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Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Music Performance

Music at WHGS involves developing your knowledge and understanding of the music industry and, what it is to be a popular musician within the creative arts. While performance, composition and appraising and listening skills are at the heart of this course, you will also study professional practice, modern-day scenarios working in the music industry.

You will explore performance and composition techniques and look at a ways to explore and push you creative ideas by using the recording studio and iMacs (a choice of Sibelius or Logic Pro X), as guided by the classroom teacher and sound technician.

You will get the opportunity to access a suite of practice rooms during curriculum time to develop individual rehearsal practice techniques with the support of your classroom teacher and specialized Peripatetic’s.

All sections of the course are supported throughout with musical theory, analysis, and critical listening exercises in order to aid study throughout.

Music follows a two-year linear format building and embedding on your skills throughout.

AS Content:

Unit 1: Practical Music Theory and Harmony (Mandatory) 90 Guided Learning Hours

In this unit you will learn the basics of harmony and theory and their importance when composing or performing. You will produce:

  • 1/A – An essay, presentation or video on staff notation and alternative forms of notation
  • 1/B – A portfolio of three melodies written over given chord sequences
  • 1/C – Three harmonisations of different given melodies
  • 1/D – A complete rearrangement of a given piece of vocal music, featuring at least two transposing instruments – both notation and recording. It should also be arranged in at least one other key.

Unit 2: Professional Practice in the Music Industry (Mandatory) 90 Guided Learning Hours

In this unit you will learn about and be given different scenarios as a ‘music event manager’ working in the music industry. In the final examination period given the exam board brief, you will produce:

  • Activity 1 – A project plan for the given scenario (PPT or Doc)
  • Activity 2 – A budget (Spreadsheet)
  • Activity 3 – A rationale (Doc)
  • Activity 4 – A presentation/pitch (PPT with notes)

A2 Content:  

Unit 3: Ensemble Music Performance (Mandatory) 120 Guided Learning Hours

In this unit you will learn through practice, rehearsal, and performance how to improve your general musicianship and performance skills working within an ensemble setting. In the final examination period given the exam board brief, you will produce:

  • Overall – Performance of three songs, rearranged to a different style from the original
  • Activity 1 – A video recording (8-10 minutes) of an individual contribution to a group rehearsal
  • Activity 2 – A video recording (3-5 minutes) of a rehearsal debriefing to a teacher
  • Activity 3 – Video recording of a group performance of three songs (repertoire provided)
  • Activity 4 – Video recording detailing the individual’s contribution to one of the pieces
  • Activity 5 – A written review of the performance

Unit 4 or Unit 6: Composing Music / Performing Music respectively (Optional) 60 Guided Learning Hours
Depending on the final unit picked you will either compose music or perform music to a brief.


  • Unit 1: Practical Music Theory and Harmony (Mandatory) - Internal Assessment Externally Moderated
  • Unit 2: Professional Practice in the Music Industry (Completed during an assessment window over 8 hours in the summer term of Year 12) (Mandatory) - External Examination
  • Unit 3: Ensemble Music Performance (Completed during an assessment window of 2 weeks in the summer term of Year 13) (Mandatory) - External Examination
  • Unit 4 or 6: Composing Music/Performing Music (Optional) - Internal Assessment Externally Moderated


The Music Department is equipped with two main teaching spaces, one including a suite of iMacs (using Sibelius and Logic Pro X), five practice spaces, a control and live recording room. We also have a team of specialised instrumental staff in place as well as an expert sound / AV technician. 1:1 Instrumental and vocal lessons are heavily subsidized by the school.


Many concerts and events take place during the school year in school, in the local community and as part of United Learning National Events. Ensembles include a fusion band playing a mix of soul, Cuban styles among many more as well as a upper school vocal group. Both are run by specialist music staff.

Close links have been formed with One Education, Brighter Sounds, Manchester Camerata, Hallé and Bridgewater Hall as well as Royal Northern College of Music, Access and Aspire Studios.

Future Careers

This course is suitable for:

  • Students who wish to undertake further studies in music or music technology in further education.
  • Students who are looking to take up careers for which a music / creative background is relevant. These might include Performance, Recording and Technical roles, Management and promotion, Media or follow a pedagogical / teaching route.
  • Students who have an interest in and aptitude or the subject, but who do not intend to take the subject beyond AS or A-Level.

The school is part of United Learning. United Learning comprises: UCST (Registered in England No: 2780748. Charity No. 1016538) and ULT (Registered in England No. 4439859. An Exempt Charity). Companies limited by guarantee. VAT number 834 8515 12.
Registered address: United Learning, Worldwide House, Thorpe Wood, Peterborough, PE3 6SB. Tel: 01832 864 444

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