how hard is music gcse?

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d_rea_m
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#1
Report Thread starter 15 years ago
#1
Hi, this is my first post
Basically i want to know, from people who are doing it currently/have it done it, how hard music gcse (edexcel if that makes a difference) is.
I'm in Year 10 and didn't have enough options to choose Music, but the Head of Music at my school said I would be able to study it for 1 1/2 hours after school one night a week; then I would do the test at the end of year 10, as she said year 11 can get hectic.

If this helps, I play violin- grade 3/4 standard, taught myself to play piano- grade 1/2, and can play guitar. I would say I am better at composing than I am at listening.

So yeah, I'd like to know from those who know what it's like, how hard is the listening (I'm worried about this one more)/ marking in general and how hard is it to get an A/ A* ?
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Miss_Scarlett
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#2
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#2
(Original post by d_rea_m)
Hi, this is my first post
Basically i want to know, from people who are doing it currently/have it done it, how hard music gcse (edexcel if that makes a difference) is.
I'm in Year 10 and didn't have enough options to choose Music, but the Head of Music at my school said I would be able to study it for 1 1/2 hours after school one night a week; then I would do the test at the end of year 10, as she said year 11 can get hectic.

If this helps, I play violin- grade 3/4 standard, taught myself to play piano- grade 1/2, and can play guitar. I would say I am better at composing than I am at listening.

So yeah, I'd like to know from those who know what it's like, how hard is the listening (I'm worried about this one more)/ marking in general and how hard is it to get an A/ A* ?
Hi,
Hope you're ok . I did GCSE music last year, and because I enjoy composing and playing I found it enjoyable as it provided a relief from other subjects. Like most things it requires work to do well, but if you enjoy music i think you would be fine as its not really a chore when you like a subject. Also you have a good foundation in Piano and Violin.
Hope this helps
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jellybaby1
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#3
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#3
Hello,
First of all, from the sounds of your post, your head of year thinks you would be able to cope with it, which is a promising sign. I did edexcel GSCE music and the main three parts to it are performance, composition and the listening paper. You should be alright with the performance aspect, they usually expect around grade 5 standard but if you were to play a lower grade piece accurately and musically that should be perfectly ok. I think you have to do one ensemble performance and one solo piece. For composition, you have to write two with one being linked (I think) to an area that you have studied. I think that the composition side is more time consuming than difficult, so provided you work steadily at them thorughout the year you should be fine! The listening paper is a little more difficult. If the syllabus is still the same as when I did it (possibly not, this was 3 years ago!) then world music plays a large part of the paper. Some of the questions just require you to learn facts that you can then write down in the exam. The rest rely on your aural skills, but as you have got to grade 4 you should get by ok. In particular, being able to play the piano and guitar will help because these require some knowledge of chords. I honestly can't say how easy/difficult it is to get an A or A* in it, but I hope this helps!
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Ywiss
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#4
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#4
(Original post by jellybaby1)
You should be alright with the performance aspect, they usually expect around grade 5 standard
Are you sure? I didn't do the GCSE, but I did AS and the standard requirement was Grade 5 for that (and it was Edexcel). Shouldn't it be lower for GCSE? I believe it was around 3-4 for the people who took it in my school.
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crankycaz
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#5
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#5
Tbh, if you're fairly musical and you can tell the difference between, say a cello and a violin on a recording, you'll be fine. You may think that comment was in jest but I kid you not, I got that kind of thing on my AS listening!
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Xx Tomásíona - Mháire xX
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#6
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#6
(Original post by d_rea_m)
Hi, this is my first post
Basically i want to know, from people who are doing it currently/have it done it, how hard music gcse (edexcel if that makes a difference) is.
I'm in Year 10 and didn't have enough options to choose Music, but the Head of Music at my school said I would be able to study it for 1 1/2 hours after school one night a week; then I would do the test at the end of year 10, as she said year 11 can get hectic.

If this helps, I play violin- grade 3/4 standard, taught myself to play piano- grade 1/2, and can play guitar. I would say I am better at composing than I am at listening.

So yeah, I'd like to know from those who know what it's like, how hard is the listening (I'm worried about this one more)/ marking in general and how hard is it to get an A/ A* ?
Hiya and welcome what exam board is it? I did OCR and 75% was composing and performance so if you think you are better at composing, hope to get this exam board I did it two years ago and it was great
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Ywiss
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Xx Tomásíona - Mháire xX)
Hiya and welcome what exam board is it? I did OCR and 75% was composing and performance so if you think you are better at composing, hope to get this exam board I did it two years ago and it was great

It's Edexcel.
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Xx Tomásíona - Mháire xX
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#8
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#8
(Original post by Ywiss)

It's Edexcel.
Sorry then I'm not much help since my school actually moved from Edexcel to OCR the year I did my GCSE's.
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crankycaz
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#9
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#9
I did Edexcel. The GCSE is split fairly equally between performing, composing and the listening exam. The performing should be fine with your standard, I would imagine you'd get good marks with a few grade 4 pieces. If composing is your thing, then that part will be fairly easy. For my GCSE comps I did a minuet and trio, v. basic chord progs etc, and a serialism piece. I think you can do whatever you like though, within reason. The listening exam is quite easy really. I took GCSE music after 2 terms of studying with an imbecile for a teacher, so you'll be fine, go for it!

Edit: Got an A* in the end.
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person 34
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#10
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#10
hahahahahaha

MUSIC GCSE IS ****E

I did it, and got an A. God knows how. I did NO work for the first year of my course (because our teachers didn't care) then had to rush everything in about 6months. If you actually like composing, and can be arsed with it on top of other subjects, then yeah go for it. But my God, the stuff you have tolearn about is soooooo boring. Do you really care about African drumming and the origins of Indonesian orchestras? No I thought as much.

I was about grade 6ish piano through music gcse, that probably helped, and if you know your theory then it makes life easier. So, in that respect I was lucky.

I am not pushing it though, was a waste of my time, and I learnt nothing

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MikeyB!
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#11
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#11
If you're reasonably musical then GCSE music is easy... Simple.
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mikeski
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#12
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#12
In my school, the practicals are always the highest scoring as people usually come out with full marks or near enough. then there is composing which tends to be good but stays at a grade average of B. then there is the listening paper. This is where people tend to lose marks due to lack of revision! Set works are there with all the answers you need to know for the piece, so if you get questions wrong on them, then clearly you havent revised! as for general listening, it depens on how good you are at listening really... but overall, the listening paper is usually the worst unit of all 3... (im doing CCEA btw, but they are generally all the same)
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crankycaz
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#13
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#13
You see, with the Edexcel listening paper you don't have set works to study til AS level. GCSE is basically a bit of say, grade 5 aurals, with some stuff you need to have learnt about world music and other types of music. Tis dead easy though.
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Laura Lou
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#14
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#14
I say go for it - you should do really well

I did GCSE Music 3 years ago.
I can play the piano/keyboard reasonably well but I've never taken any exams/grades.
For the performance, I did singing - solo and a group performance. I'm not the world's greatest singer but I can hold a tune and harmonise quite well.
Composing - 2 pieces using a keyboard and a computer programme that practically did everything for you!
Listening - yeah, the history/origins is bit boring but if you put the effort in and revise then it's quite easy.
I was predicted a C and I got an A* - yay!

Good luck!
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Car Expert
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#15
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#15
(Original post by d_rea_m)
Hi, this is my first post
Basically i want to know, from people who are doing it currently/have it done it, how hard music gcse (edexcel if that makes a difference) is.
I'm in Year 10 and didn't have enough options to choose Music, but the Head of Music at my school said I would be able to study it for 1 1/2 hours after school one night a week; then I would do the test at the end of year 10, as she said year 11 can get hectic.

If this helps, I play violin- grade 3/4 standard, taught myself to play piano- grade 1/2, and can play guitar. I would say I am better at composing than I am at listening.

So yeah, I'd like to know from those who know what it's like, how hard is the listening (I'm worried about this one more)/ marking in general and how hard is it to get an A/ A* ?
Welcome to the forums

I'd say go for it as well! I'm also doing Edexcel GCSE. You have to learn four different Areas of Study, which include Western Classical Music 1600-1899; New Directions in Western Classical Music 1900-; Popular Song in Context; and Rhythms, Scales and Modes in Music From Around The World. In each Area of Study are at least four different types of music. You have to learn all four Areas of Study for the Listening Exam, which is about an hour and a half long (if I remember rightly).

As for coursework (four pieces), you have to record one solo piece of your choice, and two compositions based on an area of study, one of which has to be an ensemble. Your ensemble counts for two pieces of coursework.

Hope you don't end up being in a class like mine: there are about 22 people in my class (too many!), and a few of them don't even play an instrument! The coursework deadline (set by my assistant headteacher) has already passed, and I would say only a quarter of the coursework has been completed out of the whole class. There are times when the teacher doesn't bother to teach because they are fed up and everyone starts misbehaving and thinking it's a free lesson. If you do ever get a lesson like that (and I really hope this isn't the case for you), just do something else (e.g. English coursework), otherwise you'll just be wasting your time.

Sorry for ranting on, but I thought I better point that out just in case.

Good luck!
Car Expert
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d_rea_m
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#16
Report Thread starter 15 years ago
#16
hey sorry i haven't been able to reply sooner but thanks for all of your comments

car expert: after reading your post i feel lucky- i do music after school and it's just me, another girl and the teacher, so we got enough attention and help whenever we need it. and i should hope the teacher doesn't feel like not teaching me- i'm paying her £250 a term :eek: lol

person 34: i don't really plan on doing anything music related so i do think it is kind of a waste, but it counts as an extra gcse so i'll try- but i am willing to put in that extra revision for that A..

yeah so thanks again for your comments- i will try and have nearly finished my first ground bass composition - although have been given a lot to improve on now during half term

oh well life i spose :rolleyes:
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bruisepristine
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#17
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#17
I'm sure you'll be fine. I recorded Grade 5/6 pieces for mine and was told that because I was recording pieces of a standard above what they expected I'd have to go seriously wrong to not get full marks. I also did mine at the end of year 10 and did it as extra. Got an A*.
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Fletch
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#18
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#18
If you're a musician, GCSE is easy, except for the listening paper. Practise listening to the music you like and working out what chords are going on. What's the bass line doing? Don't just listen to the tune. Try writing down tunes you know, without an instrument to help you, and then check it. Learn WHEN instruments were introduced; it will help you identify periods. Learn some composers from evry period - you get 1 mark for a good guess, 2 if you get the right one.
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Emily-STFC
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#19
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#19
I don't know much about how hard the course is, as i've only just started it. But my music class has around 12 people, i'm grade 4 flute and that's the highest standard in the class.. To be honest alot of people have taken it as a chance to just do nothing.

I'm struggling with my composition though, i've just never been very good. :P
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Fletch
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#20
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#20
(Original post by Emi-)
I don't know much about how hard the course is, as i've only just started it. But my music class has around 12 people, i'm grade 4 flute and that's the highest standard in the class.. To be honest alot of people have taken it as a chance to just do nothing.

I'm struggling with my composition though, i've just never been very good. :P
It's often hard for single line instrumentalists to get into the whole harmony/ chord progression thing. Can you find triads on the keyboard? Do you have access to any computer music programs?
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