This course is designed for all teachers of AQA GCSE Music who wish to ensure the high achievements of their students in AQA GCSE Music. By reflecting on the outcomes of the Summer 2018 examinations and providing tried and tested teaching approaches and techniques, the course aims to help teachers raise attainment in students of all abilities and experience by improving confidence, knowledge and a stronger understanding of what examiners are looking for.


  • Develop your understanding of strengths and areas for improvement in AQA GCSE Music through feedback on 2018 exams
  • Take away strategies for developing students’ understanding of examination questions and subject content
  • Increase understanding of what is required of performing and composing coursework to enable all students to achieve their potential
  • Develop a greater understanding of the mark schemes and how to use them in your teaching to motivate and push students
COURSE DATE London Wednesday 03 July 2019
  • Leaders of Music Departments
  • Teachers of AQA GCSE Music
  • Teachers new to AQA GCSE Music
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
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues


10.00 – 10.40am
The key messages from the 2018 examinations

  • Feedback from 2018 – what key issues and successes did the examiners raise and how can we integrate that into our teaching
  • What does a grade 5, 7 and 9 student ‘look’ like from an examiners’ perspective
  • Setting the appropriate standard from the start – how to motivate students to succeed
  • Integrating performing, composing and listening skills

10.40 – 11.30am
Component 2: Performing

  • Don’t just play, perform! Strategies to shape a musical performance
  • Interpreting the Assessment Criteria to access the highest marks
  • Playing to a student’s strengths and problem solving
  • Approaches to developing performing skills – A performance plan of action

11.30 – 11.50am
Discussion: coffee break

11.50 – 12.40pm
Component 3: Composing

  • Approaches to composition – teaching and learning techniques
  • Exam criteria, originality and creating a balance
  • Playing to a student’s strengths and problem solving
  • Choosing musical elements to highlight the strengths of composition and maximise marks
  • Creating and composing to a brief – audience, occasion, purpose

12.40 – 1.40pm
Lunch and informal discussion

1.40 – 2.55pm
Component 1: Listening and Appraising

  • Why vocabulary is key to answering the listening questions
  • Identifying the necessary key skills and knowledge for success
  • Tackling dictation – practical strategies to improve aural skills
  • Contextual knowledge for the Areas of Study
  • Engaging with the set works; helping students to analyse and retain the musical features
  • Interpreting the extended questions and achieving the top marks

2.55 – 3.15pm
Discussion: afternoon tea

3.15 – 3.45pm
Planning for Success and Plenary

  • Making revision effective – practical strategies that work
  • Knowledge is power– developing memory skills and retaining information
  • Diagnose, Therapy, Test – Intervention to support weaker students
  • Instilling independence and developing the more able
  • Reflection

Rachel Tustain

Rachel is an experienced examiner and Leader of Music, with seventeen years teaching and leadership experience in a range of different schools. Rachel has experience of leading outstanding Music Departments in a range of contexts as well as leadership across the Performing Arts. She has experience in teaching KS4 cohorts from 7 students to over 50, with exam results consistently excellent including 100% grade 4+ and 54% achieving grades 8 and 9 in Summer 2018. A level results are equally impressive; 100% grade C and above in 2018. Rachel is also a Principal Examiner and Subject Adviser for one of the main examining boards, and has been involved with CPD for teachers for several years.

View all courses led by Rachel Tustain >