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What interests should I have if I want to take this course?

  • You should have a passion for music – either playing or singing and you should enjoy demonstrating your performances.
  • You should enjoy listening to and learning about different kinds of music.
  • You should feel satisfaction in creating your own music.
  • You should enjoy expressing yourself either through performing or composing.

A level Music offers a unique combination of practical, aesthetic and intellectual experiences that can provide a balance and contrast to other A level subjects.  It develops a number of skills for which employers are always looking, namely research skills, creativity, and an ability to analyse and make judgements and decisions based on evidence.  It aims to give you a life-long enjoyment and understanding of music as a listener or performer.

What Teaching and Learning methods will be used?

There will be a variety of practical (performing and composing) and theory/listening lessons.  Sometimes this will include small group performances or improvisation; sometimes one-to-one guidance.  You will develop your work using a mixture of instruments and music technology, essay writing and listening exercises.

What will I learn about?

Component 1:  Music in Context

In this unit you will learn about music from different times and places (from the 17th C through to Jazz and contemporary Pop Music). You will be taught about the set works and how to understand the context of different styles of music. 

Component 2: Performing

You will record a performance lasting 10 – 12 minutes. This can be solo or ensemble as well as the option of using music technology. Minimum standard needs to be between grade 5 and 6 on your instrument/voice but you will gain extra marks for higher standard pieces if played well. Your choice of music should give you opportunity to display a range of expressive and technical control.

You will be given opportunity to record and listen to yourself during the course before the final programme is recorded in April of the exam year.

Component 3: Composition

You will create two compositions: one in any style of your choice and the other to a choice of briefs set by the exam board (e.g. film music, writing a pop song, harmonising melodies, an instrumental based on a world music scale, etc.) Both compositions must add up to 4 ½ - 6 minutes.

How will I be assessed?

Component 1 - Externally assessed exam (2 hour 30 minutes) 40% of A level marks

In the exam you will be given your own headphones and a CD player. You will hear extracts of music and will have a choice of questions to answer.

Section A: varied music from the areas we have studied (Baroque Concerto, Classical Opera, Romantic Piano, Pop and Jazz Music). Short answers.

Section B: analysis of a section of score from two of your set works (Baroque Concerto and Romantic Piano). Short and extended answers. 

Section C: essay on one or more of your chosen Pop artists (Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Muse, Beyoncé, Daft Punk, Labrinth) or Jazz artists (Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Pat Metheny and Gwilym Simcock)

Component 2 - Recorded and externally assessed.  

35% of A level

Component 3 - Scored on Sibelius software or alternative, recorded (either on computer or live) and externally marked.  25% of A level.

What can I do when I complete my qualifications?

A level Music can lead to a variety of careers such as performing, recording, composing, music publishing, broadcasting, teaching, music therapy and a wide range of jobs within the creative industries.  Universities are looking for students with wide ranging talents.  A level music indicates to an admission tutor that a student would enrich that university’s extra-curricular life.

How can I find out more information?

If you have any further questions please contact Mr Baxter in the Music Department.