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  GCSE music - is it too easy?  Pete12b at 19:03 on 15 March 2007

Have spent the day with A level examiners (exams for 17/18 year olds) they are cursing the GCSE and how it has made standards slip by not testing the students enough. What do you think?

  Re: GCSE music - is it too easy?  red5 at 15:15 on 16 March 2007

I think it's far too easy. I did a workshop for GCSE students playing in a wind quintet the other week. They had no idea what the names of instruments were, couldn't read music, hadn't heard of Bach or Haydn and were generally ignorant of anything other than guitar powerchords! They'll still all probably get Bs!

  Re: GCSE music - is it too easy?  Pete12b at 21:26 on 16 March 2007

..if their amps were switched on then they would receive marks for integrating technology so would probably actually get an A!! Its an insult. I read on the front page of Metro in London that English Music and Psychology were falling in standard. What can we do? If this continues the music of the next generation will be dire! This generation is bad enough.

  Re: GCSE music - is it too easy?  atticmusic at 00:00 on 17 March 2007

Yes. Having taught it for a number of years it is clear there is a considerable gap between GCSE and A level. I believe the idea behind the GCSE was to allow 'access' to the subject within the classroom environment - thus giving all children the opportunity to take music at Year 11. I am pleased that more children seem to be interested in music but it is clear that there has been no 'true' replacement for the old 'O' level. What has happened I believe, is a dumbing down of the subject in secondary/senior schools. Talented children (and their parents) are however, finding alternatives to the limitations of GCSE via bands, LEA or rural music schools and private ventures. I feel the question we should ask now ought to be:
'is GCSE music adequate for our musically gifted children?'
I believe the answer is no.
AQA, OCR and the like need to provide and alternative for the musically able 14-16 age range, something that clearly supports the move to 'A' level.

  Re: GCSE music - is it too easy?  Paul at 13:13 on 19 April 2007

How can you compare the old O level to the new GCSE
The very dry harmoney questions that could be answered by learning set patterns without even having to no what it sounded like compared to the chance to write your own music in what ever style or form you wanted . how exiting is that?
The only problem with the new gcse is the way it is taught

  Re: GCSE music - is it too easy?  atticmusic at 14:08 on 19 April 2007

I wasn't comparing the GCSE to the old O level - I was suggesting that there is a gap between what the GCSE provides in supporting the move to A level. Twenty years ago the move from O to A level seemed better (whether it was interesting or not) and I do not believe that is true now. The GCSE is good for a musical experience and I agree it is more interesting than the old O level but it is limited.
I am not sure what you mean by the comment that 'the only problem with new GCSE music is the way it is taught'. Are you suggesting that teachers are not delivering it in the right way? Do we need to educate our teachers to expand what the GCSE offers thus allowing gifted pupils access to the more challenging topics faced at AS/A level? I think this is possible in the composing and performing elements but what about the listening? Also, is it not possible to get an 'A' at GCSE without reading a note of music? If so, would the 'A' grade pupil then think they were ready for 'A' level music?

  Re: GCSE music - is it too easy?  lori.kendall at 21:00 on 13 February 2012

Hi, I know this discussion is old and maybe you don't check it anymore, but i came accross this sight whilst looking at idea's for my music compostition.

Let me introduce myself, my name is lori and i'm 15 years old. I currently study gcse music at high school. I've always been involved in music, i have played the piano since i was 8 and at 11 i began to play the violin and have therefore gained a lot of musicial skills eg reading music, knowledge base of general musical instruments etc.

This knowledge base has helped me drastically through my music course so far but i became insensed when i began reading your above comments about how music is 'too easy'. Firstly, even with a good knowledge base i am finding some bits of the course difficult, i pitty my peers who have less knowledge than I, who are struggling to even reach a D grade. Currently, working at B, i have been told I could possibly achieve an A*... if i tried hard enough - which is great! However i disagree that the course is going to just give away that grade easily!!!

The 12 texts we are studying, are complex, and with exams looming in 11ish weeks I am trying to get some revision done (whilst studying other subjects). There is lots to remember and the complex terminology doesn't exactly lend its self to being learnt instantly!

Next, there's the composition. I have already composed a sonata and to tell you the truth, i'm quite proud!! but I am starting to write my second piece after half term and i'm stuggling to find a genre that suits me! Some of the pieces my friends have wrote... :s...well need i comment? (let's hope they manage to get a C)

Third and fianally, there's the performance. Finding a piece of music for your solo performance is hard. Is it too easy? Could i do better? Have i practised enough? But ensemble is worse. Having to work in groups with incapable musicians and with little help from staff, trying to find music for a piece that doesn't suit all the instruments for the bad? It's difficult.

Anyway, all i'm trying to say is, i disagree. Music isn't and 'easy' option. It's very difficult and demands a lot of work. Please take things from a students perspective before judging on us. Most of us do try hard, and thats why we are achieving B, A, A*. The ones who don't try....will fail...and that's all there is too it.

Thanks for your time