Unit 3 - Performing Music

40% of the total marks                                                                     60 marks 

Candidates perform individually or through ICT and as part of a group. 

Each candidate should perform two different pieces: 

a) one for 'Individual Performance'/'Technologybased Performance', lasting no more than five minutes, and 

b) one for 'Group Performance', lasting no more than five minutes. 

In both performances, doubling of the part to be assessed is permissible where this is musically appropriate and is in line with the conventions of the chosen genre and does not obscure the part to be assessed. Doubling is only acceptable if the individual candidate's part can be aurally identified without affecting the balance of the ensemble and if the candidate's part is clearly audible to the teacher and moderator. 

Candidates may perform their own compositions provided that these have not been submitted for assessment in either Unit 2 or Unit 4. 

In both Individual and Group performances, backing tracks are permitted. 

Both performances must be recorded and sent to an AQA moderator. The recordings must be in a format that can be played on an external device such as CD or mini-disc. The recordings may be made at any time during the course. 

Controlled Assessment Advisers will be available to provide guidance to centres. 

a) (i) Individual Performance

Candidates perform a piece of music in which they are assessed as an individual. The music chosen can be: 

  • an unaccompanied solo (where this is the intended nature of the piece) 
  • an accompanied solo  
  • a performance where the candidate has a substantial solo part. 

An individual performance is defined as one person playing/singing/maintaining an independent melodic/ rhythmic part.

N.B. this includes 'rapping' in all of its forms and 'turntablism'. 

a) (ii) Technology-based Performance

This consists of using a sequencer and/or multi-track recorder and then manipulating the inputted data to achieve a satisfactory performance in terms of the assessment criteria. There should be at least three parts and candidates must perform at least one of the parts in real or step time. 

b) Group Performance The group performance must consist of two or more live players including the candidate. Where a candidate performs within a large ensemble, the candidate's part must be clearly identifiable aurally to the teacher and the moderator. Groups may be conducted but not by the teacher assessing the performance. 

Task supervision and control 

The level of control for performing is set at medium. 

This means that research and preparation should be completed under limited supervision, i.e. without direct supervision. Candidates are encouraged to listen to as many similar performances as possible to inform their approach to their own performance. 

Final performance must be completed under formal, i.e. direct, supervision and the teacher must assess the live performance.

Assessment Criteria 

a) (i) Individual Performance (Max 30 marks)

Level of Demand

3 Complex and demanding music, presenting a range of challenges equivalent to pieces graded above 4 by the examining boards: i.e. requiring a higher degree of technical facility than at level 2, presenting challenges in areas such as tempo, key, intricacy of rhythm and complexity of chords or texture. Music at this level requires increased command of the instrument/voice and a variety of performance techniques in a style appropriate to the piece, sustained throughout a performance of reasonable duration. 

2 Music presenting a range of challenges equivalent to pieces graded at 4 by the examining boards: i.e. requiring a moderate degree of technical facility but with increased challenges in terms of the command of the instrument/voice and the range of performance techniques required. There are moderate demands in rhythmic complexity and/or melodic patterns and in the duration of the piece. 

1 Music presenting a range of challenges equivalent to pieces graded at 3 (or 2) by the examining boards: i.e. music of a fairly simple nature, of relatively short duration and in easier keys. Tempo, range and rhythmic/melodic patterns will place only modest demands on the performer.

0 Straightforward and undemanding music, presenting few technical challenges. 

The remaining 27 marks are awarded for 

  • Accuracy 
  • Communication 
  • Interpretation 

Accuracy 

9–7 

A secure performance in terms of pitch (including intonation, where appropriate) and rhythm. Occasional slips not affecting the fluency of the performance result in a mark at the lower end of this band.

6–4 

A reasonably secure performance in terms of pitch (including intonation, where appropriate) and rhythm. Slips and/or inaccuracies tend to compromise the overall flow, increasing in number as marks move lower down this band.

3–1 

A performance inhibited by slips/inaccuracies/ miscalculations of pitch (including intonation, where appropriate) and rhythm. Fluency is poor. At the top of this band, the outline of the music is appreciable to the listener but, at the lower marks, the music may be barely recognisable. 

The candidate's work shows no evidence of the skills being assessed.

Communication 

9–7 

A committed, assured, convincing and well-projected performance. The candidate demonstrates a high level of involvement in the music. The music is likely to be complex and demanding.

6–4 

A performance which, at the top of this band, demonstrates a generally assured level of commitment and an overall sense of conviction in the performance. Towards the lower end, the performance lacks some conviction and commitment on occasions.

3–1 

The performance shows only limited conviction and the candidate may fail to impose him/herself upon the performance. Towards the lower end of this band, the performance may be an anxious experience for both the candidate and the listener. The music is likely to be simple and undemanding.

The candidate's work shows no evidence of the skills being assessed.

Interpretation 

9–7 

The candidate shows a mature understanding of both period and style. The tempo is appropriate and mastery of the techniques demanded by the music is evident. The candidate observes the composer's expressive and performance directions. The music is likely to be complex and demanding.

6 –4 

The performance has style and tempo appropriate to the music for the most part. At the top of this band, the majority of the composer's expressive and performance directions are observed, although less so as marks are reduced. At the lower end of the band, there is a sense of the character of the music. In general, the techniques demanded by the music are met, though with increasing loss of integrity towards the lower end of this mark band.

3 –1 

There is limited sensitivity to the interpretative demands of the music. Technical demands may compromise the tempo. There is little or no application of the composer's expressive and performance directions. At the lower end of this band, there is only rudimentary sensitivity to the interpretative demands of the music. The music is likely to be simple and undemanding.

The candidate's work shows no evidence of the skills being assessed.

a) (ii) Technology-based Performance (Max 30 marks)

This performance is assessed on: 

  • accuracy of pitch and rhythm including evidence of close attention to performing and expressive detail * care taken to ensure a good balance  
  • use of an appropriate dynamic range 
  • use of panning to obtain a clear recording and, where necessary, to separate sounds that utilise similar frequency ranges 
  • awareness of style required including use of effects where appropriate, such as reverb., delay. 

Candidates are expected to give details of the equipment used and of the recording process. 

Accuracy of pitch and rhythm including evidence of close attention to performing and expressive detail 

6–5 

Excellent accuracy of pitch and rhythm with close attention to all performing and expressive details, resulting in a musically satisfying performance.3 14 GCSE Music for certification from June 2014 onwards (version 1.0)

4–3 

There are a few minor slips which will increase and may impinge upon fluency at the lower mark. Articulation, phrasing and use of shading is largely successful.

2–1 

More significant errors for the upper mark and significant lapses for the lower; there are inconsistencies in the application of performing and expressive detail at the top of this band while, at the bottom, the recording is characterised by a lack of attention to articulation, phrasing and tempo.

0

The candidate's work shows no evidence of the skills being assessed.

Care taken to ensure a good balance

6–5 

An excellent sense of balance throughout the recording.

4–3 

Occasional miscalculations of balance where 4 is awarded, increasing to include some sections of poor balance where 3 is awarded.

 2–1 

Generally poor balance: 2 will be awarded where important features are unclear; 1 where most of the detail is obscured.

The candidate's work shows no evidence of the skills being assessed.

Use of an appropriate dynamic range 

6–5 

Excellent management of dynamics in ways completely appropriate to the music.

4–3 

Occasional miscalculations of dynamic with 3 awarded where there are sections in which the dynamic range is miscalculated and/or very limited.

2–1 

Often inappropriate choice/use of dynamics which adversely affect the impact of large sections of the recorded performance.

The candidate's work shows no evidence of the skills being assessed.

Use of panning to obtain a clear recording and, where necessary, to separate sounds that utilise similar frequency ranges 

6–5 

Judicious use of panning to gain a clear and effective recording.

4–3 

Some evidence of use of panning though, for the lower mark, the panning is less clear and less effective.

2–1 

Little or no evidence of the use of panning to obtain a clear recording.

The candidate's work shows no evidence of the skills being assessed.

Awareness of style required including use of effects where appropriate, such as reverb., delay 

6–5 

Complete awareness of the stylistic requirements of the music with appropriate use of effects throughout the performance.

4–3 

For the upper mark, the required style is broadly in evidence and effects are used generally well, though with occasional miscalculations; at the lower mark, there is inconsistency in achieving the required style and sections where effects are misjudged or lacking.

2–1 

The performance of the music is basic with little or no sense of the required style. There is little or inappropriate use of effects.

The candidate's work shows no evidence of the skills being assessed.

b) Group Performance (Max 30 marks)

Level of Demand 

3 Music presenting a range of challenges equivalent to pieces graded above 4 by the examining boards: i.e. requiring a higher degree of technical facility than at level 2, presenting challenges in areas such as tempo, key, intricacy of rhythm and complexity of chords or texture. Music at this level requires increased command of the instrument/voice and a variety of performance techniques in a style appropriate to the piece, sustained throughout a performance of reasonable duration. The candidate has a consistently important, but perhaps varying, role within the ensemble. 

2 Music presenting a range of challenges equivalent to pieces graded at 4 by the examining boards: i.e. requiring a moderate degree of technical facility but with increased challenges in terms of the command of the instrument/voice and the range of performance techniques required. There are moderate demands in rhythmic complexity and/or melodic patterns and in the duration of the piece. The candidate's role within the ensemble may be within limited parameters and remain consistent. 

1 Music presenting a range of challenges equivalent to pieces graded at 3 (or 2) by the examining boards: i.e. music of a fairly simple nature, of relatively short duration and in easier keys. Tempo, range and rhythmic/melodic patterns place only modest demands on the performer. The candidate's role within the ensemble presents few challenges. 

0 Straightforward and undemanding work, presenting few challenges. 

The remaining 27 marks are awarded for  

  • Accuracy 
  • Communication and Interpretation 
  • Sense of Ensemble   

Accuracy 

9–7

A secure performance in terms of pitch (including intonation, where appropriate) and rhythm. Occasional slips not affecting the fluency of the performance result in a mark at the lower end of this band.

6–4

A reasonably secure performance in terms of pitch (including intonation, where appropriate) and rhythm. Slips and/or inaccuracies tend to compromise the overall flow, increasing in number as marks move lower down this band.

3–1

A performance inhibited by slips/inaccuracies/ miscalculations of pitch (including intonation, where appropriate) and rhythm. Fluency is poor. At the top of this band, the outline of the music is appreciable to the listener but, at the lower marks, the music may be barely recognisable.

0

The candidate's work shows no evidence of the skills being assessed.

Communication and Interpretation 

9–7

A committed, assured, convincing and well-projected performance. The candidate demonstrates a high level of involvement in the music. The candidate shows a mature understanding of both period and style. The tempo is appropriate and mastery of the techniques demanded by the music is evident. The candidate observes the composer's expressive and performance directions. The music is likely to be complex and demanding.

6–4

A performance which, at the top of this band, demonstrates a generally assured level of commitment and an overall sense of conviction in the performance. The majority of the composer's expressive and performance directions are observed although less so as marks are reduced. Towards the lower end, the performance lacks some conviction and commitment on occasions. There is a sense of the character of the music. In general, the techniques demanded by the music are met, though with increasing loss of integrity towards the lower end of this mark band. The performance has style and tempo appropriate to the music for the most part.

3–1

The performance shows only limited conviction and the candidate may fail to impose him/herself upon the performance. There is limited sensitivity to the interpretative demands of the music. Technical demands may compromise the tempo. At the lower end of this band, there will be only rudimentary sensitivity to the interpretative demands of the music. There is little or no application of the composer's expressive and performance directions and the performance may be an anxious experience for both the candidate and the listener. The music is likely to be simple and undemanding.

0

The candidate's work shows no evidence of the skills being assessed.

Sense of Ensemble 

9–7

A performance showing complete unity of purpose in all aspects of ensemble playing, including balance, timing, intonation and responsiveness to others. If necessary, the candidate shows the ability to react positively to any difficulties which may occur. Marks towards the bottom of this band reflect success in most of these areas.

6–4

There is a generally high level of responsiveness to the other performers, showing a good understanding of the nature of ensemble playing, demonstrated in timing, intonation and dynamics. At the bottom of this band marks reflect an inconsistent level of responsiveness.

3–1

The candidate shows some awareness of the other member(s) of the ensemble but the response will be uneven. At the bottom of this band, there is little or no evidence of responsiveness. Performances at this level include those where the candidate tends to concentrate on his/her own part to the exclusion of other ensemble considerations.

0

The candidate's work shows no evidence of the skills being assessed.