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Exam Board: Edexcel Level 3 BTEC National Certificate / Subsidiary Diploma in Music (Performing)



The BTEC level 3 certificate/subsidiary diploma in music with a focus on performing will enable you to advance your performance technique both as a solo artist and an ensemble performer.  The certificate is a one year course and the subsidiary diploma covers two years.  There will be opportunities to research, plan and perform in a number of situations with a variety of audiences.  This course is designed for students who are committed to performing and have a passion for it.  This is a practical BTEC qualification.With a varied use of assessment and teaching styles, it is an ideal start to a path within music. It is a vocational course that will allow you to gain specific knowledge, understanding and skills needed for a number of routes.


BTEC Level 3 Certificate in Music (performing) is worth 30 units, which is equal to one GCE AS levelThe course is made up of one mandatory unit and two optional units

BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma in music (performing) is worth 60 units, which equal to one GCE A level.  The course is made up of two mandatory units and 4 optional units.

Each unit has a different method of assessment, ranging from performances, arranging of live events to researching and presenting information.

Pass, Merit and Distinction are awarded based on the amount of criteria met in each unit.

Units, Assessment Method and Weighting

Unit and Content Assessment Method Weighting

Mandatory Unit

Unit 23 –Music Performance  Techniques

Be able to develop effective instrumental or vocal technique through a structured

practice routine

Be able to apply effective instrumental or vocal technique within appropriate  repertoire in solo performance

Be able to apply effective instrumental or vocal technique in group performance.

Detailed practice diary

Tutor observations

Credit value = 10

Optional units, of which you will need to pick two (Either unit 33 or 40 must be selected for the subsidiary diploma)

Unit and Content Assessment Method Weighting

Unit 33 – Solo Music Performance skills

Know how to choose appropriate pieces for an extended programme of music

Be able to perform an extended programme of music to an audience

Know the processes required in preparation for the performance of an extended programme of music.

Recording of performance

Concert programme

Tutor notes
Credit value = 10

Unit  40– Working and developing as a musical ensemble

Understand the elements of musical ensembles

Be able to plan as a musical ensemble

Be able to develop as a musical ensemble

Be able to perform as a musical ensemble

Log of meetings

Tutor observations

Audience survey

Video evidence

Credit value = 10

Unit 30 – Pop Music in Practice

Know different genres of pop music

Know how pop music developed

Be able to perform original pop music

Be able to perform pop music and be part of an ensemble

Magazine article

Video recordings

Tutor observation
Credit value = 10

Unit 36 – Studying Music from Around the World

Know the role of music in different cultures

Know the musical features of a range of world music traditions

Know some of the influences of world music on different genres of Western music

Be able to carry out a world music project


Tutor observations

Written report

Audio examples

Audio/video evidence


Credit value = 10

Unit 24 – Music Project

Be able to prepare individually for the delivery of a successful live music event

Understand the implications of commercial considerations on creative decisions

Be able to prepare and work as a member of a team towards a successful live event

Be able to contribute to a performance to a technically acceptable level appropriate to genre.

The performance

A video recording of live performances

Credit value = 10

Complementary Subjects to study at AS

Mathematics, Drama, Art, Media, History, Sciences, Geography.

The nature of Music A-level with a balance of Performance, Creativity, Analysis and Essay-writing makes it an ideal companion to any other subject. The key is to have a real passion for Music.

Student Views

Studying music at a level has improved my general knowledge of the subject and also reading music. I have enjoyed studying the subject and the teachers are always on hand to help if ever I need it.
Natalie O’Connor, Year 13, 2010

Music A level has encouraged my decision to apply for various music conservatoires across the united kingdom. Studying at Great Barr School is an advantage as the department holds a very high standard and it has increased my confidence in the subject.
Aimee Calderbank, Year 13, 2010

Studying music at A level has allowed me to gain a place at the Royal Northern College of Music. It prepared me for the high quality of work which I am expected to produce in order to gain a degree in music.
Beth Calderbank, Year 1, 2008

I am currently a student at the Birmingham Conservatoire. An advantage of studying music A level at Great Barr School is the standard of work which is produced, and this allowed me to build up a better understanding of the subject, in order to complete my degree.
Nicole Farrell, Year 13, 2008

Career Pathways

By studying MUSIC at AS you are opening a diverse range of career and further education opportunities these include:

  • Performance (Soloist, orchestral/band member)
  • Teaching (individuals or classroom teaching)
  • Studio Production
  • Journalism and Communications
  • Composer (eg Film & TV music, computer game music)

Further Information

For further information, please contact Mrs C L Hill, Teacher in charge of Music

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