IB Music Course

What will you do on this course?

Music is a five term course, during which 2 musical scores are studied in depth at both Standard and Higher Levels. Students will study and analyse all areas of Western Classical Music from 1550-present, Jazz in all its forms and World Music, including the musical cultures of China, Japan, Latin America and Australia. Depending on the chosen level, students will also be expected to perform and compose music.

How will you be assessed?

Both Standard Level (SL) and Higher Level (HL) music students are required to study musical perception. All students therefore submit a musical links investigation and also respond to a listening examination paper. In the latter, HL students are required to answer an additional question. This question allows them to demonstrate a wider understanding of music in relation to time, place and cultures.

SL students in music are required to choose one of three options: • SL creating (SLC) • SL solo performing (SLS) • SL group performing (SLG). HL students are required to present both creating and solo performing. This is a significant difference in expectation and enables HL students to bring to their musical studies a wider perspective. The study of three components in an integrated way allows HL students to make not only more connections but, potentially, these connections may carry more importance and have more influence during their musical studies. For creating, SLC students are required to present two pieces of coursework, while HL students present three. This allows HL students to present work that either demonstrates contrasts  in content, nature and intention or comes from a wider, and therefore more challenging, choice of creating options. For solo performing, SLS students are required to present 15 minutes, while HL students present 20 minutes. This challenges HL students to present a performing programme that features more music of a contrasting nature. For those students (SLG) presenting group performing, the requirement is 20–30 minutes.

All performances and compositions are assessed internally • Musical Links Investigation is assessed externally • One written examination paper

What could this course lead to?

An IB course in Music can lead to work as a performer, arranger, producer, orchestrator, composer, film scorer, songwriter, transcriber, copyist, conductor, music director, programme director, recording engineer, music synthesist, music sequencer, publisher, editor, broadcaster, music therapist…


A GCSE (or equivalent) in Music and/or grade 7 pass or above in a recognised musical examination board (e.g. ABRSM or Trinity College London) in the primary instrument/voice.