"Music is the soundtrack of your life." -Dick Clark

Do you have a love for music? Do you listen to your favourite artists on repeat over and over again? Does your passion for music transform a wrong moment into a good one? If so, you're like millions of people around the world who believe that music can make the world a better place.

Some persons' love of melodies, tunes, and rhythms causes them to further their understanding of music and learn a musical instrument such as the piano, the drums, the harp, or the violin, to name a few.

Since the UK's Department for Education recognises that learning arts topics is vital for pupils of all ages, various music courses are offered throughout primary and secondary school to help music lovers learn more about what they genuinely care about.

Therefore, in today's article, we shall discuss two of the most reputable music courses offered to UK-based students, the GCSE and A-Levels in music, and why they deserve special consideration.

Why Should You Take GCSE or A-Level Music Courses?

While most GCSE subjects are mandatory for receiving your diploma of high school leaving, some entertaining disciplines may be chosen by the student that makes learning fun. For instance, food technology, drama, and music encourage students to get in touch with their creative side.

playing music together
The violin, the piano, and the guitar are some of the most common instruments played during the GCSEs. (Source: Unsplash)

But what specific motives are there for taking the GCSE or A-Level music course? There are too many reasons to count; however, the following are some of the best motivators for students who are on the fence about choosing GCSE or A-Level music:

  • Future Job Prospects: research from reputable sources suggest that employers love candidates who have taken part in creative subjects in either secondary school or university. It's an asset because those who have learnt a musical instrument are known to boast qualities such as tenacity, critical thinking, and cooperation with others.
  • Transferrable Skills: since the GCSE and A-Level music courses have been perfected over time; learners hone new abilities over two years to become more analytical, practical, and social human beings. Other qualities such as self-confidence, creativity, working with others, and the conviction to present in front of others are acquired. All of these skills can be used throughout careers and in relationships.
  • Stress Reliever: although GCSE or A-Level in music is still a school subject that requires a lot of hard work, the fact that you are learning to play an instrument does beautiful things for young adults' minds. How's that? It has been proven that playing a musical instrument reduces anxiety and works as a stress reliever.
  • Helps for Other Academic Disciplines: pupils who regularly play a musical instrument do a lot better on exams and course work in other academic subjects such as maths, science, history, etc. The brain's left side is developed, which helps learners obtain information more effortlessly.

We remarkably suggest looking into either the GCSE music or A-Level music programme, depending on your level, to learn more about the world of music; you won't regret it!

What is the Easiest Musical Instrument to Learn?

easy music instrument
The harmonica is one of the easiest musical instruments to learn how to play. (Source: Unsplash)

For centuries now, learning a musical instrument has been a delightful hobby appreciated by people of all ages and social classes. Musical instruments such as the guitar, the piano, the clarinet, the cello, the drums, and the violin are trendy across all countries.

However, have you ever stopped and asked yourself, what are the easiest musical instruments to master for beginners? If so, today you've won the jackpot because we're here to provide you with answers!

The following list features the easiest musical instruments to learn:

  • Ukelele: similar in appearance to the guitar, the ukelele boasts four strings, yet it is much smaller to carry around and doesn't hurt the fingertips as much as an acoustic or electric guitar. The ukelele has proven to become one of the easiest instruments to learn for teenagers, adults, and senior citizens alike. Most ukelele practitioners can learn a new tune within a matter of weeks or if you're truly dedicated, even days.
  • Recorder: introduced in the early years of primary school, learning the recorder is claimed by many to lay the foundation for acquiring future musical instruments. With concise notes and simple to grasp the concept, the recorder might be the easiest of all uncomplicated instruments to learn.
  • Harmonica: extraordinarily portable and versatile, the harmonica can be played along to the sounds of various genre of music such as jazz, rock, and folk. The harmonica is relatively easy to learn since it is almost impossible to make a note sound out of key. The harmonica is remembered with a lot of practice and not through music theory.
  • Bongos: consisting of two conjoined drums, the bongos are fantastic for those who want to pave their way towards learning other percussion instruments. Creating rhythm on the bongos isn't very difficult.

All of the previously mentioned instruments can easily be found online or at local music shops in the United Kingdom. Start learning today!

What Will You Learn in GCSE Music?

a major component
The composition is an extremely crucial part of the GCSE exam result. (Source: Unsplash)

While how classes are taught may differ from exam board to exam board, the GCSE Music curriculum is practically the same throughout all UK regions. The GCSE subject of music is divided into three areas of study that are the following:

  • Performance: equal to 30% of the entire grade and completed at the end of the GCSEs in year two of study,
  • Composition: worth 30% of the final result, students are urged to write their composition in the first year and then choose from a list provided by the exam board in the second year,
  • Listening and Appraising: worth more than the other sections, this part is valued at 40% of the entire grade. It is the only part where an "exam" is completed featuring questions about previous music-based information studied.

What about topics and subdisciplines studied in GCSE music? Thanks to our great friends at BBC Bitesize, the following list highlights the most significant disciplines covered in the GCSE music curriculum:

  • Music Theory: in this part, essential aspects of understanding music in an academic setting are reviewed. Such as?Melody, harmony and tonality, structure, tempo, metre, rhythm, dynamics, articulation, sonority, texture, and notation.
  • Western Classical Tradition 1650 to 1910: one of the four areas of study, and the first of two mandatory subjects, in this section, students analyse classical pieces of music from Handel, Chopin, and Verdi.
  • Popular Music: another area of study that is highly recommended, popular music reviews pop songs from artists such as Adele or The Beatles.
  • Traditional Music: another area of study that analyses music styles, traditional music is not mandatory, but it is one of the most common options. Music from Santana and the genre of British folk music are listened-to.
  • Western Classical Tradition since 1910: the second of two mandatory areas of study, WCT since 1910 focuses on famed British composers from the 20th century.
  • Music Technology: knowing how your instrument was made or the rapid advancements in music mechanisation is a curiosity of students; therefore, it is reviewed in music technology. Topics such as music software, recording music, turntablism, and sampling are touched on.
  • Composition: as mentioned above, the composition aspect is crucial to the GCSE music assessment's final result. A total of two compositions must be created—the first in year one of the curricula and the second in year two of the course.
  • Performance: the moment where a student can truly shine in front of others is during the musical performance. Examiners evaluate candidates' technical aspects such as the accuracy of the pitch and rhythm, interpretation, confidence in playing, and musical expression.

All of the subjects revised in the GCSE music programme helped create well-rounded musicians who developed a passion for playing musical instruments.

Where to Find GCSE and A-Level Music Revision Resources

When it comes time studying and preparing for examinations; students want the best revision resources on their side. Successful revising sessions could be the difference between a passing or failing grade in the GCSEs or the A-Levels.

Therefore, to equip GCSE and A-Level music students with the tools needed to achieve high marks, the following list includes the best revision resources available:

  • Websites: when it comes time to using helpful websites to review any topic from the GCSE or A-Levels, two come to mind for their reputation of excellence. Which sites are those? BBC Bitesize and GoConqr. The music revision aspects are useful and worth using for all types of students.
  • Applications: having GCSE music review information with you on the go at all times is a brilliant idea. Thanks to the genius developers behind mobile apps that are a reality. Try downloading Revision Buddies or Gojimo off the App or Google Play Store to start revising GCSE music topics ASAP!
  • Youtube Channels: very instructional and beneficial for visual learners, reputable Youtube channels such as Baines Music feature essential GCSE music subject information.

In conclusion, we are confident that all the information in today's article has led you to make a fantastic decision to study a GCSE or A-Level music programme. The experiences you'll have will last a lifetime of happiness!

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