Edexcel GCSE Music (2016)

Here, you'll find everything you need to prepare for GCSE Music from 2016 (first assessment 2018), including our accredited Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Music specification and sample assessment materials.

Inspiring the next generation of musicians

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Our Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Music qualification enables you to teach engaging content through the context of our new Areas of Study and Set Works.

We have included suggested wider listening that relates to the Areas of Study to help you prepare students for appraising unfamiliar music in the exam, and gain understanding of the wider context of pieces.

We know your time is precious so we’ve made sure all the sheet music is available to purchase in one convenient Anthology, plus all the audio music is on a separate CD to save you time looking.

*You don’t have to buy any resources, including those from Pearson, to deliver our Edexcel specification.

Our straightforward assessment grids will enable you to understand what students need to achieve in their performance and compositions, and help you to track student progress throughout the course.

Our Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Music qualification has been designed to give all students the opportunity to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills of music whatever their previous experience. The qualification supports and encourages students coming from KS3 to want to progress to GCSE Music and beyond.

Draft specification



Getting started - GCSE Music 2016
Download PDF | 442.7 KB
Qualification type:
General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE)
Level 1/2
Accreditation status:
Specification codes:
UK and international
First teaching:
First assessment:


GCSE Music 2016 specification
Download PDF | 817.7 KB
What's changing

GCSE Music 2016: What's changing

These changes will apply to all awarding organisations’ specifications:

  • The three key elements of performing, composing and appraising have been retained.
  • Performing is worth 30% and students have to perform at least two pieces, one of which must be part of an ensemble, the minimum time for both pieces must be at least 4 minutes.
  • Composing is worth 30% and students need to compose at least two pieces, one must be in response to a board set brief and one must be a piece of free composition, the minimum time for both pieces must be at least 3 minutes.
  • Appraising is worth 40% and content has been given in terms of musical elements, contexts and language. Students must study at least 4 Areas of Study, one based in WCM composed between 1650 and 1910, and one that is not based in WCM. There is a requirement for students to read and write staff notation and respond to unfamiliar music in the exam.

Our approach

We’re working with the teaching community, higher education, learned societies and subject associations to design our new GCSE Music specification for 2016. Our ambition is to develop music qualifications that you will know and recognise, and to allow you to teach engaging content through the context of our new Areas of Study and Set Works.

We have commissioned and conducted our own research, including international benchmarking and trialling. This research will help us to build on the strengths of our current specification and to identify the skills students need to progress to further study in music.

Download our brochure

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Getting Ready to Teach

Free Getting Ready To Teach events

Our free Getting Ready To Teach events will support you in delivering the new Pearson Edexcel GCSE (9-1) Music specification for first teaching from September 2016.

Book your free place



If you don’t have an Edexcel Online account, you can book by emailing us at trainingbookings@pearson.com

Download the presentation

Didn't get to one of our launch events? View the presentation here.

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Your subject advisor

Jeffery HoleMusic and Music Technology
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