GCSE Music - Is it worth doing?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by BigHorn, Mar 8, 2004.

  1. BigHorn

    BigHorn Active Member

    Can some of you younger Tmpers give some advice on the merits of doing GCSE music.
    My daughter has to decide on her GCSE options over the next few weeks. After deciding on the options she wants to take to help her pursue her likely chosen career, she has one choice left.
    She has narrowed this down to History which she is very interested in and enjoys. Business studies that she knows will be usefull whatever she does. And, finally music which she also enjoys.
    She goes to Brass Band, School Band, A Saturday music workshop where she does brass and swing band and she also has perepetetic teaching where she is studying for grade 6 on Flugel horn.

    My question is - is GCSE music a waste of an option? By the time she actually sits the exam she will be far more advanced than GCSE level. The counter argument to this is that the GCSE would be a banker, where she could afford to relax and enjoy the lesson. But is one GCSE in the bag more important than learning business studies - which to be honest is what I would advise her to take instead.
  2. Jo Elson

    Jo Elson Member

    I would say so. Business Studies isn't in my opinion worth doing unless you are carrying on at A level. I did GCSE music and it helped me with a lot of stuff, and I have that 'under my belt', so to speak if i decide to pursue music as a career. When I picked my options I was to pick the subjects that i enjoy doing or interested in otherwise there is no point in doing them. So that is what I would ask your daughter. She's still got to do maths, science and all the other boring subjects, and needs to pick something that she enjoys to balance it out i guess. I did music, history, french and welsh (the welsh was compulsory as short course anyway) and art, and i didn't regret doing art and music even though i may not take this as a career option-but i enjoyed them and it shows variety in my skills.
  3. Cornet_player

    Cornet_player Member

    If your daughters got Grade 5 theory then she wont have any problems in getting an A at GCSE Music. I did it and for me it was a waste of time but it was essential for me to continue on in music education at A-level. I personnally found GCSE Music boring but that would depend on the teacher. It really depends on what your daughter is considering as a career GCSE Music wont be a heavy work load like Business Studies or History would but then GCSE Music wouldnt be a challenge. I think its best to keep all options open and choose something that you will enjoy. If you enjoy it you will achieve more :lol: :lol:

    The other thing worth considering is that Business Studies CAN be studied at A-level without having GCSE. As far as Im aware you have to have grade C or above to study History or Music at A-level. :?
  4. Straightmute

    Straightmute Active Member

    Much depends on what her ambitions are. If she is seriously considering music at A level or in Higher Education, GCSE is a must. (Remember that when you attend university interviews you have not yet taken your A levels, so the GCSE grades are the best information available about the candidate's achievement). Choosing GCSE shows her commitment to the subject and will give her time at school in which to develop her interests.

    If it is taught well, GSCE music can be a very good experience.

  5. AJSOP

    AJSOP Member

    GCSE music is very very simple for somebody who has a basic knowledge of music. Although saying that, it is a qualification that looks good if you are going to study music at a higher level.
  6. missflugel

    missflugel Member

    I think if your daughter has already made her choices for the main subjects and she is of a standard where she would gain a decent enough grade then i think that music is a fantastic subject.
    I did it for A level too and have never done any grades and Im now doing a degree in East Asian Studies. Its not always the subject but the range and scope of what you do.

    Jo x
  7. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    In my experience music GSCE is a pain to be suffered only if you want to carry on with music at a higher educational level. The syllabus is overly simplistic and concentrates too much on the 'mumbo-jumbo' of musicology rather than giving students a good grounding in musical theory (hence why it is no longer accepted in lieu of grade 5 theory). I had a friend (who is now a peri) and he did a high grade (6 or 7 I think) music theory exam instead of GCSE and it seemed to stand him in better stead.
  8. stopher

    stopher Member

    Hope I can help as I'm going through the options with my class in school right now.

    What I tell the kids in Yr 9 is to do it if you enjoy the subject.

    If you play an instrument or sing then you should do it as you only have to be grade 2 or above with WJEC board to pass so if you have Grade 6 then you should pass the performance no problem.

    There is less coursework than most of the other subjects especially if it is a vocational course which seems to be a lot of paperwork. You do have to compose 2 pieces to fit in with the areas of study but that is over 2 years.

    Aural/Appraising is one exam and you get taught how to do that. Of course, if you have Grade 5 theory then you do have a big advantage by knowing things about harmony, terminology etc. etc. but its not essential (neither is being able to read music - I've got 3 6th formers who cant -they just use guitar tab!).

    Best thing to do is see the Music teacher who can describe what happens in your school, speak to either the Careers advisor, Head of Year, Form Teacher or even people who have just finished the courses so if you know anyone in Lower 6th, have a chat!
  9. drummergurl

    drummergurl Active Member

    in my school people took music as a sit off type of lesson, they are now in trouble because they know nothing on music and are really struggling coz music gcse is definately not a sit off type of lesson.
    in my school, you have to do an own choice composition, and one that is set. practical wise you have to do at least one solo and one ensemble. the more you do the better off you are gonna be by the time the exams come. the more understanding you have at the beginning of the gcse course then the better and easier you will find it!
    i dont know anything on history or business studies coz i didnt take them as my options. my brother took business studies though and quite alot of my friends did too. i however took music, drama, IT, and spanish (they where the ones i could choose what i wanted to do!)
    i took my grade 5 theeory last year and got a distinction with 92/100 atm i am findin music quite challenging.
  10. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    I think you are best off staying clear of subjects like business studies at any level. I think the advice is do what you are good at - that way you'll get the best marks and that's what it's all about (unfortunately :cry:). My general educational advice is stick to core subjects like the sciences, history, english, maths etc (I know you don't get much of a choice at GCSE) because you will find that more opportunities open up for you than if you specialise too quickly.
  11. BigD

    BigD Member


    My class music teacher at school told me not to do music if I wanted to keep on enjoying my playing. He thought I would start to look too deeply into it and that it would effect my ability to to it just for fun.

    I could (and can, see his point.)

    What did I do?

    Being in Scotland I did my (at the time) O Grade and Higher, then went on to study at the RSAMD for 4 years. I am now a peri, MD of a 2nd section Band, and resident of a Championship section band. I also play when I have the time! I now can look into the music (deeply I hope!) AND still enjoy it. :D

    Oh, by the way, I now work in my old school alongside my old teacher. :oops:

    IMHO it is subjects like Maths which have very little relevance to modern day life. (Arithmetic yes, Maths no - unless you want to go on and study it)

    You have to make your own mind up on this one. Read all the posts, talk to the people, but don't let ANYONE make the desicion for you.

    Good luck.
  12. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    How totally wrong you are, it makes me laugh!
  13. BigD

    BigD Member

    We had a discussion the other night at band and only 2 out of around 20 reckoned they used anything they learned in Maths in everyday life.
  14. ScrapingtheBottom

    ScrapingtheBottom Active Member

    Okay, Mathematics underpins the very fabric of our modern society with out maths we wouldn't have computers for instance. Maths is the language of Engineering/Manufacturing, Finance and Technology cornerstones of the British Economy - mathematics is also involved in music (believe it or not especially in Brass playing). Maths is an integral part in modern life, without it all the technology we use everyday and take for granted would not exist. In an increasingly technological world it is very important for young people to be numerate and to understand graphical information. A lot of jobs involve looking at graphical information and interpreting it (even if it is just in a morning meeting or whatever) without mathematical knowledge we wouldn't be able to understand graphs. I think a lot of people don't recognise the worth of the mathematical education they have received because it was compulsory, if you weren't taught maths at school you would be much worse off in 'modern life'.
  15. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    GCSE Music: Is it worth doing?

    Simply, YES!
  16. Borfeo

    Borfeo Member

    I think I just spotted my first BOC :shock:

    Just kidding
  17. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Bar the core subjects (english, maths and science) most jobs/courses specify grades rather than subjects at GCSE. I would recommend doing whatever you enjoy most and subjects you will get the best mark in. I did GSCE music as I knew I would do well. I didn't get that much option choice when I sat mine (out of 10 I got to chose 2). I chose Music and History. History because I enjoyed it....music because I knew a top grade would be in the bag. Incidently I got an A* in music and my worst mark in history! :roll:
  18. jonford

    jonford Member

    I studied both music and business studies at GCSE and out of both of them I would say that music was the most beneficial for me. In my opinion music is definatly not a slack subject. Although some of it was fairly easy to get used to, like certain parts the listening paper but compositions have to be wrote and pieces prepared for performance. It suddenly became a lot harder than the things we were doing in Yr 9. I think it is definatly worth looking at which board your school uses. Our school used the AQA sylabus which I thought was o.k but when talking to friends from other schools their course sounded completely different.

    How boring do I sound! sorry!! :roll:
  19. twigglet

    twigglet Member

    I had the same dilemma at A level, I didn't know whether to take English Literature and Music.. but decided in the end for go for what I enjoy so opted for music.

    I also did GCSE music having already done my theory and grade 8 on the cornet. I wouldn't say that it was a complete waste of time though, as I learnt a little about composing, which you don't really get the chance to do otherwise and also about the history etc.

    It was always my favourite lesson because it was a bit of light relief and we had lots of fun

    It also is very favourable on your CV or University applications to have some formal non-academic qualifications as they look at you as a more rounded individual.
  20. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    GCSE music is an excellent subject to study, when I studied it quite a few years ago I managed to broaden my general understanding of music and it's history (meaning I was able to appreciate music by different composers and decide what periods of history I liked playing best).

    Also, it gave me an opportunity to do solo performances and compositions by the bucketful which has always prepared me well to get as far as I have so far.

    Finally, the amount of aural tests you do gets very boring, but really helps improvbe your listening abilities, essential in ensemble playing.

    Because music was my chosen career path anyway then it was essential to me ... but I'd recommend it to anyone who plays an instrument. It really does make you a better musician.

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