The Music IGCSE is a very flexible course and pupils are able to perform and compose music of their own choosing, be it classical, rock, pop or any other style. However, the study of classical music is also central to all sections of the course and pupils are required to look at scores of well-known pieces ranging from the baroque to the modern day.
The IGCSE is less prescriptive than other GCSE exams which means that pupils get good marks for following their own musical path, but it also requires them to engage with many musical styles and improve their general musicianship; essential for those wishing to continue in the Sixth Form.
Pre-requisites for entry to the course:
A general guide is that pupils should be of about Grade 3 standard on their instrument and have a similar level of music theory knowledge. However, pupils who may have just started an instrument would be welcome if they demonstrate sufficient drive and progress in the Lent and Midsummer terms of their Year 9 (Remove) year. They should aim to be of Grade 4 or 5 standard by the time they complete their performance and composition coursework in the Lent term of their second GCSE year.
The Music IGCSE course comprises three main sections:
1. Performing: Pupils are required to perform and record one solo piece and one group piece comprising at least two other players. Pupils are free to play in any style they wish and they should aim to play something of grade four or five to ensure access to the top grades.
2. Composing: Pupils are free to compose in whatever style they wish but must demonstrate an understanding of basic principles of western music. Throughout the course they study basic harmony, chords, melodic writing and other compositional techniques. They also look at several different topics comprising music from the baroque period to innovative 20th century music, jazz and modern pop and art music. They must hand in two compositions for their coursework folio.
3. Listening: This comprises two papers sat in exam conditions. The first is called unprepared which means that they will not know the music on which they will be asked questions. They are required to answer questions which test their knowledge of musical terms and knowledge of instruments and different musical styles. The second paper is based on a particular piece of classical music which they study during the course and also on an area of music from around the world which they also study. The Music IGCSE course is intended for musicians of all ability levels and even those pupils for whom music is not their central interest can do very well.
Examination Board: Cambridge International Examinations (CIE)
Mr J. Mountford – Director of Music