GCSE, AS and A level Music Difficulty Levels ... - Edexcel - Pearson

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GCSE, AS and A level Music Difficulty Levels Booklet

Pearson Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9 - 1) in Music (1MU0) Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Advanced Subsidiary GCE in Music (8MU0) Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Advanced GCE in Music (9MU0) First teaching from September 2016 First certification from 2017 (AS) 2018 (GCSE and A level)

Issue 1

Contents Introduction


Difficulty Levels




















Voice (popular)


Guitar (classical)


Guitar (popular)


Electronic keyboard


Drum kit


Bass Guitar




Introduction This guide relates to the Pearson Edexcel Level 1/Level 2 GCSE (9-1) in Music (1MU0), Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Advanced Subsidiary GCE in Music (8MU0) and Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Advanced GCE in Music (9MU0) qualifications for first teaching from 2016. This guide must be read and used in conjunction with the relevant specifications. The music listed in this guide is designed to help students, teachers, moderators and examiners accurately judge the difficulty level of music submitted for the Performing components of the Pearson Edexcel GCSE, AS and A level Music qualifications. Examples of solo pieces are provided for the most commonly presented instruments across the full range of levels.

Using these difficulty levels For GCSE, teachers will need to use the book to determine the difficulty level(s) of piece(s) performed and apply these when marking performances. For AS and A Level, this book can be used as a guide to assist in choosing pieces to perform, as performances are externally marked.

Solo performances This guide contains grade levels for some of the more common solo pieces likely to be offered on instruments frequently presented for examination. ‘9’ is used as a difficulty level indicator for pieces on Advanced Certificate or Diploma syllabuses.

Where an instrument is not covered by this list, the relevant graded exam syllabuses can be consulted. These are freely available online. Students can select pieces to perform that are not listed in this guide or listed for any graded music examination. In these instances, the difficulty level of the piece is decided by comparing the music performed with the examples provided in this guide. This applies to performances from a score, improvisations or realisations.

Ensemble performances Specific examples of difficulty levels for ensemble performances are not provided in this booklet. In all cases the difficulty level for ensemble performances must be decided by directly comparing the student’s part with the examples for solo performances provided and looking for an equivalent level.

Other types of performances Where instruments other than those listed in this guide are presented, the difficulty level will be assessed at a comparable level of demand, including performances where there is no tradition of graded examinations for the instrument presented. Guidance on determining difficulty levels for these types of performances can be found in the GCSE, AS and A Level Specifications.

P ears on E dexcel GCSE, A S and A L evel M usic D ifficulty L evels Booklet – I s s ue 1 - D ec ember 2 015 © P earson E ducation L imited 2 015


Applying difficulty levels Pearson uses three difficulty levels across GCSE, AS and A level performances: less difficult, standard and more difficult. Difficulty level grids are provided in the specification for each qualification. For the purposes