Many students at Gordonstoun are actively involved in music making of many kinds.  Whether learning an instrument, studying music formally in the curriculum or performing in one of the School's many bands, ensembles and choirs, all students are actively encouraged and supported in the development of technical skill, musical knowledge and, more fundamentally, in discovering a love of music for life.

Listen to Gordonstoun Music students here


All Year 9 students receive a weekly timetabled class music lesson. Lessons are creative and practical. Listening, knowledge and understanding of music are developed through the interrelated skills of performing, composing and appraising. By the end of their Year 9 curriculum students will be able to:

Supporting and extending students’ work and achievement in the classroom is an extensive range of extra-curricular and instrumental lesson provision. All students at Gordonstoun  are challenged and encouraged to take an active, enjoyable and fulfilling role in the musical life of the school.


GCSE Music is about making and listening to music. It covers performing, composing and listening in a wide variety of musical styles - popular music, world music and classical music. There are opportunities to use music technology such as sequencing and recording. The course aims to encourage students to be inspired, motivated and excited musicians by following a broad, coherent, satisfying and worthwhile course of study.

There are three main units of study:

Unit 1    Performing Music
Requires one solo performance and one ensemble performance.

Unit 2    Composing Music
Requires two compositions or two arrangements or one composition and one arrangement.

Unit 3    Listening and Appraising
Knowledge and study of set-works in the Areas of Study:

Students will enjoy this course if they want to study a subject that involves performing, listening to all kinds of music, composing and arranging music, and which gives students the opportunity to perform music with others and to learn more about music technology.

GCSE Music is a good preparation for further musical study and a solid foundation for the AS/A-Levels in Music. You may wish to take a GCSE in Music for its own sake, perhaps to form the basis of a future interest. Alternatively, you may wish to go into a job where it is useful to have had experience of music or where you will need to use some of the skills developed during this course. These might include careers in the music industry, publishing, entertainment and teaching or any job which involves communication and expressive skills.


With this course students will develop performance skills (solo and/or ensemble), compose music and learn about harmony (the basics at AS and stylistic studies at A2). They will build up their aural and analytical skills by studying selections from the New Anthology of Music (Edited by J. Winterson, Peters, 2000) and wider listening.

The assessment will be a mixture of performance and composition coursework as well as listening and written examinations.

It is useful to have taken Music at GCSE level, but this is not essential as long as a student can already play a musical instrument to a reasonable standard and is able to read music. The full A-Level course is excellent preparation for higher education courses in Music, but is equally valuable for non-specialists as a second or third area of study.


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