Topic outline

  • Music

    WJEC GCSE Music 

    This is a linear qualification: all the assessments must be taken at specific stages during Year 11.

    The course comprises of three units which are detailed below. Different musical periods and genres are studied from the Baroque (18th century) to Popular Music (21st century).   


    Unit 1: Performing: 4-6 minutes


     Section A: Performing     (30%) Internal assessment (no external exam)

    •     You must perform a minimum of two pieces,
    •     One of which must be an ensemble performance of at least     one minute duration.
    •     The other piece(s) may be either solo and/or ensemble.
    •     One of the pieces performed must link to an area of study of the     learner's choice.
    •     The standard level is     Grade 3, however as the performance is marked on a sliding scale,     candidates performing at Grade 4 or above could be awarded extra marks. If performing below grade 3 then a few marks will be deducted.

    Section B: Programme     Note (5%)


    A programme note for one  of the pieces chosen for performance, linked to an area of study.

    The quality of written communication is assessed in this piece of work and learners are expected to use appropriate     musical terminology.

    The programme note must be  between 500 and 1000 words.   




    Unit     2: Composing Total duration of compositions: 3-6 minutes


    35% of qualification 84     marks


    Section A: Composing     (30%)

    •     Two compositions
    •     One piece must be in response to a brief set by WJEC in     September of Year 11
    •     The other composition is a free composition for which     learners set their own brief.

    Section B: Evaluating     (5%)


    An evaluation of the     piece composed in response to a brief set by WJEC.

    The quality of written communication     is assessed in this piece of work and learners are expected to use appropriate musical terminology. The evaluation must be between 500 and 1000 words.   



    Unit 3: Appraising - a written     examination: 1 hour (30%)


    30% of qualification 72     marks


    This unit is assessed  via a listening examination. 


    Eight questions in total, two  on each of the four areas of study.


    Area of study 1: Musical     Forms and Devices

    Area of study 2: Music     for Ensemble

    Area of study 3: Film     Music

    Area of study 4: Popular     Music


     Two of the eight questions are based on prepared extracts set     by WJEC. The present set works are:

    •     Henry Purcell’s ‘Rondeau’ and
    •     Stereophonics ‘Handbags and Gladrags’.

    Aims and objectives

    This WJEC GCSE in Music will enable learners to:

    • develop performing skills individually and in groups to communicate musically  with fluency and control of the resources used
    • develop composing skills to organise musical ideas and make use of appropriate resources
    • recognise links between the integrated activities of performing, composing and appraising and how this informs the development of music
    • broaden musical experience and interests, develop imagination and foster creativity
    • develop knowledge, understanding and skills needed to communicate effectively as musicians
    • develop awareness of a variety of instruments, styles and approaches to performing and composing
    • develop awareness of music technologies and their use in the creation and presentation of music
    • recognise contrasting genres, styles and traditions of music, and develop some awareness of musical chronology
    • reflect upon and evaluate their own and others’ music engage with and appreciate the diverse heritage of music, in order to promote
    • personal, social, intellectual and cultural development.

    Prior   learning and progression

      There are no previous learning requirements for this specification.   Any requirements set for entry to a course based on this specification are at   the school/college’s discretion.

      This specification builds on subject content which is typically   taught at key stage 3 and provides a suitable foundation for the study of   Music at either AS or A level.

      In addition, the specification provides a coherent, satisfying   and worthwhile course of study for learners who do not progress to further   study in this subject.

    Job Ideas

    The course and qualification gives student’s opportunities to acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to follow a music-related career e.g. entertainment, publishing, management/ administrator, music librarian, music therapy, teaching or any job which involves communication and expressive skills, such as self-confidence, concentration, creativity, evaluation and team work.

    Want to know more?

    Speak to Miss Ann Lloyd Thomas (Head of Music Department) or any other members of the Department if you want more information.

    To find out more about this course visit the following web page:

    Miss Ann Lloyd Thomas

    • Drama

      WJEC Level 1/Level 2 GCSE in Drama

      What will I learn?

      This course will help you to develop the ability to:

      • use improvisation skills in a range of drama contexts;
      • apply performance skills and use these in practical performances;
      • work collaboratively and creatively to achieve shared dramatic intentions;
      • use a variety of oral skills including critiquing others work;
      • Acquire reflective and evaluative skills in response to a range of dramatic texts.

      How will I learn?

      Through practical drama-based work, through devising and presenting work in small groups and the study of a set drama text.

      What will I need?

      Interest, enthusiasm, commitment and confidence.

      How will I be assessed?

      • Devised practical performance based on a theme – 40% (Autumn Year 11)
      • Controlled task: report on the devised practical – 20% (Autumn Year 11)
      • Performance from a text: external assessment – 20% (Spring Year 11)
      • Written examination based on one set play – 20% (Summer Year 11)

      What happens after this course?

      Possible progression to AS/A Level Drama and Theatre Studies course.

      Job Ideas

      • A career in Performance Arts as a performer or technician
      • A career in Media and TV including journalism
      • Any career in which communication with an audience is important such as Law, Politics and Teaching.
    • PSE