Upper School IGCSEs
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.
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
September – July (Rolling enrolment throughout the year
- A strong and reliable Wi-Fi connection
Your chosen instrument(s)
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)
Manuscript paper and music software for recording composition and producing a written account
About The Teacher
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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