Upper School (IGCSEs)

Online GCSE Music


Our OCR Music GCSE course is a harmonious blend of inspiration and skill-building, designed to cultivate the next generation of musicians. This GCSE course is comprehensive, covering a wide range of musical styles and techniques. It develops students’ confidence, skills, and understanding of music to a level where they can seamlessly progress to study A Level Music. Note that this is a GCSE course and not an IGCSE Music Online course, which means it’s suited for students based in the UK or those willing to sit exams in the UK.

Homework, Assessment and Reporting

In this GCSE Music course, students in the Upper School are expected to complete at least one piece of homework per subject every fortnight in Level 3 and weekly in Level 4. The key to success in Upper School, and particularly in this music course, is revising notes regularly to consolidate learning. Students are encouraged to create revision cards and notes for each topic as they navigate through the syllabus, ensuring they are well-prepared for their final exams at the end of the two-year GCSE journey.

Internal assessments for this GCSE Music course are conducted in June for Level 3 and in November and March for Level 4. Comprehensive reports are released at the end of the Autumn and Summer terms for Level 3, and following the mock assessments in the Autumn and Spring terms for Level 4. These reports include grades for both attainment and effort in each subject, along with insightful comments from Success Coaches and the Head Teacher.

We urge parents to utilise their family Teams accounts for maintaining regular dialogue with teachers regarding their child’s progress in this GCSE Music course. This approach affords the unique advantage of more in-depth tracking than what is possible through an annual parent consultation evening.

Click here to see this year’s Assessment and Reporting schedule

The course will follow the current OCR J536 GCSE specification.

The course will be based on the textbook recommended for the OCR GCSE (see below to purchase before attending your first class).

This specification is well-regarded among colleges and universities due to its integrated structure allowing learners to grasp the interconnection of all aspects of Music practice and appreciation, and thereby giving a firm basis from which to springboard into A-level and beyond.

GCSE Music is split into three components:

Integrated Portfolio (30% of the mark) including:

1 Performance on the learner’s chosen instrument.

2 Composition to a brief set by the learner.

Practical Component (30% of the mark) including:

3 Ensemble performance.

4 Composition to a board-set brief.

Listening Exam (40% of the mark) testing:

5 Listening and appraisal skills related to four areas of study.

6 Notation skills.

  • Reliable broadband connection
  • Main instrument / voice
  • Means of recording performances (the recording function on smart phones / tablets should suffice but a microphone or recording device would be even better)
  • Means of recording composition e.g. manuscript paper, music software (notation software / DAW / sequencer, etc.), audio recording accompanied by written account

Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR)

2 x LIVE weekly 1 hour lessons, marking and feedback, exam preparation and lots of friendly advice and encouragement

Parents are responsible for arranging their child’s examinations at their local registered examination centre. Cambridge Home School students study from every part of the globe and so it is not practical for the school to offer a single venue to sit examinations. Consequently, Cambridge Home School is not registered with Cambridge International Examinations. Cambridge Home School has partnerships with examination centres registered with Cambridge International Examinations, Edexcel, OCR, and AQA, and will support students in locating a suitable venue for sitting their written and practical examinations.

OCR GCSE Music Study Guide by Guinane, David, Hanh Doan, and Steven Berryman. Rhinegold Education, 2016.

If you are intending to study A Level Music, we recommend that you spend some time in the summer holidays preparing. Obviously, the best preparation is to practise your instrument, but here are some other suggested activities:


YouTube channel – Inside the Score – to deepen your appreciation of classical and film music

YouTube channel – Listening In – a variety of fantastic video essays on music

YouTube channel – Adam Neely – a collection of video essays, lessons and vlogs

YouTube channel – David Bruce Composer – an interesting and entertaining journey through music

YouTube channel – Rick Beato – producer, composer, audio-engineer and music theorist

YouTube channel – David Bennett Piano – pianist creating interesting and entertaining educational music videos


BBC Sounds – The Listening Service – a journey of imagination and insight, exploring how music works

What is the focus of the online GCSE Music course?

The OCR Music GCSE course aims to cultivate future musicians by enhancing their confidence, skills, and understanding of music. This prepares students to advance to A Level Music studies.

Are there any geographical restrictions for enrolling in the online GCSE Music class?

Yes, the course is a GCSE and not an International GCSE. Therefore, students must either be based in the UK or be prepared to sit exams in the UK to enrol in this course.

How are students assessed in the online GCSE Music course?

Assessments in the online Music GCSE course include Level 3 internal assessments in June and Level 4 internal mock assessments in November and March. Reports are issued at the end of the Autumn and Summer terms for Level 3, and after mock assessments in the Autumn and Spring terms for Level 4.

What are the homework requirements for Music GCSE online?

In Music GCSE online, students are expected to complete a minimum of one homework assignment per fortnight at Level 3, and one each week at Level 4. Revision cards and notes for each topic should be made as study aids to ensure preparedness for the final exams.

What technical requirements are needed for the online IGCSE Music class?

For the online Music GCSE class, you’ll need a reliable broadband connection, a main instrument or voice, a way to record performances and compositions, like smartphones or dedicated recording devices, and music software or manuscript paper.

How to apply

Our school places fill quickly, apply today to avoid dissapointment!

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