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GCSE Music at Llanishen High School

GCSE Music is taught through 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

Students in exam classes who receive Free School Meals can also study through the County Music Service at no additional cost.

All year 9-11 students are encouraged to perform in our Senior Recital Evenings and take part in our other concerts and community events. Some students choose to lead their own extracurricular activities as part of their Welsh Bacc Studies.

What Skills will I get from Studying Music?

Studying music can give you a great mix of social, practical, technical and business skills, which can all help in acquiring the seven skills that define employability; put together in a report by the National Union of Students and the Confederate of British Industry.

Not to mention discipline, composure under pressure, time management, communication, team and individual working ability - all gained from practice and performing. You will learn technical skills through using computers, equipment and software to create and record music.

Dr Robert Adlington, associate professor of music at the University of Nottingham points out that:
“While some of these skills are acquired by students of all subjects, for example, team work, good communication and self management, music students have an edge. The experience of organising, hosting and performing in events that are open to the public provides them with skills beyond those on other programmes, requiring knowledge of customer awareness, or interaction with the public, for example.”

In the words of Albert Einstein: “The greatest scientists are artists as well". Music is kind of like part art, part science! Which means it will help you build your problem solving, research, planning, analytical and critical thinking skills, as well as develop your creativity.

What Careers is Music good for?

Music graduates have a wide range of career options available to them both inside and outside the industry, including: performer, teacher, administrator, songwriter, conductor, composer, recording engineer, manager, promoter, or music publisher. The range of roles is endless!

There are also more jobs than ever in music business related areas, such as: careers in digital marketing, social media, PR, technology, label services, ticketing and merchandising. It is also common to find music graduates in consultancy, finance, banking, music therapy and legal jobs.

How it breaks down:

Component One

Performing 30% + 5%


1 x Solo
1 x Ensemble


Total time: 4 - 6 minutes

Completed and assessed in school, during the spring term of year 11.

A programme note on one of your two chosen pieces (5%)

Component Two

Composing 30% + 5%


2 x Compositions

Composition 1: Free composition
Composition 2: Based on a brief, set by the exam board in September of year 11

Completed and assessed in school, during the spring term of year 11.

An evaluation of the piece composed to a brief (5%)

Component Three

Listening Exam 30% 


A 1 hour, 15 minute written exam

In May/June of Year 11
Based on four areas of study, including two pieces


AoS1 - Musical Forms and Devices
AoS2 - Music for Ensemble
AoS3 - Film Music
AoS4 - Popular Music


Set Work 1: Rondeau from Purcell’s Abdelazar
Set Work 2: Handbags and Gladrags (Stereophonics version)