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The breadth, depth and range of Music, and the wideness of participation at The London Oratory School mark it out as amongst the School’s most distinctive features.  Here, pupils explore music within the western classical tradition, and all are encouraged to take up an instrument and to contribute to one of the many opportunities for performance, from the low key to the high register.


All pupils will sing and use a range of instruments to explore music in a wide range of historical and cultural contexts.  They will develop their practical skills, co-ordination and ability to create music with others.  Regular listening and analysis activities will allow pupils to develop a wider appreciation of different musical genres and styles.

In first form, pupils will develop their ability to sing through exploring a wide range of music including parts of the mass, hymns and chant.  They will also learn and perform folk songs and non-western melodies including traditional African pieces.  Pupils will create their own melodies and develop their Keyboard, Guitar and composing skills through completing a range of projects which they will record and edit using music software.

In second form, pupils will build on prior learning by studying some of the great works from the Baroque period.  They will also explore Jazz, Blues and Minimalist styles and how these relate to other contexts.  They will continue to sing liturgical music for masses and school events.  Pupils will record performances and develop composition using music software.

In third form, pupils will explore music for the stage including extracts from Operas and Musicals.  They will learn about different popular music genres and will create and record their own cover versions of songs in different styles.  Pupils will study a range of film themes and will create their own compositions based on these using music software.



Outline of Syllabus

The specification for the GCSE Music course is based upon three aspects of music: performing, composing and appraising.  The course is a natural extension of the work studied in first to third form. All pupils receive subsidised instrumental lessons on one instrument. The principal instrument study is a crucial part of the course and pupils are expected to attend all lessons and to practise and prepare thoroughly between lessons.  Pupils are required to be a member of one or more school ensembles and will be expected to attend a number of concerts, both in and out of school.

The course in designed to:

  • develop the understanding and appreciation of a range of different kinds of music;
  • extend current musical interests and increase the ability to make judgements about musical quality;
  • develop broader life-skills and attributes including critical and creative thinking, aesthetic sensitivity and emotional and cultural development.

There are four areas of study, with two set works in each area:

  • Instrumental Music 1700–1820
  • Vocal Music
  • Music for Stage and Screen
  • Fusions

Scheme of Assessment

Unit 1 Performance (30%)

Pupils perform for at least four minutes’ combined duration (each out of 30 marks).

  • Solo performance: this must be at least one minute in duration
  • Ensemble performance: this must be of at least one minute in duration

Unit 2 Composition (30%)

Pupils compose two compositions, of at least three minutes’ combined duration (each out of 30 marks).

  • One composition to a brief set by exam board: this must be at least one minute in duration.
  • One free composition agreed with the course teacher: this must be at least one minute in duration.
  • Each composition will be out of 30 marks.

Unit 3 Written examination (40%)

Section A: Areas of study, dictation, and unfamiliar pieces (68 marks)

  • Six questions related to six of the eight set works.
  • One short melody/rhythm completion exercise.
  • One question on an unfamiliar piece (skeleton score provided) with questions on
    the musical elements, context and musical language.

Section B: Comparison between a set work and one unfamiliar piece (12 marks)

  • One question that asks pupils to compare and/or evaluate the musical elements, musical contexts and musical language of one set work with one unfamiliar piece of music.

Awarding Body: Edexcel                                                            Specification: GCSE (9-1) 1MU0