Key Stage 3
In Year 8, the elements of music are introduced and built upon through units of study such as Rhythm and Pulse, Percussion, Ostinato, What makes a good song and Introduction to the Orchestra. Performance activities are based around percussion instruments, singing and recorder.
Building on skills acquired in the previous year, Year 9 pupils look at Mood Music, Music for Film as well as Music for Special Occasions throughout the year. There is a strong focus on the use of ICT to enhance learning throughout each of the topics. Performance tasks are shared between recorder and keyboard.
Year 10 focuses on Jazz and Musical Arrangements. Pupils are introduced to ukulele as the primary performance instrument and provided with a foundation in chords and harmony. Again, pupils benefit from using ICT to enhance their learning experiences and skills to ensure they are fully equipped for study at Key Stage 4 if they so desire.
Pupils are assessed in three areas: performing, composing and listening at the end of the two-year course.
The performance element is worth 35% of the overall mark. Candidates will be required to perform at least one piece by themselves and as part of a group. The length of the programme should be no longer than 6 minutes in total. A brief discussion about the music performed with the external examiner will also be carried out. Pieces performed do not have to be from examinations but should be a minimum equivalent standard to Grade 3.
A composition portfolio of 2 pieces will be submitted at the end of Year 12 lasting between 3-6 minutes. The first piece is entirely free choice while the second must include a stimulus provided by CCEA. This part of the course is worth 30%.
Pieces of music in 4 areas of study are covered: Western Classical Music, Film Music, Musical Traditions in Ireland and Popular Music. Students will be assessed on these in 1 listening examination lasting 1 hour 30 minutes. Pupils will also be asked questions about previously unseen pieces of music. This examination is worth 35% of the overall mark.
At AS and A2 level, the same modules and format of study is followed. Pupils will perform as a soloist, compose 1 piece of music within a free style and study pieces of music under 3 headings: Orchestral Music, Sacred Vocal Works and Secular Vocal Works.
The performance examination lasts between 5-8 minutes at AS and 8-10 minutes at A2 level. There is a reflective discussion regarding the programme performed with the visiting examiner after the performance also.
At AS, the composition should last between 1.5-2.5 minutes and between 2-3 minutes at A2. An accompanying commentary must also be submitted with the piece of music consisting of 1000 and 1200 words at AS and A2 levels, respectively.
There are 2 examinations in AS and A2. The first is listening and tests aural perception on pieces of music previously studied and those that are unfamiliar to the candidates. The second examination is written and contains four questions: score analysis on an orchestral set work, a score analysis question previously unseen score and two extended writing questions on vocal set works.
Speak to either member of the Music Department if you require any further information.