3.2 Performing music

Students must be able to perform live music using one or both of the following ways:
  • instrumental (including DJ)/vocal
  • production via technology.

One performance must be as a soloist and one piece must be as part of an ensemble lasting a combined minimum of four minutes. The performance as part of an ensemble must last for a minimum of one minute.

Repertoire will be determined by the student and teacher. It need not reference an area of study and can be in any chosen style or genre.

Students must be able to interpret relevant musical elements as appropriate using resources (eg microphones) and techniques (eg pizzicato) as appropriate to communicate musical ideas with accuracy and expression and interpretation, including phrasing and dynamics appropriate to the style and mood of the music.

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: Performing music assessment grids for information about how to mark performances.

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.

3.2.1 Instrumental (including DJ)/vocal

Instrumental (including DJ)/vocal performance type Definition Technical control (accuracy) Expression and interpretation

Solo

A solo instrument/voice with accompaniment/backing track where the student has a substantial solo part.

Unaccompanied instrumental/vocal solo.

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

Pitch (including intonation).

Rhythm and fluency.

Tempo, dynamics, phrasing and articulation.

Ensemble Music performed by the student in conjunction with at least one other musician (one of which must be the student being assessed), in which each player or singer has a unique and significant role (ie that is not doubled).
Solo DJ Using turntables (raw vinyl/CDJ) and/or Digital DJ technology (software controller/DVS) to manipulate tracks and demonstrate an understanding and use of a range of techniques. There must be a minimum of two tracks – beat matched, with respect to the structure, tonality and arrangement of the selected tracks.

Pitch.

Rhythm, tempo and fluency.

Dynamics and articulation.
Ensemble DJ Using turntables (raw vinyl/CDJ) and/or Digital DJ technology (software controller/DVS) to perform with one or more DJs/live musicians in which each performer has a unique and significant role (ie that is not doubled). For the student being assessed, there must be a minimum of two tracks – beat matched, with respect to the structure, tonality and arrangement of the selected tracks.

3.2.2 DJing skills

Students must know, understand and be able to apply the following as appropriate to the level of demand of the piece.

DJing skills and sound sources
Basic skills

cue stuttering

rewind/spin-back

drop-ins

E.Q. Blending or use of on board FX (eg filtering, flanger, delay etc).

Intermediate skills

baby scratches

looping (using digital buttons)

hot cues – jumping to parts of the song during performance or edited live

a cappellas – as a chosen sound source for 8 bars or more – vocal must fit harmonically, rhythmically and structurally with overall mix.

Advanced skills

advanced scratching – transforms

advanced scratching – flares

advanced scratching – chirps

advanced scratching – orbits

hot-cue drumming – using hot cue to trigger multiple sounds to create something new

juggling – live looping using platters not buttons

a cappellas – as a chosen sound source for 32 bars or more – vocal must fit harmonically, rhythmically and structurally with overall mix.

Sound sources

tracks

scratch samples (allowing hot cue triggering or scratching)

loops

drum loops

bass loops

a cappellas (pre-separated vocals from another song).

For examples of DJ performances, please refer to e-AQA online standardisation materials.

3.2.3 Production

Technology performance type Definition Technical control (accuracy) Expression and sense of style

Solo

A complete performance of a pre-existing piece using music technology, sequencing and/or multi-tracking techniques to record a solo performance of a minimum of three tracks. At least one track must be performed live in real time.

Pitch (including intonation).

Rhythm and balance.

Dynamics, articulation and panning.

Ensemble

A complete performance of a pre-existing piece using music technology, sequencing and/or multi-tracking techniques to record an ensemble performance of a minimum of four tracks, three of which must be performed by the student and one or more tracks performed by at least one other musician in which each performer has a unique and significant role (ie that is not doubled). At least one track must be performed live in real time by the student and at least one track must be performed live in real time by at least one other member of the ensemble.