Higher Music

Higher Music

Aim of courses

To ensure that all pupils have the opportunity to create, perform and respond positively to music; and to encourage all pupils, throughout the whole range of ability, to realise their musical potential.

Why study Music?

Music courses make a valuable contribution to your general education and personal development by providing you with the opportunity to develop interests that will enhance your quality of life. It also allows you to develop the skills and knowledge required if you wish to proceed to further study and/or follow a career in music.

Music (Performing) Higher

Entry to the Course

You would normally be expected to have attained a course award at National 5 Music or equivalent, or have appropriate previous experience.

This course option consists of three units:

Performing Skills (60 marks – scaled to 50%)

  • Play two instruments, or one instrument and voice.
  • Perform at least 2 pieces on each instrument.
  • Perform a programme of pieces, 12 minutes in total, between the two instruments.
  • Perform at least 4 minutes on one instrument.
  • Higher is equivalent to ABRSM Grade 4.

Composing Skills (30 marks – scaled to 15%)

  • Creating one piece of music which explores and develops musical ideas using at least four elements from melody, harmony,
    rhythm, structure and timbre, one of which must be harmony (20 marks).
  • Evaluate and review the composition progress (10 marks).

Understanding Music (40 marks – scaled to 35%)

  • Listen to music from a variety of musical styles.
  • Identify and recognise specific music concepts, as well as music signs and symbols used in music notation.
  • Question paper based on recorded excerpts of music and musical literacy.


  • Composing Skills and the Understanding Music listening exam are marked externally by the SQA.
  • Performing Skills final exam is marked by an SQA visiting assessor.

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