Access Keys:

Kilkeel High School, Knockchree Avenue, Kilkeel

Key Stage 4

INTRODUCTION (New specification - for first teaching in September 2017)

Students who follow the GCSE Music Specification engage in the following three fundamental musical activities:

  • Performing and Appraising
  • Composing; and
  • Listening and Appraising

Studying Music at GCSE level will give you the opportunity to acquire knowledge, understanding and appreciation of past and present musical styles, traditions and contexts. You will study a wide variety of music through four distinctive Areas of Study.



GCSE Music is not just for students who are considering specialising in Music and neither is it solely aimed at those with a 'classical' training; GCSE Music is for everyone!

For someone who has a talent as a performer, who enjoys composing their own music, who is interested in music technology or who simply enjoys music of any description, GCSE Music offers a way to develop their potential and ultimately to achieve a worthwhile qualification.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • Develop the knowledge, understanding and skills needed to communicate effectively as a musician;
  • Develop awareness of music technologies and their use in creating and presenting music;
  • Reflect critically on your own work and the work of others;
  • Progress to further study and/or employment; and 
  • Develop a wide range of transferrable skills that are essential in all areas of the workplace/employment.



Component 1:

Performing and



You will complete a solo performance and an ensemble performance (as part of a group).

In both you will:

  • Demonstrate technical control and accuracy;
  • Consider interpretation and communication of the composer's intentions with an appropriate style; and
  • Demonstrate understanding and apply stylistic features appropriate to the chosen programme.


You will learn to discuss and appraise your own work and the work of others.


Component 2:


You will compose two original pieces of music; one is free choice and one is in response to a stimulus.

You will:

  • Create and develop musical ideas;
  • Understand, control and use musical resources effectively; and
  • Make consistent and effective use of of the following within a chosen style or genre:


Component 3:

Listening and


You will build on the knowledge, understanding and appreciation of music gained through Components 1 and 2.

You will study four compulsory Areas of Study:

  • Western Classical Music 1600 - 1910
  • Film Music
  • Musical Traditions in Ireland
  • Popular Music 1980 - present day

Within each area you will study set works.

You will develop your understanding of the relationship between music and its contexts and you will listen to and appraise familiar and unfamiliar music by a range of composers.