3.2 Performance

Students must be able to perform music using one or both of the following ways:

  • instrumental/vocal: as a soloist, and/or as part of an ensemble
  • production: via music technology.

Students must perform for a minimum of ten minutes.

Care should be taken when selecting repertoire for ensemble performance; the level of demand refers to the individual part performed by the student and not to the overall level of demand of the selected piece.

Performance of pieces written with an accompaniment intended by the composer should not be unaccompanied.

Students must be able to interpret musical elements specified in Subject content, using resources and techniques as appropriate, to communicate musical ideas with technical and expressive control.

Through their performance students must also demonstrate understanding of context, including the chosen style or genre of the music being performed and the composer’s purpose and intention.

If students choose to perform using non-standard instruments (ie for which there are no nationally recognised accredited music grades) the requirements for instrumental/vocal must be followed.

Please refer to Component 2: Performance assessment grids for more information about how performance will be marked.

In all cases, the recording of the performances must be accompanied by one or more of the following documents, as appropriate to the type of performance:
  • notated score
  • lead sheet
  • guide recording
  • annotation (production only).
Performance type Definition Technical control, including: Expressive control, including:


Solo performance

The student's performance can be one or more of the following:

  • a single musician playing/singing solo
  • a soloist accompanied by another musician (eg pianist, guitarist, backing track etc)

Ensemble performance

  • as an accompanist to a solo musician
  • as an instrumentalist/singer contributing to a unique and significant role (ie that is not doubled) to a small group (of up to eight musicians).

Pitch (including intonation)


Tone (including breathing and diction, bowing and pedalling etc)

Synchronisation of ensemble

Tempo, dynamics, phrasing and articulation

Production (via technology)

A complete performance of a pre-existing piece using music technology. The performance should include the use of at least one musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) sequenced track and at least one audio track.

Audio sounds should be captured by close-mic or direct injection. The total amount of MIDI sequenced sounds and audio sounds is at the discretion of the student but should be a minimum of five tracks. At least five tracks should be inputted or played/sung by the student.





Clarity of capture

Choice of timbres


Dynamic processing (including compression and EQ etc)