The aim of this student conference, new for 2018, is to provide students with practical, engaging and motivating study day for the GCSE Music examinations’ first assessment in 2018. Throughout the day, students will work with examiners and practitioners with a focus on improving their grades. The conference will be suitable for Year 10 and Year 11 students, and will have a running focus around how to improve grades. The conference has been designed to be of benefit for students of all major GCSE Music examining boards. It will be generic enough to be relevant to everyone all the time, but specific enough that students can apply ideas directly to their own courses.


  • A unique, interactive GCSE Music conference with LIVE student performances
  • Gain first hand advice and guidance from GCSE Music examiners and expert practitioners
  • Take part in question and answer sessions
  • Gain top advice on how to improve your grades
  • Benefit from sessions on performing, composing and listening/appraising
  • Take away a full set of revision notes and lots of key ideas and tips


CONFERENCE DATES London Thursday 18 January 2018
Manchester Thursday 08 February 2018
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course



10.30 – 10.40am: LIVE Performance and Introduction

  • Understanding how to achieve your very best in performance
  • What makes the difference between one grade and the next?
  • Identifying your strengths and knowing which areas to focus on for improvement

10.40 – 11.20am: Getting Ready for the Listening Paper

  • Listening with your brain – how to get under the skin of a piece of music, familiar or unfamiliar
  • Thinking like a composer when you listen – relating what you know to what you don’t know
  • How to get the best marks with the fewest words – unpicking GCSE listening questions
  • Thinking like an examiner – what are they actually looking for?
  • STUDENT ACTIVITIES – working together to come up with a top grade answer
  • Understanding how examiners mark your answers

11.20 – 11.35am: Morning break


11.35 – 12.20pm: Achieving Well in Composition

  • Composing great music without all the necessary experience
  • Examples of excellent and not so excellent compositions

LIVE composer performance and demonstration

  • Demonstrate on how to move existing compositions up one or even two grades
  • Finishing touches and presentation
  • How to enjoy composition
  • STUDENT ACTIVITIES: assessing and marking compositions, working in pairs

12.20 – 12.50pm: Extended answers

  • How to plan a successful ‘essay’ answers
  • Building up your musical vocabulary
  • Learning from examples of excellent responses, and less successful responses
  • How to prepare for extended response questions – what’s the best way to revise?

12.50 – 1.40pm: Lunch


1.40 – 1.50pm: LIVE Student Performance

* If you would like your pupils to perform in the conference, please state this when making your booking.


1.50 – 2.00pm: Question Box

  • Chaired by Simon Rushby, with all presenters. A chance to ask direct questions to all speakers with a prize awarded for the best question

2.00 – 2.35pm: Performance – What makes a good performance?

  • LIVE: What makes a good performance? Interactive live demo with performers
  • How do you cope with nerves? How do you get the best out of yourself?
  • How do you use your strengths to your advantage?
  • EXAMINER ADVICE: top advice on what the examiner is looking for to access the top grades

2.35 – 3.05pm: Learning from songwriters

  • Songwriting is for everyone
  • What makes a successful song, and how could you compose one?
  • Simplicity is key – how the best songs are often the most simple ones
  • Anatomy of a song – example of a good song and a bad song

3.05 – 3.15pm: Final Top Tips

  • KEY POINTS from each of the presenters
  • ACTION PLAN: how to improve your final grade

* At the time of booking, schools may submit pupils who wish to perform at the conference and receive feedback from the speakers

Richard Bristow

Director of Music at a leading school in London, highly experienced as an examiner at A level, and is a co–author for the new A Level Music revision books published by Rhinegold.

Simon Rushby

Former Director of Music and Assistant Head from a school rated ‘Exceptional’ by ISI, writer of A Level resources for Rhinegold, A Level and ABRSM examiner, performer and songwriter.

Emma Sees

Experienced Head of Creative Arts, Head of Music and GCSE Music examiner for a major awarding body.

Students £25+VAT

One free teacher place for every 10 student places
Additional teachers £35+VAT
Individual teachers £80+VAT