Upper School IGCSEs
Music Online


Cambridge Upper School’s OCR Music GCSE course is designed to equip young musicians with the theoretical foundation, skills, and confidence they need to succeed. Our MA/PhD qualified teachers help students become capable of understanding, composing, and performing music.

We have a strong focus on ensuring that each student’s creative passion is understood and satiated. Students have unique musical interests and capabilities. Our teachers understand their preferences and capabilities, and use the right approach accordingly. We encourage individualised emotional and aesthetic development, enabling students to develop their own creative style and musical persona. Students also learn the importance of practicing self-discipline as young musicians.

We teach a range of different musical styles, placing great emphasis on their cultural and historical context. Students learn how to listen to music more perceptively, critically, and assiduously. This, in turn, helps them become stronger musicians. While the large majority of the syllabus focuses on Western European music, students also get a taste of music across different cultures.


We offer a range of assessments during our live lessons. These include summative tests, worksheets, pop quizzes, group activities, and more. Using these assignments, our teachers assess each student’s skills and knowledge.


Homework is given at the end of each week. Students get a chance to polish their skills and cover more ground. We plan homework around a range of different topics and subtopics, taking special care to cover everything in the syllabus.


Parents are given 24/7 access to their children’s coursework. We also maintain an open line of communication between parents and teachers to ensure complete transparency. Additionally, we hold 3 parent-teacher consultations each year, one in every term. Parents can also set up consultations with teachers at mutually convenient times.

Course Outline

The course follows the current OCR J536 GCSE specification. It’s based on the textbook recommended for the OCR GCSE (please take a closer look at the details shared below before attending your first class).

The OCR J536 GCSE specification is well-regarded among some of the leading colleges and universities today. It stands out for its integrated structure, enabling learners to understand the interconnection of IGCSE Music practice and appreciation. Students develop a firm, secure foundation that enables them to progress to A Level and beyond with greater adroitness.

GCSE Music is split into three essential components

Integrated Portfolio (30% of the grade) including:

  • Performance on the learner’s chosen instrument
  • Composition to a brief set by the learner

Practical Component (30% of the grade) including:

  • Ensemble performance
  • Composition to a board-set brief

Listening Exam (40% of the grade) testing:

  • Listening and appraisal skills related to four areas of study

  • Negotiation skills

Start Date

  • September – July (Rolling enrolment throughout the year


Technical Requirements

  1.  A strong and reliable Wi-Fi connection
  2. Your chosen instrument(s)

  3. A smartphone or tablet to record performances (any other device with the recording function will suffice, but a high-quality microphone or recording device is preferable)

  4. Manuscript paper and music software for recording composition and producing a written account


Students progress from IGCSE Music to A Level Music. Our students secure top grades and master their skills at the IGCSE stage, which helps them perform even better in A Levels. As they continue to practice and further fine-tune their skills, they achieve a level of mastery. Students attend some of the most prestigious universities to develop and showcase their talent.


Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR)


Two live weekly sessions, one hour each. Students receive timely, detailed feedback from their teachers. This helps them prepare exceptionally well for their exams and further hone their theoretical and practical skills.


Parents shoulder the responsibility of arranging their child’s IGCSE examinations at their local registered examination centre. At Cambridge Home School Online, we teach students from different countries across the globe. It’s not practical for our school to manage each student’s local exam registration or offer a single venue for students to sit their examinations. We presently have students from the UK, Europe, Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Keeping this geographical diverseness in mind, we are not registered with Cambridge International Examinations. However, we have partnered with numerous examination centres registered with CIE, OCR, Edexcel, and AQA. We also help students find a suitable venue to sit their written and practical examinations. We understand that this process isn’t easy and often requires external support. Students can approach us for any registration-related questions and problems they may have. Our teachers provide complete support and assistance.

Recommended Textbook

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

About The Teacher

Mr. Gazard

Mr. Gazard is a 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.

Mr. Gazard is a pianist, singer and percussionist, and is currently the Curriculum Lead for Buckinghamshire Music Trust, responsible for developing A Level Music Teaching online to schools in the county and beyond and writing the course for the ABRSM Certificate of Music Education.

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.

Mr. Gazard is an award-winning music education author having written three books, the most recent of which, ’Being a Head of Music: a Survival Guide’, won ‘Best Music Education Product’ at the Music Teacher Magazine Awards for Excellence in 2018.

He is also a professional composer and arranger, currently working for Glee Club UK as a vocal and track arranger, and has recently started a new role as presenter of The Jazz Hour on his local community radio station Wycombe Sound.

Mr. Gazard is based in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and is married with two children.

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