This new course will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve Grades 7 and 9 in future Pearson/Edexcel GCSE Music examinations – led by our highly respected and successful presenter Michael Lamb.

The course will guide you through exam, and specification information as well as teaching and learning ideas for performance, composition and listening & appraising components with the aim of allowing able students to develop their top end knowledge and musical skills.

Using feedback from 2018 and 2019 examinations, the course will explore what is expected of high ability students and outline ways to build your teaching practice to provide stretch and challenge.


  • Increase understanding of what is required in the three components to enable top level students to achieve their potential
  • How to guide your students to high grade qualification performance through feedback on 2018 and 2019 exams
  • Take away practical examples of how to ensure high level skills teaching into the classroom
  • Take away strategies for developing candidates’ of applying accurate knowledge in examination questions
  • Develop a greater understanding of the mark schemes and exam specifications, and how to use them in your teaching to motivate and push higher ability students
COURSE DATE Online | Friday 23 April 2021
Online | Friday 18 June 2021
  • All teachers of Pearson/Edexcel GCSE Music
  • Heads of Music
  • Those who line manage music departments
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


10.00 – 10.45am
Grades 8 and 9 – what do they involve for 2020?

  • Feedback and grading analysis from the 2019 exams and what this tells us
  • Analysis of the mark schemes and examiners reports – what are the examiners looking for?
  • Key areas of the specification which draw out higher achieving students: how to focus on these and boost student understanding and quality of responses

10.45 – 11.15am
Unit 3 – Listening questions (Q1-6) – Specification and marking application and guidance

  • Approaches to tackling Unit 3 – what the spec suggests and which it actually means!
  • Effectively utilising the levels based approach to marking – how this help us teach and pupils learn
  • What are the common types of questions and how to approach them for maximum marks

11.15 – 11.30am
Discussion: coffee break

11.30 – 12.45pm
Unit 3 – Listening & Appraising Responses

  • Analysing listening questions: where is a grade 8 – 9 achieved or lost?
  • Building extended vocabulary use in set work, unfamiliar listening questions, and extended responses.
  • Unfamiliar listening and comparison questions
  • Embedding wider listening and contextual understanding into responses
  • Question 9 extended responses –what makes extended writing strong? How can we build up to this?
  • Examples response, the end game

12.45 – 1.45pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.45 – 2.50pm
Unit 2 – Teaching Composing To Ensure Grade 7 – 9 compositions

  • Analysis of exemplar Grade 7 – 9 free and set brief student compositions
  • Teaching compositional technique that provide opportunities to stretch your top students, and achieving GCSE compositions with a convincing sense of wholeness
  • Developing personal responses to set briefs and avoiding the predictable, whilst still attracting top marks

2.50 – 3.00pm
Discussion: afternoon tea

3.00 – 3.30pm
Unit 1 – Performing

  • What do assessors require for students to score high marks?
  • How to develop musicality through examination
  • Ensuring your students know examiners will be expecting from a grade 8 – 9 performance
  • Stretch and challenge for high achieving, high ability students in performance

3.30 – 3.40pm
Exams and Exam Tactics/ Summary/ Depart

  • What does a grade 8 – 9 candidate need to do?
  • Section B (familiar listening, dictation and unfamiliar) – what does a grade 8 – 9 candidate need to do?
  • In classroom – stretching the most able
  • Revision ideas for ensuring full knowledge of the areas of study
  • Composing and performing ideas to fine tune top end marks

Michael Lamb

Michael is an experienced Head of Music currently teaching in the thriving music department at Framwellgate School 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 directs of both theatrical and orchestral projects. Michael is also the producer of several high profile music education projects, workshops and seminars in the North of England.

View all courses led by Michael Lamb >