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AQA GCSE - better than Edexcel?

Discussion in 'Music' started by misssmusic, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. misssmusic

    misssmusic New commenter

    My HoD is thinking about changing our GCSE course form Edexcel to AQA.

    Our pupils are finding the whole 'set works' thing quite challenging. Seems like there is more information than ever for them to have to remember. Ive heard that AQA dont use set works and look more at musical elements in the listening exam?

    If anyone does AQA GCSE I'd love to hear how they get on with it?

    Many thanks
  2. We changed over to AQA and we're just about to enter our first group. So far have really enjoyed the course - it's mostly practical and you can tailor it to suit your students. I saw the set works in the Edexcel and thought it would put the students off. The elements or AoS in the AQA scheme makes sense and applies to all the units they do. I'm not regretting the move at all!!
  3. fuzzycat

    fuzzycat New commenter

    We teach AQA but I've also taught OCR. Much prefer OCR - AQA is far too vague! I find it difficult to structure it and the practice listening exam papers are confusing. OCR teaches elements of certain types of music, eg salsa - AQA doesn't specify what they need to know about the genres on the syllabus (eg 'caribbean music' - which could mean anything!) which I find irritating. I also find it more sensible to do OCR's coursework composition for their own instrument, including having to research it etc - far more useful than AQA's general 'compose with a focus on one of the areas of study eg rhythm and metre' idea. Have a look at OCR!
  4. misssmusic

    misssmusic New commenter

    thanks for the replies, I think I'll have a look into both boards then.
  5. We do OCR. Its a good syllabus my only gripe being its a bit bitty if that makes sense - don't like all the write ups etc they have to do but I didn't like the idea of the set works for my pupils at GCSE (they moan enough about them at A level - we do EDEXCEL fo A level). We have done AQA before but found it to be vague as another person said - OCR much clearer in terms of styles to study I think (saying that I haven't looked at AQA for a couple of years so it could be different with the new spec).
  6. musicismyreligion

    musicismyreligion New commenter

    I agree. I'm teaching Edexcel at the moment and at first it seemed an awful lot to learn but in reality it makes sense to examine them on pieces they are familiar with. Both A Level and the IB do this so progression - wise it also makes sense. We´ll see come results time!!

  7. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I've always thought this to be the most important thing when shopping around for new syllabuses. Applying learnt techniques to unfamiliar music requires an enormous amount of maturity and experience. It's much better to do this with set works, otherwise the most horrendous mistakes can easily appear ("it's fast so it must be major", "it's monophonic so it must be plainsong" etc).
    When I'm AB examining, one of the things I most often notice in higher-grade aural is how poorly even good performers transfer their skills to unfamiliar music. In the final question where candidates are asked to suggest a composer/period for the piece played to them, I sometimes choose an extract by a composer of one of their set works. When (as often occurs) they seem to be entirely at sea, I ask if it reminds them of any of the pieces they have played. Usually it doesn't, but it is not uncommon to hear that an extract of Handel reminds them of Chopin, or something equally unlikely.
    My vote is always for set works over guesswork, I'm afraid.

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