St Thomas More Catholic High School


Music is a universal language that is understood all over the world.  The aim of music lessons is to engage and inspire pupils to develop a love of music.  They are also supported in developing their talents as musicians, and so increase their self-confidence, creativity and sense of achievement.  As pupils progress, they will learn to sing, play various instruments, compose, and listen with discrimination to a wide variety of musical styles.
In Years 9-11 pupils follow the OCR GCSE specification.
Integrated Portfolio (30%) 
  • Performance on the learner's chosen instrument
  • Composition to a brief set by the learner
  • They will explore the skills and capabilities of their instrument and produce a performance to demonstrate their interpretation and technical control, and a composition written to a brief of their own to demonstrate their ability to develop musical ideas
  • This is an internally assessed, externally moderated component


Practical Component (30%)
  • Ensemble performance on any instrument and any genre
  • Composition to a set brief.  A selection of briefs will be released in the September of the final year of the course, linked to the Areas of Study
  • This is an internally assessed, externally moderated component


 Listening Exam (40%) 
  • Listening, appraisal and notation skills assessed in an examination at the end of the course
  • This is externally assessed


Area of Study 1 - My Music
Learners should study their instrument, which can be any of the following:
  • Any instrument
  • Voice – this can include styles such as rapping or beatboxing DJ-ing
  • Sequencing – realisation using ICT


Area of Study 2 - The Concerto Through Time 
Learners should study The Concerto and its development from 1650 to 1910 through:
  • The Baroque Solo Concerto
  • The Baroque Concerto Grosso
  • The Classical Concerto
  • The Romantic Concerto.


Area of Study 3 - Rhythms of the World 
Learners should study the traditional rhythmic roots from four geographical regions of the world: 
  • India and Punjab
  • Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East
  • Africa
  • Central and South America


Area of Study 4 - Film Music 
Learners should study a range of music used for films including: 
  • Music that has been composed specifically for a film
  • Music from the Western Classical tradition that has been used within a film
  • Music that has been composed as a soundtrack for a video game



Area of Study 5 - Conventions of Pop 
Learners should study a range of popular music from the 1950s to the present day, focussing on: 
  • Rock ‘n’ Roll of the 1950s and 1960s
  • Rock Anthems of the 1970s and 1980s
  • Pop Ballads of the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s
  • Solo Artists from 1990 to the present day


Revision Tips 
  • Know your “Language for Learning”: rhythm, metre, tempo, pitch, melody,  mode/scale, timbre, instruments, dynamics, articulation, texture, chords and  tonality.  You also need to be familiar with the words to describe these things as well
  • Listen to as wide a variety of musical styles as you can and find out about them, especially those linked to the Areas of Study.  Listen to live music whenever you can
  • Learn to recognise the sounds of as many relevant instruments and types of ensembles as you can


Online Revision Resources
BBC Bitesize has specific sections for GCSE Music
For help with general theory -
To improve your knowledge of instruments -


You can contact the  Ms Waring, Teacher of Music here