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What do you do in Gcse music that you can't get from extracurricular music?

(47 Posts)
Verycold Wed 12-Mar-14 23:09:15

If anything?

webwiz Wed 12-Mar-14 23:18:24

DS particularly enjoyed the composition element.

Picturesinthefirelight Wed 12-Mar-14 23:19:15


Nocomet Wed 12-Mar-14 23:21:54

DD1 doesn't like compassion, she doesn't like listening tests, she can't remember a 101 different dance styles, she just wants to sing!

stillenacht Wed 12-Mar-14 23:27:02

Analysis (in depth) of the structure of music.(if taking Edexcel)
Learning about world music/unfamiliar styles.
A certificate and a qualification not just a bit attached to hobbies on a cv.

stillenacht Wed 12-Mar-14 23:36:55

Nocomet if she just wants to sing she should be in as many choirs as poss. Gcse music is all about expanding your musical experience not just doing one thing you like (unfortunately I have a number of year 11s who think just being able to sing should get them Cs and above)...hmmm

LyndaCartersBigPants Wed 12-Mar-14 23:37:45

Options time here too. Place marking!

PurplePotato Wed 12-Mar-14 23:47:43

All the above, plus using musical software and the school's recording studio.

BackforGood Thu 13-Mar-14 00:01:49

Also - for some pupils - space on the timetable for a subject that is quite different from a group of similar ones. My dd is really enjoying her music GCSE, and I think it's about the practical nature of it being a change form the writing she is doing in a lot of them.
If they are already of a very high standard, (not including my dd in this - she's learning a lot grin) it is also good to have one option where they are pretty confident they are going to do well without much additional study.

Nocomet Thu 13-Mar-14 00:07:30

She does sung in 3-5 different groups depending what's going on and she works jolly hard at the GCSE music, but a C is all she'll get

They've also had a lot if fun, so I don't think she regrets doing it, she's dyslexic and French or history certainly wouldn't have been an improvement.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 13-Mar-14 00:09:54

Hi OP.

My dd is a lot younger but similar in terms of just wanting to sing.
Has your dd done any exams with ABRSM or TRINITY etc.
These can gain UCAS points for future uni applications and will free up a GCSE for another subject.
If she wants a career in music a GCSE or A level aren't really necessary. great to have and achieve, but they won't be held back without these.
If it was me I would seek out a good private teacher, if you don't already have one and take the exams.
I don't just mean as an extra curricular activity though, but making it a core subject iyswim.

Nocomet Thu 13-Mar-14 00:11:27

Oh andstillenacht her music teachers are lovely and don't go in for sarcastic hmmmms

Free instrument lessons... Very shallow of us I know, but DS1 wants to be an engineer not a musician, so this was one of his GCSEs chosen because he enjoys the subject rather than because he needs it later on. Composition, theory, history are all more than he would have got than if he'd just had extracurricular lessons.

looplab Thu 13-Mar-14 09:13:36

We are approaching this decision too, and much as I love the school's superb music dept. I can see no academic reason whatsoever, particularly if you have ABRSM. As an effectively extra-curricular activity and loads of fun, it sounds great, however.

LeapingOverTheWall Thu 13-Mar-14 09:26:53

do check what other student tend to pick music though - at our school there have been several years where people have picked music (and art and drama) as an "easy" subject to muck around in, which is really hard for those students who actually want to do it.

Theas18 Thu 13-Mar-14 09:39:09

In the case of my kids a broader musical base on which to base performance. Reading and understanding the accompaniment for instance was already something they were starting to do at 12-13yrs but GCSE has moved this on a bit (and they moved it on further again). You can't really perform properly without a grasp of the harmony to base ornamentation on for instance in baroque music. Ditto sound musical theory is vital.

Kids like mine who perform a lot are slightly perturbed by composition - they'd rather have "the dots" to go on, but the structure and degree of freedom in composition is good too.

Oh and the "delights" of working as a group- they mostly hate this tbh as the standards and intstruments vary widely - French horn cello and oboe anyone? Remember though for GCSE/A level group performance check the curriculum - you may be able to bring in a friend or teacher to perform with.

For a kid who does a lot of extra curricular music and has done some exams actually it's a fairly relaxing choice. And you get marks for recycling repertoire as you don't have to play very hard pieces etc

Theas18 Thu 13-Mar-14 09:39:51

Oh and yes the free instrument lessons!

schilke Thu 13-Mar-14 10:23:48

Free instrument lessons? Well, ds1's school doesn't offer that! Ds1 chose music because he has to do one out of music, art, drama, DT etc.. Ds2 has just chosen music for the same reason, although he is very musical and I think he'll find it quite easy - he has G5 theory and is about to do G7 violin. He plays in orchestras too, so the bit that will be different for him is the composition. He thinks he can't do it, but his music teachers assure us & him that he can!

Ds1 has found it boring and hard, but then he hardly ever picks up his trombone and has no interest in music.

HercShipwright Thu 13-Mar-14 10:24:21

I bloody wish we got free instrument lessons for doing GCSE. That would save a fortune.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 13-Mar-14 15:00:18


When you say they may be able to bring a friend or teacher in with them, do you mean a friend from outside the school who isn't doing the GCSE.
I ask as this would be good for those who are set for an A or A* and are worried that others in their group are not as conscientious as they are and likely to pull the grade down. Or does it not work like this.

longingforsomesleep Thu 13-Mar-14 16:18:12

Morethan - my ds is doing GCSE music. He plays the piano and has never played with others. His music teacher suggested that his piano teacher (from outside school) does the 'group' performance with him.

Theas18 Thu 13-Mar-14 17:18:46

Morethan I don't know the details but dd1 came back from uni last year for the day to play Telemann with DS for his AS "group" part of his recital. She waited outside whilst he did the solo bit then just did the duet and left.

The problem for him was finding a player of sufficient standard on the right instrument.

circular Thu 13-Mar-14 17:22:11

Morethan - DD1 did Edexcel GCSE Music last year, brought in an external teacher for duet as nobody suitable in GCSE group. More did than not, as suct a mixture. Friends at other local schools also did similar.

Believe for OCR, as performance externally assessed, need to be more organised and arrange ensemble at a couple of weeks notice.

circular Thu 13-Mar-14 17:34:22

Theas Was relieved when we found no ensemble necessary for Edexcel AS. Then realised there there is a player of same instrument, same standard in A2 group. They are hoping to perform both their compositions together.

No free instrument lessons here either, though neighbouring LA get them. But they have to live and attend school in that LA, and as her school is the best for miles for music, many that moved there for 6th form lost their free lessons.

Suffolkgirl1 Thu 13-Mar-14 18:53:08

You can use non students for the ensemble in edexcel. DS, a pianist, has a teacher singing with him for his duet.

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