Music Ks4

Key Stage 4



The music syllabus aims to provide pupils with opportunities to:

  • Continue to develop as individuals and as contributors to society, the economy and the environment through active engagement in musical activities.

  • Develop their understanding and appreciation of a range of different kinds of music, extend their own interests and increasing their ability to make informed judgments about musical quality.

  • Acquire the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to:


    • communicate through music and to take part in music-making

    • develop a lifelong interest in music and appreciate the extent of music-related careers; and progress to further study at A-Level

  • Develop broader life skills and attributes, including critical and creative thinking, aesthetic sensitivity and emotional and cultural development.


Requirements for GCSE

Candidates should have an interest in the subject, the ability to listen to music with concentration and aural perception, have a basic knowledge of music theory and the potential to perform in Year 12 at grade 2/3 level of the recognized examination boards.

Please note:

Music is normally taught in 5 timetabled lessons. However, if you choose to study the subject in 3 periods (Step 4 in the GCSE choice form) you must have a grade 4 level in your instrument and a firm knowledge of music theory to be considered for this option.


Subject content

There is one compulsory core area of study. There are three optional areas of study. Students study only two optional areas of study. This totals three areas of study for each student.



Core area of study

Compulsory for all students

Optional areas of study

Students choose only two

Repeated patterns in Music

1. Musical traditions in Ireland

2. Incidental music

3. Vocal music


These areas of study provide the context in which students experience music and develop the skills of composing, performing, listening and appraising.

Scheme of Assessment


Component 1: Composing and appraising (Controlled assessment)


Weighting and availability

Candidates must create two contrasting compositions and keep a composition log for each.


One of these must be related to the core or an optional area of study




Summer only


Component 2: Performing and appraising (Controlled assessment)


Weighting and availability

Candidates must present one solo and one ensemble performance. These must include at least one piece related to the core or optional areas of study.

Candidate’s solo and ensemble performance programmes should each last up to 5 minutes (except for turntable performances, each of which should not exceed 10 minutes).

Candidates’ discussion of their performance is worth 5% of the total marks. A visiting assessor carries out external assessment.






Summer only


Component 3: Listening and appraising (External assessment)


Weighting and availability

There is one examination of aural perception, which comprises two parts.

Part 1 is based on the core area of study. One of the questions in this part relates to the impact of music on work and leisure.

Part2 is based on optional areas of study.

Both Parts 1 and 2 include questions on familiar and unfamiliar music.

The total listening time for each part of the assessment unit is approximately 45 minutes. There is an interval of approximately 30 minutes between Part 1 and Part 2.



35 %


Summer only


There is only one tier of entry.