St John Plessington Catholic College

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BTEC - Level 3

This subject is a BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Music Performance.

This two year course gives musicians the chance to develop their musical skills beyond GCSE level. It is designed to support progression to higher education when taken as part of a programme of study that includes other appropriate BTEC Nationals or A Levels. The programme gives a broad overview of the sector, with a focus on performance, including musical skills development and professional practice.

There will be a mixture of written and practical work and regular recording events to present coursework both in and out of school time. The language and traditions of music from many cultures is studied, as well as examples from a huge range of styles.

How is the course structured?

The course is run over two years and content is broken down into 4 units. Each unit is worth a specific amount of credits and to successfully complete the course, you must complete the selected units in order to achieve the required amount of credits. Each assignment has a specific vocational context and a scenario in order to allow students to relate their studies to the industry.

The 4 units are:

  • Professional Practice in the Music Industry – an externally assessed unit that explores what it is that makes someone a professional in the music industry and how to put forward a bid for work.

  • Practical Music Theory and Harmony – an internally assessed unit that develops the learners’ knowledge and understanding of music theory and harmony, and apply their understanding in practical scenarios.

  • Ensemble Music Performance - an externally assessed unit to work as part of a musical ensemble and develop their skills and techniques in rehearsal and performance.

  • Music Performance Session Styles – an internally assessed unit exploring the styles of music encountered in the role of a modern session musician.


All assessment is made through completion of assignments and coursework as well as formal written and performance exams at the end of the second year. Each unit has an assignment to complete in order to fulfil the individual unit requirements. Within assignments, tasks will be completed to PASS, MERIT or DISTINCTION level.

Each individual assignment must be completed to at least a pass level in order to pass the whole unit.

On successful completion of a unit, points are awarded depending upon the level of completion and the credit value of the unit. At the end of the course, the points will be added from all completed units to make a combined total points score.

Is there anything else I should know?

Due to the course content it is advisable to have studied Music; however, promising musicians who have a good standard of performance but have not studied the subject in Year 11 should talk to the Music staff about their suitability for the course.

Progression Routes

The qualification can provide the UCAS points required to allow access to higher education courses including degrees and foundation degrees. Potential occupations include opportunities in teaching, promotions, performance, publishing, music therapy and the media.