This course is designed for all teachers of Pearson/Edexcel GCSE Music, including those who line manage departments. The course will demonstrate how to guide your students to achieve their maximum potential in the 2020 Listening and Appraising Examination.

The course will practically demonstrate a range of teaching and learning ideas and techniques for teaching Unit 3, approaches to the listening exam, what the examiners are looking for in responses, as well as a focus on how to interpret the specification and marking criteria accurately.


  • Gain strategies to help students accurately describe music in technical terms by using extended vocabulary
  • How to structure the GCSE course for maximum impact and benefit for your students’
  • Take away resources that you can learn in your own teaching
  • Approaches to help students identify harmonic progressions in the prescribed work
  • Mark schemes and exam reports – what examiners are expecting in high level responses
  • Unfamiliar listening questions – strategies and approaches to the challenges
  • The importance of embedding wider listening and context
  • What makes a strong GCSE question 9 response – how to build students up to this
COURSE DATE Online | Friday 26 March 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 – 10.30am
The Listening and Appraising Paper – Reflections and Approaches

  • Feedback from 2018 and 2019 – moving forward to 2020
  • Reflections and approaches, impact on teaching for 2020 examinations
  • How to engage students in the content of the course, and how to maximise their focus on what brings the most reward in examinations
  • Available resources

10.30 – 11.15am
Listening questions (Q1-6) – Specification and marking application guidance

  • Approaches to tackling Unit 3 – what the spec suggests and which it actually means!
  • Question and exam paper structure – understanding to benefit candidates.
  • What are the common common types of questions and how to approach them for maximum marks?
  • Marking responses: applying the mark scheme – what are the examiners looking for in a response and how can they be achieved in the classroom

11.15 – 11.30am
Discussion: coffee break

11.30 – 12.05pm
Listening questions (Q1-6) – Content, responses and teaching

  • Marking responses: applying the mark scheme – what are the examiners looking for in a response and how can they be achieved in the classroom
  • Developing classroom resources and teaching techniques
  • Achieving quality responses – how to help students accurately describe music technically using vocabulary
  • Analysing listening questions – where is a grade 7 – 9 lost?
  • In the classroom – approaches and techniques

12.05 – 12.30pm
Extended writing (Q9) – Approaches in the classroom and the specification

  • Looking at approaches to teaching extended writing for set works and unfamiliar excerpts
  • Looking at the depth of response required at a variety of levels and abilities

12.30 – 1.30pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.30 – 2.30pm
Extended writing (Q9) – Marking, content, responses and teaching

  • Level based approach to marking – making sure students have a firm grasp of how to incorporate AO3 and AO4 into their responses
  • How to move up the levels with a written response and how students can achieve beyond their target
  • Comparison questions – methods to develop students’ ability to compare and contrast different pieces of music
  • Marking exemplar responses, example materials
  • Ways to improve examination responses in Grades 4 – 5 standard students

2.30 – 2.45pm
Discussion: afternoon tea

2.45 – 3.30pm
Dictation (Q7) and unfamiliar listening (Q8)/ Summary

  • Approaches to teaching dictation – how to achieve the maximum on this tricky question
  • Developing high level aural skills in in dictation and harmony
  • Example dictation questions and examiner advice on dictation and how to tackle it
  • The importance of wider listening and how this feeds into unfamiliar unit 3 questions
  • How to prepare students for unfamiliar listening and comparison questions

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 >