Exam Board – Pearson

Qualification – BTEC Nationals Level 3

Entry requirements – Merit in Level 2 Music

Course specification

Students study units which are focused on developing more advanced skills in music performance, both as a soloist and member of an ensemble.

Lesson time will be spent developing students’ abilities as performing musicians, both on an individual basis and in groups, specifically, learning how to:

  • plan an individual practice routine taking account of current developmental needs and how to meet them
  • become more comfortable performing for and engaging with an audience
  • work collaboratively with other musicians
  • develop as a composer
  • develop a clear understanding of the creative industries in practice

Syllabus content

You will study one mandatory unit, one specialist unit and one optional unit.

Music performance techniques (mandatory unit)

This unit focuses on two areas: firstly the ability to play or sing with fluency, dexterity and the authority of a seasoned performer, and secondly arriving at that point through a logical and structured practice routine.

When musicians develop and use a structured practice routine they break down the areas of their playing or singing that need attention. A reflective and dedicated approach to practice will enable performers to maximise their improvements.

Working and developing as a musical ensemble (example of a specialist unit) 

This practical unit explores the nature of ensemble work by allowing learners to become part of a musical ensemble, concentrating on the process of working together to achieve a musically and artistically satisfying result.

An effective musical team is often a creative democracy – communication skills, the ability to discuss, compromise and work towards a shared goal are just as important as technical and musical ability.

Composing music (example of an optional unit)

This unit looks at composition in its broadest sense. All composers deal with the same fundamental building blocks regardless of style or genre – generating musical ideas, exploring and developing those ideas, formalising them into complete pieces, and presenting the finished product in an appropriate format, whether that be a printed form or a recording.

The unit explores a range of techniques at each stage in the compositional process. Learners are free to work within a range of styles, genres and instrumental resources (both acoustic and electronic). The focus is on experimentation and the practical exploration of compositional possibilities.

You will be assessed in a variety of ways, including practical performance assessments, recorded compositions, written planning and evaluation documents and presentation work based on specific music industry themes.

What doors does this open up for me?

The creative industries are a huge part of the UK economy and a qualification in music demonstrates the character of someone with self-discipline, good communication skills, strong work ethic and creativity. From performing, composing and event management to teaching, publishing and marketing, the opportunities for the budding musician are many and varied.

Learning journey

Our learning journeys can be used to understand each subject in more detail.