This NEW conference, designed for students studying any of the 4 exam boards (AQA, EdExcel, OCR or Eduqas), aims to inspire, extend and consolidate students’ learning in listening, composing and performing. With practical activities, interactive sessions and supported writing opportunities, we will develop students’ confidence in navigating the wide demands of the GCSE specification. Throughout the day, students will take part in exciting sessions, all directly linked to the assessments.

There will also be LIVE performances, opportunity to ask questions direct to the examiner conference leaders. All students will take home a revision pack especially put together by the examiners.


  • A new conference for 2020, new speakers, LIVE student performances
  • Fully interactive day, engaging, informative; the specification brought to life in engaging sessions
  • Gain first hand guidance and crucial insight from teaching experts
  • Expert guidance from examiners on improving performance in the exam papers, performances and composing components.
  • Take away a new set of notes which give excellent revision advice and demonstrate the levels required for success

Interested in performing at this conference?

If you would like your students to participate in this conference, we would be very pleased to hear from you. Please email online@keynote.org.uk to register your interest.

DATE & LOCATION London | Monday 25 January 2021
Manchester | Friday 12 February 2021
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Conference




10.25 – 10.30am
Welcome and introduction

  • Quick fire questions and motivational action

10.30 – 11.10am
Achieving in The Listening Paper

  • The importance of vocabulary – how to revise to apply the correct technical term
  • Process of recognizing and applying musical terms
  • Key listening skills essential for success and how to practice these
  • The Comparison question – assessing the differences and writing about it well
  • Achieving maximum marks for contextual questions
  • Every mark counts! Strategies to achieve highly on the listening questions

11.10 – 11.15am
Ask the examiners  – your questions answered

11.15 – 11.35am
Morning Break

  • Submit your questions to the experts

11.35 – 12.20pm
Listening Paper: Extended Responses

  • How to answer questions well:

Evaluate how effectively the composer uses orchestration and tonality in this question.’

  • Dissecting a response that gets the grade 8/9
  • What the examiner is looking for in the detail? Think like an examiner
  • What sort of questions might come up in the exam?
  • How to really understand and analyse familiar and unfamiliar music
  • Skeleton scores – techniques and tips on how to get the best use
  • Examples of Grades 4/5 and Grades 8/9 responses, student activity

12.20 – 1.00pm
Composing to a Brief

  • What types of brief could be expected – examples from the exam boards
  • Two different example briefs – different interpretations, meeting the brief and also hitting the assessment criteria
  • Staying on brief – developing and recycling ideas effectively
  • What counts as a good composition to a brief? how to response successfully
  • Exploring examples of creating imaginative melodies, with strong shape and direction
  • Exploring how to create atmosphere, moods and characters
  • Exploring how to achieve musical development and contrast
  • Be the examiner – students to assess and evaluate successful example responses to exam briefs

1.00 – 1.30pm

1.30  – 1.40pm
LIVE Student Performance!

If you would like your students to perform in the conference, please call Keynote on 01625 532974

1.40  – 1.50pm
Question Box:

A prize is awarded for the best questions

1.50 – 2.30pm: Composing: Free Composition

  • Overcoming barriers to the identitkit composition – how to genuinely compose freely –
  • Demonstration using two Free Compositions –ideas that have been developed, sophisticated understanding of composition, good techniques, good fine tuning.
  • Using the mark schemes, assessing the compositions and why specific technical and musical details got the marks they did
  • Student activity – be the examiner and mark a composition
  • Analysis – examples of grade 4/5 composition, grade 8/9 composition and a grade 6/ 7 composition that just missed a very high mark; what can enhance a composition to achieve a grade 8/9? )

2.30 – 3.00pm
Performance: Solo

  • ‘Don’t just play – perform! – how to bring your performance to life and play musically
  • What is the difference between a grade 4/5 performance and a grade 8/9 performance? Using the mark schemes and assessment criteria.  – hear and compare a variety of performing examples
  • Student opportunity to ‘be the examiner’ and use the assessment criteria to mark a performance
  • How to play the exam ‘game’ and ensure success – top tips

3.00 – 3.15pm
Performance: Ensemble

  • What makes a successful ensemble? What counts as a successful ensemble?

Demonstration – short extracts 30 seconds each of two or three successful ensembles demonstrating genuine ensemble playing

  • What does the examiner look for in an ensemble
  • Examples of grades 8/9 ensemble and grade 4/5 ensemble

3.15 – 3.25pm
Final top tips and LIVE Student Performance:

  • Key points from each of the presenters
  • Action Plan – how students can take action after today to improve their grade

Rachel Tustain

Rachel is an experienced Senior Examiner and Subject Adviser for a major awarding body and Leader of Music. Rachel has experience of leading outstanding Music Departments in a range of contexts as well as leadership across the Performing Arts. Her students achieve impressive examination results, including 100% gaining Grade 4+ and 54% gaining grades 8 and 9 in summer 2018.

Michael Lamb

Michael Lamb is an experienced Head of Music currently teaching in a thriving music department  in Durham. His varied portfolio has seen his work as Director of Music in a Newcastle secondary, and as an active musician across the UK specialising in jazz performance and musical director of both theatrical and orchestral projects and several high profile music education projects, workshops and seminars in the North of England.

Students £25+VAT

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