In Aquinas we follow the NICCEA specifications for both GCSE and A Level music.

GCSE: there are currently three curriculum areas which contribute to the overall award, Composing, Performing and Listening and Appraising with the first two categorised as Controlled Assessment and a medium level of control. Students must compose two pieces lasting 3-6 mins in total over the two year course and this is internally assessed then moderated by CCEA. One must be linked to an Area of Study.

Performing is assessed by a visiting external assessor in April of year 12 and students choose one solo and one ensemble piece to form their programme. They will also engage in an assessed discussion [Viva Voce] with the examiner about their performance and choice of programme. Candidates should aim for Grade 4+ standard and again one piece must be linked to an Area of Study.

The Listening and Appraising examination takes place in the summer of year 12 and consists of two papers, one in the morning on their core Area of Study Repeated Patterns in Music, and one in the afternoon on their two optional Areas of Study Vocal Music and Incidental Music. Each aural perception paper will last approx 45minutes and will include questions on both familiar extracts of music [set works] and general listening questions on unfamiliar music linked to each topic. It is absolutely imperative that students ‘listen around’ as well as familiarise themselves wth their set works and composers.

Programme of Study in Yr 11

  1. Listening and Appraising – Core Area of Study: Canon in D by Pachelbel, Allegretto from Symphony No.7 by Beethoven, Mars from The Planets Suite by Holst and Dies Irae from Requiem by Karl Jenkins.
  2. Solo Performance 1 [October].
  3. Group Composition [late October].
  4. Solo Performance 2 [January].
  5. Listening and Appraising – Periodic Characteristics illustrated through lots of general listening.
  6. Listening and Appraising – Introduction to Vocal Music: excerpts from Handel’s Messiah, Die Erlkonig by Schubert, One Short Day and What is this feeling? by Schwartz, and Run by Snow Patrol.
  7. Composition 2 – Controlled Assessment [completed April] to include Composition Log.
  8. Ensemble Performance 1 [May].

Programme of Study in Yr12

  1. Solo Performance 3 [October]
  2. Revision of Vocal Music.
  3. Introduction to Incidental Music: Overture to a Midsummer Night’s Dream by Mendelssohn, Morning and In the Hall of the Mountain King by Grieg, Davy Jones  theme from Pirates of the Carribbean ‘Dead Man’s Chest’ by Hans Zimmer and the theme from Dr Who by Ron Grainer.
  4. In depth look at Film, TV and Electronic Music.
  5. Composition 3 – Controlled Assessment [completed March] to include Composition Log.
  6. Organisation and rehearsals for Solo and Ensemble Performances.
  7. Revision of Areas of Study and past paper exercises.