Upon starting GCSE music in year 9 students will begin working immediately on a solo performance piece. The solo performance is either:
the learner performing alone
the learner accompanied by a live or pre-recorded part
a piece for a group in which the learner plays a significant part
a multi-tracked recording (each track recorded separately) in which the learner performs at least one part
a sequenced recording where the learner programs all parts (using Cubase, Cakewalk or Garageband music making software)
It's worth noting that other performers do not have to be GCSE learners.
Year 9 students will then have to practise and master their chosen piece for it to be performed at the GCSE Music Showcase Evening to parents and family members, which usually takes place at the end of January or beginning of February during term 3, for both years 9 and 10. Click here for more information about our GCSE Music Showcase Evening
It is not unusual for students to change their mind when finding a suitable piece, especially when they first begin GCSE music in year 9. Many students will never have learned a piece to a standard where it can be performed live. We aim for students to produce work to as professional a standard as possible and the process of practising something obsessively and effectively will be alien to some students.
GCSE coursework performances are not recorded until year 11 and it is envisaged that students will have learned a multitude of pieces by then. It is from this repertoire that they will choose a piece to record and submit.
The performance guidance booklet is the most important resource for students when learning and working on their performance pieces, both the solo performance piece and the ensemble performance piece. In this book is lots of guidance is available for students on the requirements of their performance, the mark criteria and also practice methods and guidance.
Performances need to allow for students to showcase an 'expected' array of musical skills that will lead to success in this unit/component. By this we mean that GCSE music students should eventually be able to perform their chosen piece confidently, and more importantly, musically. This includes good attention to intonation, the ability to stay in time, attention to dynamics, fluency (avoiding mistakes that disrupt the flow of music), and good technical control of their respective instrument. This is all without further demonstrating effective expression and interpretation - giving an emotive performance.
To help students find a piece that will allow them to explore and demonstrate all the above and more, we have a Spotify playlist that is constantly being updated with appropriate pieces for our GCSE music students.
This can be found here: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/261OZINKJMuVLUh3nR7nCP
Alternatively students can simply search for Mr Laviolette's Spotify profile username
Then look for the playlist titled 'GCSE Solo and Ensemble Pieces'
Students will need a Spotify account but they can sign up for free albeit with adverts and limited number of plays with individual songs.