Music – National Qualifications


The music courses offered from National 3 – Advanced Higher will develop candidates ability to Perform, Compose and Identify features as they listen to a variety of styles of music. Performance is at the centre of these courses

Entry requirements

National 3/4 – Competent performing skills in S1/2

National 5 – Pass at National 4 or performing skills at Grade 3 standard

Higher – Grades A, B or C at National 5 level

Advanced Higher – Grades A, B or C at Higher



National 5/Higher/Adv H – 50% of the overall mark. Candidates will be expected to perform on 2 instruments or 1 instrument and voice. All candidates will be offered lessons on at least one of these instruments.

Performances will be assessed by a visiting examiner in Feb/March for N5/H and May for Adv H. The performance requirements are 8 minutes at National 5, 12 minutes at Higher and 18 minutes at Advanced Higher.

The minimum standard is:

National 5 – Grade 3

Higher – Grade 4

Adv Higher – Grade 5


Composing Assignment – worth 15% of the overall marks.

Candidates explore and then create one original piece of music, building competence in handling a range of compositional techniques. Students have access to and develop skills in using Music software such as Sibelius, Garageband and Pro Tools. An audio file, together with a score or performance plan and review, is submitted to SQA for marking.

Understanding Music

Listening question paper – 35% of the overall mark

Candidates will learn how to identify a range of styles and concepts as they listen to music. They will develop their skills in identifying music notation as they follow a score.  The question paper is worth 40 marks and will be completed during the SQA exam diet in May.

Careers in Music

Performer or composer     

Primary/secondary  teacher or visiting specialist

Music Therapist 

Sound engineer

Broadcasting/film/video Radio producer –

Event manager

Arts administrator

 Community arts worker

Music retailer/publisher

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