Both National 4 and 5 Music courses are made up of two common mandatory units. These are:
- Music: Composing Skills – learners will develop a range of skills in composing, arranging or improvising in order to create their own original music.
- Understanding Music – learners will develop a knowledge and understanding of music, a range of music concepts and musical literacy.
Learners must also choose one optional unit from the following:
- Music: Performing Skills - through regular practice/rehearsal and reflection, learners will develop a range of technical and musical performing skills on their chosen instrument(s)/voice while exploring a variety of music.
- Music: Technology Skills with Performing Skills – learners will explore and develop skills and techniques relating to the use and application of music technology as well as developing their musical performing skills.
The National 4 Added Value Unit is a practical activity. Learners will draw on the skills learned either through performance of a programme of music or by using music technology for the creative production of music.
National 4: Learners must pass all of the required units, including the Added Value Unit. All units are internally assessed. They will be assessed on a pass/fail basis.
National 5: Learners must pass all of the required units. In addition there is an external exam paper worth 40% and a practical performance worth 60% of the overall marks.
Homework activities should be about 60 minutes each week, incorporating home practice.
Skills useful to the course
Learners should be:
- Keen to develop an understanding of a variety of musical concepts
- Willing to study a range of musical genres, styles, cultures and contexts
- Happy to practice regularly on their chosen instrument(s)/voice
Value of the course
As well as being hugely rewarding as a hobby, studying Music develops an interest and a knowledge which can be beneficial to certain careers eg primary and secondary teaching, events management, journalism, music publishing, music therapy, professional musician etc. At school, successful completion of National 5 would give the option of studying Higher in S5 and Advanced Higher in S6.