GCSE Music Course Online

The OCR GCSE Music qualification provides a contemporary, accessible, and creative education in music with an integrated approach to the three main elements – performing, composing, and appraising.


The OCR GCSE Music qualification is designed to appeal to, and cater for a wide range of interests, instruments, personalities and directions. The new specification offers a range of opportunities to study diverse and traditional fields, and encourages learners to experiment in their own performing, composing and listening as well as develop interest in and enthusiasm for all aspects of their musical heritage.


The OCR GCSE Music syllabus enables pupils to progress on to A Level Music and/or develop their skills as a performer or composer.


The Teacher

Patrick Gazard: BA Hons, PGCE, LLCM, DipABRSM

Patrick Gazard is a freelance musician and teacher who has been closely involved with music education for over 25 years. He is a former secondary school music teacher, including 12 years as Head of Music in a Performing Arts Specialist school, and has also been the Secondary Curriculum. Excellence Advisor for Buckinghamshire. Patrick is a pianist, singer and percussionist, and is currently the Operational Lead for High Wycombe Music Centre, where he directs three groups:Senior Big Band, Junior Orchestra and Stage Voices. He has taught GCSE and A level music for many years and across a number of different boards both in schools and as a private tutor. He prides himself on his eclectic approach to music, being equally happy in Bach or Bacharach:his specialisms are jazz and musical theatre. Patrick is a multi-award-winning music education author having written three books, the most recent of which, ‘Being a Head of Music: a Survival Guide’,co-written with Jane Werry and David Ashworth, was awarded ‘Best Music Education Product of the Year' at the Music Teacher Awards for Excellence 2018. He is also a professional composer and arranger, currently working for Glee Club UK as a vocal and track arranger. Patrick is based in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and is married with two teenage children.

Course Overview

  • Entry Requirements: 10 years or over, No previous music qualifications required. Enthusiastic beginners are welcome but must agree to learning to play an instrument or learning to sing alongside this course as musical performance is a key part of the course. This is available online too and we can arrange this for you.. Also students will need to purchase the textbook before attending lessons - click here to purchase.
  • Programme 2 years: available all year around - enroling now.
  • Technical Requirements: broadband connection / Instrument or other means of performance (sequencer, decks,voice etc.). 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• reliable broadband connection.
  • Progression: to A Level Music
  • Accreditation: Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR).
  • Tuition: 2 x LIVE weekly lessons, marking and feedback, exam preparation and lots of friendly advice and encouragement

How it works

Students receive access to their own online studio where they can work through their course. Units and assignments are listed along with supporting resources, video tutorials for skills development, step by step guides etc. Audio, video and Word files of students' completed work are uploaded to their college e portfolio for assessment and constructive, friendly written feedback on how to progress is provided. Students are invited to attend two LIVE interactive online lessons at timetabled times - currently Mondays and Thursdays 11.30am to 12.30pm. If students can't make the lessons they can watch them in their own time so they won't miss any of the course content. The teacher is available for feedback via email (and sometimes Skype). Students are invited to discuss their progress and receive face to face verbal feedback, encouragement and support. Students may also benefit from relationships with their fellow online students as they can view profiles and comment on each others work if they wish.



Two compositions are required - one of the candidate's own choice and another to a brief released by the exam board on September 1st of the year the candidate is to take their assessment. Compositions need to be submitted as a recording accompanied by a score, lead sheet, or written account. This recording can be done live (carried out by the student and accompanied by other musicians if necessary, who do not need to be following the course) or electronically produced (for which there is plenty of free or cheap software available).



Performances must total a minimum of 4 minutes including at least 1 minute of ensemble work. Ideally, students study these pieces with their instrumental teachers with guidance by their GCSE music teacher on piece selection. For those students without teachers, we are able and happy to provide instruction on performance throughout the course, including regular assessments. All students need to be aware that they will be responsible for finding someone else to perform alongside for the ensemble aspect of the course. This should not be a major issue as instrumental teachers often have other students who could participate in a duo/ trio or the teachers themselves can perform with the candidates (the other performers in the ensemble need not be GCSE candidates). Alternatively, candidates could find people to perform with through their local music centre or even through advertising online. To ensure all the submitted exam performances are the candidates’ own, the teacher will observe over Skype whilst they are recording their performance.


Listening & Appraising

Within classes, students will learn how to aurally analyse each of the musical elements and compositional devices listed within the specification. To help expand the number of pieces studied, students would then apply such analysis to different pieces within the same Area of Study. Allowing for peer review, the teacher may ask students to mark each others work, which would also ensure they are encountering a greater number of pieces.



Homework will be given most lessons, and much of it will be further listening in addition to musical

analysis, composition, and performance practice.



Teacher assessments are continuous during the live taught lessons, monitoring and marking of non-exam assessments, and summative tests. Both performance and composition are non-examined assessments. (The teacher has confirmed with OCR that it is acceptable for him to carry out these assessments and sign the authentication forms). The listening & appraising component is externally assessed at the end of the course and thus will need to take place at a centre.


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.


Download Syllabus: Click here.

IMPORTANT Whilst the teacher can provide information and examination support the arrangement of examinations is the responsibility of the student/parents.A list of examination centres is available. Also, students will need to purchase the textbook before attending lessons - click here for information and how to purchase:



Standard Two Year IGCSE just £34.99 GBP x 20 months or single payment of £699 GBP- $927 USD - same fee for international students.


Limited Places

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