘Believe I Can Fly’, ‘Valerie’ and ‘I’m A Believer’ and learn these in 2 part harmony.
  • They focus on the elements of music, using percussion instruments to describe these.
  • They study the music of Indonesia and incorporate the elements into a Gamelan performance.
  • They study a wide range of keyboard techniques and look at popular keyboard pieces.
  • They study ‘Stir It Up’ by Bob Marley and develop their keyboard skills by learning the parts to this piece.
  • They look at guitar riffs and hooks from popular songs.

In year 8 students:

  • Study Blues music; looking at the contextual elements and learning a piece of blues on the keyboard.
  • Look at the music of South America.
  • They form a class Samba band and learn the different rhythms and grooves from this music.
  • Study Mike Oldfield’s ‘Tubular Bells’.
  • They learn the riffs from this then incorporate music technology to record a sequenced version into ‘Cubase’.
GCSE in Music

Click here to download the Music PDF.

Why study this subject?

Music is a very varied and exciting option to take. You will study a wide range of activities including performing, composing and learning about different styles of music. Studying music can give you a great mix of social, technical and business skills, which can all help in acquiring great employability skills. Furthermore, studies have shown that those who study music perform better in a variety of subjects, including maths, sciences, reading, and languages.

What will I learn?

Depending on the type of music course you will study, your learning will vary. A GCSE music course is much more focused on the theory of music and the ability to sing or play an instrument to a reasonable standard is essential. The RSL course will help to develop general musicianship as well as introducing industry level music software and to be successful you need to enjoy performing to an audience.

How will I be taught?

GCSE music lessons are much more intense than at KS3, concentrating on specific skills. The lessons are a mixture of practical music making, group work, listening skills and exam preparation. This will ensure appropriate pace and challenge in your learning and thus support you in achieving the best possible grade.

How will I be assessed?

Regular feedback on your work will ensure you know how to improve your progress and attainment. You will always know what grade you are working at and how to improve your performance and progress. Your GCSE assessment includes one written examination worth 40% of your overall grade which focuses on listening exercises and music theory; composing two pieces of music both worth a total 30% of your overall grade; performing two pieces of music, one as a solo and one as an ensemble, both worth a total 30% of your overall grade. Your RSL qualification has an externally assessed unit worth 40% of your overall grade and internally assessed units worth 60% of your overall grade; your overall grade will reflect your attainment in practical harmony application, music sequencing and production and instrumental study,

What qualifications will I get at the end of the course?

The successful completion of the RSL course will lead to a qualification graded Pass, Merit or Distinction which is equivalent to a GCSE 9 - 4 grade, whilst the successful completion of the GCSE course

What can this qualification lead to afterwards?

A Music qualification will show employers you have a wide range of interests and skills, as well as demonstrating that you have shown dedication and commitment to learning a musical instrument and to studying music. Music can also help with confidence and performance skills needed in situations such as job interviews. Potential careers include performing, teaching, composing, working with film, TV, radio or computer games.

Post-16 Progression

A good grade in your music qualification will support you in continuing with your music studies Post-16.

How much homework will I have to do?

You will have to complete one piece of homework every week. However, you are expected to continually develop your understanding independently through research and to complete coursework in your own time.

Where can I find out more about this qualification?

You can speak to Mr Jennings, Head of Music.

You can choose only one subject from this section.



King Edward VI Academy Trust Birmingham is a charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered number 10654935. Registered office: Foundation Office, Edgbaston Park Road, Birmingham, B15 2UD. Academy tel: 0121 464 4428.

We use cookies on our website. Some of them are essential for the operation of the site, while others help us to improve this site and the user experience (tracking cookies). You can decide for yourself whether you want to allow cookies or not. Please note that if you reject them, you may not be able to use all the functionalities of the site.