This course aims to demonstrate practically a range of innovatory and engaging techniques for teaching aspects of GCSE Music that will cater for the more able. The course covers all examination boards and focuses on the outstanding teaching and subsequent learning than can take place. Starting with the bigger picture of a two year GCSE course, it will explore the strands of performing, composing and listening to show that an exciting and integrated course is possible for able students. It will also explore how to develop composing skills in the reluctant and more adventurous composer, and how to challenge their musical skills to ensure they feel stretched by the requirements of GCSE Music.


  • Practical strategies at helping able pupils generate compositions and push them towards the higher grades
  • Effective approaches at developing and enhancing listening skills that ensure success in the examinations
  • An understanding of how to support students in stretching their performances to the higher marks


COURSE DATE London Monday 17 December 2018
  • All teachers of GCSE Music
  • Heads of Music
  • NQTs
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 – 11.00am: Top performing

  • Exploring how to apply the mark schemes effectively
  • Investigating how to encourage authoritative interpretations through analysis and study of context
  • Refining ensemble skills and facilitating ownership in rehearsing for able musicians

11.00 – 11.15am: Discussion: coffee break


11.15 – 11.45am: Getting started with composing

  • Stunning starters for the start of your GCSE group
  • Techniques, skills, activities, games, etc which stimulate and start developing the skills students need
  • Ideas, approaches which kick start creative thinking
  • Integrating listening, and performing with early approaches – a range of ideas
  • Practical activities you can try with classes to generate initial material

11.45 – 1.00pm: Moving from ‘good’ to ‘outstanding’ in GCSE composing

  • Strategies, and techniques to move from initial ideas to larger passages of music, encouraging an ambitious approach to structure and the brief
  • How to exploit musical elements to produce compositions that can attain 7 – 9 particularly with regards to harmony
  • Effective practical activities that work in class as well as for individuals, stretching the musical skills of the more advanced musicians

1.00 – 2.00pm: Lunch and informal discussion


2.00 – 3.00pm: Enhancing high level listening and appraising skills

  • Embedding challenge for the high flyer in your listening and appraising lessons – strategies, activities, engaging ideas
  • Approaches to refining appropriate terminology and ensuring succinct accurate responses
  • Effective listening activities in class and practical strategies to integrate with other activities including composition and performance
  • Approaches on how to teach set works with rigour and excitement for advanced musicians

3.00 – 3.10pm: Discussion: afternoon tea


3.10 – 3.40pm: Preparing Students for examination

  • Achieving those top marks – A/A* – 10 top tips
  • How to encourage self-reflection as students prepare for the examination
  • Tackling typical examination questions at GCSE – avoiding mistakes and maximising marks

Steven Berryman

Steven Berryman is Director of Music at City of London School for Girls and a Visiting Research Fellow in the School of Education, Communication & Society at King’s College London (2017 – 2019). He previously taught at the North London Collegiate School and the Junior Department of the Royal Academy of Music. Steven has examined and moderated for GCSE and A-level Music, and contributed composition chapters to two study guides for Rhinegold Education and a chapter for an edited volume from Routledge (2016). He has been a Teach Through Music Fellow and a Teacher Advocate for Music Excellence London, in addition to education projects with the Learning Departments of the Royal Opera House, London Philharmonic Orchestra, and NMC Recordings.

Steven studied composition at Royal Holloway (London) and Cardiff University, gaining a PhD in 2010. ‘Cypher’ (2010) was selected by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales for performance in their Welsh Composers Showcase and was performed by the orchestra in 2011, conducted by Jan Van Steen at BBC Hoddinott Hall, Cardiff Bay. He has gone to write works performed in London, most recently in September 2016 LSO Community Choir and students from City of London School for Girls performed Steven’s ‘O Come Let Us Sing’ as part of ‘Old Street New Beginnings’, celebrating fifty years since the joining of the St. Luke’s and St. Giles’ parishes. Steven is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art and a Freeman of both of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and the Worshipful Company of Educators. You can read more about his work at www.steven-berryman.com