Thinking about picking GCSE music?

First, two things you really need to know

  1. Practice is essential. If you pick music as an option, understand that ALL GCSE music students must complete between 5-7 hours of practice per week at home. This has to be signed off by parents each week. This also means all GCSE music students must either commit to learning an instrument, including singing, or must be able to play an instrument or sing already

  2. Performance is essential. All GCSE music students must perform. This happens at least twice a year in the term 3 GCSE Music Showcase and the Summer Concert (click the links for more information about these). However, there are also class performances, lunch recitals that you might be picked for and assemblies, open evenings and much more.

If either of these are a problem then feel free to discuss them with your music teacher at school or via email (email address at bottom of page)

GCSE music is a difficult but highly rewarding subject. Ask any musician if it is easy to learn how to 'do' music and they will tell you how difficult it is. Yet, almost everyone wants to be able to play music. On this course you will learn how to do that and you will be pushed to do it at a higher level than most musicians will ever have to in their lives.

You do not have to have plans to be a musician or work in a music related field to study GCSE music. Studying music requires lots of character, such as discipline, resilience, focus and also lots of imagination, creative thinking and independence. All of these traits are highly valued by almost all employers and educational institutes, and are important for anywhere that life takes you.

Music is always a talking point when people find out that you can play an instrument or sing. They're interested in how you learned, how often you have performed. If you go further than GCSE music and take things more seriously, even as a hobby, then public speaking and holding the attention of an entire room in a meeting could come pretty naturally to you. After all, you will have performed to hundreds of people.

Feel free to explore the course below, including listening to some of the amazing examples of music and performances that our students have produced and been involved in over the years.

What Is Involved?

Click HERE for an overview of the GCSE music course


Click HERE to listen to examples of students' performances and compositions

Students must submit two performances and two compositions for their final coursework submissions by the end of year 11

Showcase Performance Evening

Click HERE to watch some of our filmed GCSE music showcase evenings

In term 3 of each year, GCSE students must perform to parents in a GCSE Showcase Evening. For many students this is their first experience performing to the public

Lunch Recitals

Click HERE to watch some of our filmed lunchtime recitals

On the last week of every term at lunchtime, a recital performance is put on in the music department. While it is open to all students across all year groups, we often use this as an opportunity for GCSE students to get some performing experience

Some important points which might answer any questions you have

  • Open all hours - the music room is open from early morning, around 07:30, to well after school around 5pm, for students to practise and complete coursework. At break and lunchtimes this still applies but the room is often busier with lunchtime clubs and other students practising. However, where possible, GCSE students are prioritised for practice room use

  • You do NOT need to take one-to-one instrumental or singing lessons to do well in this subject. Most GCSE music students at Wrotham are self-taught and YouTube as well as other online resources are incredibly effective for learning pieces and for practice. Click HERE for our online resources for practice on your instrument

  • At the same time, if you want to take instrumental or singing lessons please get in touch (email address at bottom of page). We use We Teach Music as our provider and they offer lessons for the following instruments. Click HERE to find out more about We Teach Music:

  • Piano

  • Guitar - including bass, electric, acoustic, classical

  • Voice

  • Drums

  • Saxophone

  • Most students do specialise on one instrument (again, this includes voice). However, there is no reason why you could not submit one performance on one instrument, the second performance on a different instrument, the first composition for another instrument and the second composition for another different instrument. This is not common simply because even if a student can play multiple instruments, most can only play one very well. Point being, you can experiment as much as you want and try different instruments so long as you submit your coursework to as best a standard as possible

Still interested? What can you do to get ready?

If after reading and exploring all the above information, you are still eager to study music as one of your GCSE option subjects then here are some things you can do to prepare. Don't worry too much, you do not need to do the below things, but lots of students might be interested in already starting to prepare for GCSE music.

  • Practise - LOTS. This is the most important thing. Almost all parts of the course come down to your musicianship so improving it is key. Learn songs - as many as you like. Below are some ways you can do this. Head to our dedicated practice page for GCSE musicians HERE. This page features lots of advice for learning pieces, practising technique for your instrument and how to create a practice routine, as well as much more.

  • Lessons. If your parents can afford them then taking instrumental lessons (including vocal) is a sure way to boost your musicianship. More information HERE. These can be expensive for some though so feel free to read the above bullet point which contains some free, or much cheaper options.

  • Attend performances. The music department holds lots of performance events. To name a few, we have recitals at the end of each term (suspended due to COVID during 2020-21 - hoping to return 2021-22) which you can read about HERE, we hold two GCSE showcases a year which you can ask about attending, we provide live music for the drama production each year during Christmas so come along and watch to see what YOU could be part of if you practise enough and are chosen, we hold a summer concert every year which can be considered the ultimate showcase of all things that take place in music, so buy tickets and come and watch. Those are the main performances. We also update the music website regularly with other performances and provide live music for open evening in term one as well as the character awards evening (previously called Passport Graduation evening) in term six, so come along to watch those performances also.