What will I learn?

Through studying this course, you will:

  • Explore a range of musical contexts and make links to, and between, different musical practices, conventions and forms of expression;
  • Acquire, develop and experiment with musical competencies through a range of musical practices, conventions and forms of expression, both individually and in collaboration with others;
  • Evaluate and develop critical perspectives on your own music and the work of others;
  • Engage with music technology as a compulsory part of the course and gain confidence in the essential processes associated with music-making;
  • Develop as a holistic musician with experience as a creator and performer.

What is the structure of the course?

Part 1: Exploring music in context 

You will learn how to engage with a diverse range of music that will broaden your musical horizons and provide stimuli to expand your own music-making.

Part 2: Experimenting with music

You will learn to work as researchers, creators and performers to experiment with a range of musical material and stimuli and connect theoretical studies to practical work to gain a deeper understanding of the music you engage with.

Part 3: Presenting music

You will learn to practise and prepare finished pieces that will be performed to an audience. In working towards completed musical works, you will expand your musical identity, demonstrate your level of musicianship, and learn to share and communicate your music.

Part 4: The contemporary music maker (HL only)

You will learn to engage with the musical processes in settings of contemporary music-making. You will plan and collaboratively create a project that draws on your competencies, skills and processes.

How will I be assessed?



Exploring music in context
Students in SL and HL select samples of their work for a portfolio submission. Students submit:

  1. Written work demonstrating engagement with, and understanding of, musical material;
  2. Practical exercises in creating and performing.

20% (HL)
30% (SL)

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

  1. A written experimentation report that supports the experimentation;
  2. Practical musical evidence of the experimentation process in creating and performing.

20% (HL)
30% (SL)

Presenting music
Students in SL and HL submit a collection of works demonstrating engagement with diverse musical material from four areas of inquiry. The submission contains:

  1. Programme notes;
  2. Presenting as a creator: composition and/or improvisation;
  3. Presenting as a performer: solo and/ or ensemble.

30% (HL)
40% (SL)

The contemporary music-maker (HL only)
Students submit a continuous multimedia presentation documenting their real-life project which evidences:

  1. The project proposal;
  2. The process and evaluation;
  3. The realised project, or curated selections of it.

30% (HL)

Frequently Asked Questions

Which CAS opportunities are available?
Regular performances, concert visits, workshops from music professionals, music clubs including music tech club, orchestra and choir.

Which opportunities for further study are available?
The IBDP Music course is designed to prepare the 21st century music student for a world in which global musical cultures and industries are rapidly changing. The course offers a strengthened approach to student creativity through practical, informed and purposeful explorations of diverse musical forms, practices and contexts.