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GCSE Music enables students with a particular passion for music to further develop skills and knowledge integral to academic and enrichment purposes.  The course foundations are the core disciplines of performing, composing and listening/appraising. There is an extremely broad range of styles covered: from Western classical traditions through to modern styles of popular music.

Students follow the OCR GCSE Music course.  As a part of the course, students study the three distinct musical disciplines of performing, composing and listening and appraising through five interrelated areas of study. The curriculum covers a detailed exploration of composition styles and solo and ensemble performance. The course culminates in a written and listening exam based on music studied throughout the course.

Students can perform and compose music in any style ensuring everyone can develop in their own unique way achieving results that truly reflect each student’s maximum potential.

The five areas of study are designed to develop knowledge and understanding of music through the study of a variety of genres and styles in their wider context.  Students learn to play a musical instrument, and/or sing, as part of the course for which they perform solo and ensemble pieces totalling a minimum of four minutes.  They compose two pieces of music, also examined as coursework, with a minimum combined total of three minutes.  For the listening and appraising component students develop their listening skills and extend their musical vocabulary and understanding of music theory culminating in a listening examination.

Students at Key Stage 4 have the opportunity to receive instrumental lesson as part of the courses and all students taking Music in Key Stage 4 are involved extra-curricular groups or form their own groups. 

Year 9

Year 9 is a highly practical, developmental, year in music at Thornleigh Salesian College. From learning to present a performance of a solo piece on an instrument/voice at the start of the year, to taking part in student ensemble/bands to perform a song of their choice, all Year 9 Music students continue to be actively involved in music throughout the year.  In addition, students study Pachelbel Canon creating an arrangement in Cubase and study how to develop Music for film and undertake a pop-song composition.

The Year 9 units of learning are:

  • Theme and Variation
  •  Creating Music on the Spot
  •  Song writing
  •  Conventions of Pop
  •  Film Music
  •  Solo and Ensemble Performance 1
  •  Musical Me Composition


The Year 10 units of learning are:

Year 10

  •  Conventions of Pop 2
  •  Rhythms of The World 1
  •  Free Composition
  •  Film and Video Game Music
  •  Solo and Ensemble Performance 2
  •  Exploring Orchestral Development

The Year 11 units of learning are:

Year 11

  • Conventions of Pop 3
  • The Concerto Through Time
  • Composition to a Brief
  • Solo and Ensemble Performance 3
  • Rhythms of The World 2