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BTEC Music Performance

Why should I study BTEC Music Performance?

The Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Music Performance is for students who want to continue their education through applied learning and who aim to progress to higher education and ultimately to employment, possibly in the music sector or the creative sector as a whole.

The qualification is equivalent in size to one A Level and aims to provide a course of study covering both performance and the music industry.

The content of this qualification has been developed in consultation with academics and employers to confirm that the content is appropriate and consistent with current practice for students planning to enter employment directly in the music sector.

Studying this subject will enable you to:

  • Learn about some of the fundamental music theories and skills, which form the basis of many progression routes at higher education.
  • Broaden musical experience and interests, develop imagination and foster creativity.
  • Develop as an effective, independent learner and a critical and reflective thinker with an enquiring mind.
  • Develop your performing and composing skills.
  • Reflect critically and make personal judgements on your own and others’ music.

Course Specification

Students taking this qualification will study three mandatory units detailed below.

Unit 1: Practical Music Theory and Harmony

You will develop knowledge and understanding of music theory and harmony, and apply this understanding in practical scenarios.  You will:

  • Examine the signs and symbols used in musical notation
  • Explore the application of melodic composition based on musical elements
  • Explore the application of chords and cadences for composition or arrangement
  • Produce correct musical notation for performance.

Unit 2: Professional Practice in the Music Industry

You will explore what it is that makes someone a professional in the music industry and how to put forward a bid for work. This will cover the importance of professional practice in the music industry and the operational requirements relevant to specific music industry organisations and practices. You will demonstrate the ability to apply the skills required for working in the music industry and the requirements for professional presentation of ideas, as well as evaluate the skills and knowledge needed for professional roles in the music industry.

Unit 3: Ensemble Music Performance

You will work as part of a musical ensemble and develop your skills and techniques in rehearsal and performance.

Additional Unit Choice
In addition to the three mandatory units, you will choose one optional unit, designed to support your progression to more specialist music courses in higher education and to link with relevant career choices.

The choices are:

  • Unit 4: Composing Music from the initial stages to the final product, developing skills for composition in a variety of styles.
  • Unit 5: Music Performance Session Styles exploring the styles of music encountered in the role of a modern session musician.
  • Unit 6: Solo Performance exploring the preparation and performance of music as a soloist before performing in front of an audience.
  • Unit 7: Improvising Music Learners developing the ability to improvise when performing in a range of musical styles and contexts.

Examining Board Information

Board: Pearson Edexcel

Course Code: 601/7090/6

Click the image on the right to download the full course specification. 

Widening Horizons

We seek to broaden your horizons through a range of enrichment opportunities beyond the classroom. These include classical concerts, theatre and music events, music performances in the community and at primary schools, and visits for ensembles within the community. 

Simply put, study the BTEC Music Performance because you want to. Study it because you enjoy it and study it because you are good at it. You will learn so much more than music, you will learn how to stand up and perform, how to compose creatively and how to write analytically.  

“Music can change the world, because it can change people.” - Bono

Music will enable you to demonstrate many skills which employers, colleges and universities will be looking for. It can also give you opportunities to travel, meet people and get the most out of life. A Level Music provides a range of transferable skills that will provide a great foundation, whatever pathway you choose. 

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without” - Confucius (The Book of Rites)

In the future, creativity is going to be one of the most important and in-demand skills at work (World Economic Forum.) When business leaders across the world were surveyed, they voted creativity as the most important workplace skill to help their businesses survive and grow. This means that subjects like Music are becoming even more important and relevant to young people to give you the chance to succeed – whatever your ambitions.  

“Music is to the mind as air is to the body.” - Plato

Our department is a safe and happy place with a hive of activity, a space to reflect, work and enjoy the wider world of music. The staff are on hand to support you, eat cake and share our musical experiences with you. We are looking at developing a whole range of co-curricular activities over the coming years, including more trips and visits, possibly even a tour. You can boost your CV and UCAS statement by getting involved and running co-curricular activities as well! 

“The only thing better than Music is more Music!” - Ella Fitzgerald

Assessment Format

Component/Unit 1: Practical Music Theory and Harmony

This is a piece of coursework, externally assessed and moderated.  This component is worth 25% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Component/Unit 2: Professional Practice in the Music Industry

Students undertake a task, set and marked by the exam board, and completed under supervised conditions in a formal timetabled exam period.  This component is worth 25% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Component/Unit 3: Ensemble Music Performance

Students undertake a task, set and marked by the exam board, and completed under supervised conditions in a formal timetabled exam period.  This component is worth 33.33% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Component 4 (Optional Unit)

This is a piece of coursework, externally assessed and moderated.  This component is worth 16.67% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Course Entry Requirements

This course requires at least five GCSE subjects at Grade 4 or above. It would be advantageous to have prior knowledge of Music and have a range of achievement at Level2, in GCSEs or relevant vocational qualifications.

There should be significant evidence of musicality in performance on an instrument, or with the voice.

We reserve the right to interview and audition students prior to starting the course especially if you do not quite meet the above requirements above but have strong knowledge and skills of a similar standard.

Employability Skills

Employability Skills are essential skills, personal qualities and values that will enable you to thrive in any workplace. Along with good technical understanding and subject knowledge, employers often outline a set of skills that they want from an employee.

This course will help you to develop the following employability skills:

  • A working knowledge of a wide range of music genres
  • Cognitive and problem-solving skills
  • Interpersonal and intrapersonal skills
  • IT skills
  • Numeracy & literacy skills
  • Organisation /  time management skills Recording studio experience
  • Self-evaluative and reflective skills

Next Steps

Students can go on to degrees in Music, Musical Studies, Performance Studies, Music Education and Music Technology.

They can go onto a wide variety of careers including Teaching, Composing, Performing, Music Management, Recording Engineering, Music Therapy, Music Events Management, Composing for the Media, Music Copywriting and more.

10 Possible Careers

  • Broadcaster (TV, Radio and Online)
  • Classroom Teacher
  • Event Management
  • Music Journalist
  • Music Publishing
  • Music Therapist
  • Musician (Stage/Recording Studio)
  • Recording Studio Production
  • Retail
  • Songwriter

Student Profile: Cydney

Cydney's subjects

A Level English Literature

BTEC Music Performance

BTEC Sport

Core Sport

I took BTEC Music Performance because I love to sing and aspire to be a singer and having more experience with performance is very helpful. A Level English Literature will help me with songwriting in the future. I really enjoyed RAG Week, when we all came together to raise money for various charities.