Should I study Music or Music Technology?

It is possible for students to study both Music and Music Technology, as these two courses are separate and independent A levels. Both certainly require an enthusiasm for music and involve creative practical work (such as composition). A sound theoretical understanding of music and critical listening skills are also necessary to access course content with confidence. Before starting either course, students should be active musicians, and remain committed to developing their skills as a musician throughout the course.

A level Music

Music A level examines skills in performance, composition, listening and analysis. This challenging, yet hugely rewarding, course gives students the chance to increasingly follow their own interests in music, whilst allowing them to both broaden and deepen their understanding of a range of musical styles.

As well as traditional performance, there is a Music Technology option (sequencing) for performance within this A level. Composition workshops and individual self-directed projects give students a chance to further develop their own writing style.

Course Content

Throughout the 2-year course students explore, and develop, a repertoire of musical techniques focussed around three areas of study: performance, composition and music appraisal. During the second year of study, students complete three tasks: an extended performance of at least 10 minutes to Grade 6 standard or higher, two compositions (one to a brief and one free choice) and a listening and analysis exam. The two coursework activities build on the work of the first year and are completed during lesson and personal study time, while the end-of-course exam assesses listening skills, as well as musical and contextual understanding.

Future Opportunities

This is a well-respected and rewarding A level course which prepares students well for study music at university. It may lead to a career as a performer, composer, conductor, instrumental or classroom teacher, music therapist or, perhaps in combination with Music Technology, producer, recording engineer or sound technician. Recent destinations for leavers reading music have included Birmingham Conservatoire, Southampton University and St John’s College, Cambridge.