IB: Group 6

Music: Higher & Standard Level

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…

GCSEs required

A GCSE (or equivalent) in Music and/or grade 7 in the primary instrument/voice.

What will I be studying?

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.

Are there any trips or extracurricular activities linked to this course?

There will be theatre trips and concert visits arranged throughout the two years of study.

What benefits does this subject have for university entrance?

The Diploma Programme music course provides an appropriate foundation for further study in music at university level or in music career pathways. It also provides an enriching and valuable course of study for students who may pursue other careers. This course also provides all students with the opportunity to engage in the world of music as lifelong participants.

How does the Higher Level differ to the Standard Level?

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. By pursuing both creating and performing, this enables HL students to bring to their musical studies a wider perspective. It also allows them to pursue some work in more depth. 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. This path of study allows HL students the opportunity to engage in music in a more complete way.

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.

Do I have to do coursework?


How is it assessed?

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

Independent day and boarding school for boys and girls aged 3 - 18 in Somerset

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