IB Music (HL and SL)

Course description

September 2020 sees the launch of a brand new IB music course, completing the new suite of creative arts subjects in the IB DP. For the first time music technologists will be fully catered for, and the intention at Wellington is to create two parallel pathways, allowing performers and technologists to present work from their own specialisms for assessment.

The new course takes a bold look at preparing musicians for the future and intends to be inclusive, holistic in its development of the musical mind, and relevant to the 21st century learner by taking students’ personal musical identity as the starting point.

Throughout the course students take on three roles, as researchercreator, and performer. In these roles they inquire, create, perform and reflect on three musical processes:

Exploring music in context;

Experimenting with music;

Presenting music.

Students will explore a diverse range of music through four Areas of Inquiry:

Music for sociocultural and political expression;

Music for listening and performance;

Music for dramatic impact, movement or entertainment;

Music technology in the electronic and digital age.

Assessment Structure




Exploring music in context


Students select samples of their work for a portfolio submission (maximum 2,400 words). The submission contains:

a.Exploring as a researcher

owritten work demonstrating engagement with, and understanding of, diverse musical material from at least two areas of inquiry

b.Exploring as a creator and as a performer

oone practical creating exercise (score maximum 32 barsand/or audio 1 minute as appropriate to style) oone performed adaptation of music from a local or global context for the student’s own instrument(maximum 2 minutes)

c.supporting audio reference material, (not assessed).

External 30% 20%
Experimenting with music


Students submit an experimentation report with evidence of their musical processes in creating and performing focused through at least two areas of inquiry in a local and/or global context. The report provides a rationale and commentary for each process. Students submit:

a. Experimenting as a researcheroa written experimentation report that supports the experimentation (maximum 1,500 words)

b. Experimenting as a creator and as a performer

oPractical musical evidence of the experimentation process   in the form of

– three related excerpts of creating (total maximum 5 minutes)

– three related excerpts of performing (total maximum 5 minutes)

Internal 30% 20%
Presenting music


Students submit a collection of works demonstrating engagement with diverse musical material from four areas of inquiry. The submission contains:

a. Presenting as a researcheroprogramme notes (maximum 600 words)

b. Presenting as a creatorocomposition and/or improvisation (maximum 6 minutes)

c. Presenting as a performer

o    Solo and/or ensemble(maximum 12 minutes)

o   excerpts, where applicable (maximum 2minutes)

External 40% 30%
The contemporary music-maker (HL only)


Students submit a continuous multimedia presentation documenting their real-life project. Students submit:

Multimedia presentation (maximum 15 minutes), evidencing:

a. the project proposal

b. the process and evaluation

c. the realized project, or curated selections of it.

Internal 30%
    100% 100%


An emphasis is made on independent research, critical thinking and acquisition of knowledge. Pupils taking this course will be avid listeners and for whom music is a passion as well as an academic course. Pupils should be prepared to analyse any piece of music and discuss its musical features. For the practical areas of the course pupils should be able to play an instrument to Grade 5/6 level and would look to attain Grade 7/8 standard by the Upper 6th form. Pupils should be able to read music and must have attained a 7 grade or higher in GCSE Music.

Potential careers

The course develops the following skills: communication, planning, independent research skills, knowledge acquisition, information technology, problem solving, performance and compositional techniques, confidence, working with others. Pupils learn a great deal about music and the music industry. Musicians go on to study at many courses in a wide variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, humanities, social sciences, music or performing arts at degree level including at Oxbridge and Conservatoire.

Contact for further information

Mr SA Farrell: saf@wellingtoncollege.org.uk (Head of Academic Music) or Mr SRJ Williamson (Director of Music and Arts)