Preparing for the
Everything you need for theory revision in music is on this page
If you want to know HOW to navigate this page then watch this video
Quick Knowledge Check - Everything Students Must Know
As a minimum, this is what all students must know by the time of their actual listening exam in year 11:
Revision summary questions from the CGP Booklets for all four topics
Dr Smith Elements terms and what EACH one means & how to use each element when describing music
All basic key terms
Instruments used in all three areas of study - Concerto Through Time, Rhythms of the World, Film Music, Conventions of Pop
Key composers/artists for pop, concerto and film music - found in the CGP Study Guides for Concerto Through Time, Film Music and Conventions of Pop
Articulation & ornamentation and how to use them when describing music - found in the CGP Study Guide (check the Glossary to know where you can find information about articulation and ornamentation. Also in the Listening Exam Preparation Booklet which has a dedicated page to these
Before reading on. Revision should follow two rules. It should be:
Revision should be at least every three days, ideally every two days
Revision should involve testing yourself at least once a week, ideally at the end of each revision exercise
The Holy Trinity of Revision
There are lots of ways to revise for the listening paper but three methods have proven to be most effective
This booklet was created for you by your teacher as a quick 'all-in-one' guide for what you need to revise, what you need to know and how to do it
What is effective revision?
The biggest misconception about revision is that it's something students do to prepare for exams, just before exams. Our GCSE music students should perhaps understand more than most how ridiculous this concept is.
Imagine practising for the summer concert just one week or a few days before the actual concert?
In music, GCSE students practise constantly and must prove this each week via parental confirmation. As a result, by the end of year 11 most of them are more comfortable performing to a large audience with nothing between them but a microphone or their instrument, than they are sitting in an exam hall with no one but themselves and their peers, who they all know. When you really think about it, this is not natural and it is because they have practised so much to prepare for performances that it comes more naturally to them - not all of them, but definitely most.
However, with theory revision we often see the complete opposite approach, across all subjects not just music. Many students typically try to cram all of their revision and revisiting of content over a relatively small period. Some of them unfortunately even leave it literally until the night before. We could say schools are part of the problem by running revision sessions during the last two terms in the weeks leading up to and during the exam season....but that's a discussion for another day.
First rule – revision should be regular, NOT just before exams
10 minutes a day at least
Further down the page are several links to revision resources for GCSE music using resources from everything available such as the Quizlet website through to the LIstening Exam Preparation Booklet, as an example.
Students from years 9, 10 & 11 should use this website to visit these resources REGULARLY and use them. Even 5 minutes using Quizlet to do a quick 5 minute matching-terms session for Indian Classical Music is enough for one evening, though not just this resource every evening.
To get students started here are just some of the numerous things they can do as part of their daily revision:
Use Quizlet to study some key terms - e.g. basic key terms
Use Quizlet to study a particular style - e.g. Palestinian folk music
Use the Rhinegold Study Guide to complete the short 'quick quizzes' starting on page 91
Use the CGP study guide to create flash cards/revision cards for any topic in which students are weak
Use YouTube to test themselves on identifying texture of an extract - polyphonic, monophonic or homophonic - like this
Use the Monkey Sing Monkey Doh! online website game to practise notation/dictation
Use the Listening Exam Preparation Booklet to study and make notes on the three periods of composition, baroque, classical and romantic
Use the Practice Questions and Practice Papers page on this website to complete one practice question
Use the Practice Questions and Practice Papers page on this website to complete a whole practice paper, under timed conditions - maximum 1 hour 15 minutes
Use the Area of Study/Topic Revision page in the Listening Exam Preparation Booklet to learn about the styles/topics in the CGP study guide. For example - for Palestinian folk music students can use the Area of Study Topic/Revision page to write out on a revision card or in their exercise book:
what instruments are involved
how the instruments work together
This task above must work through each bullet point on the page to be effective
Using the CGP study guide search online for examples of the numerous styles of music
This link includes information on the four types of question in your listening exam as well as practice tasks to help you answer the questions
Includes everything from recognising melodies and pitch, recognising scales, listening to sounds of instruments, listening to examples of texture, practising notated rhythms, practising notation dictation exercises, relative pitch & interval training, recognising baroque, classical and romantic styles, and much more.