Music A level examines skills in music appraisal through listening and analysis, performance, and composition. This challenging, yet hugely rewarding, course gives students the chance to increasingly follow their own interests in music, whilst allowing them to develop both broader and deeper 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.
GCSE Music at grade 6 or above and grade 4 standard (ABRSM or equivalent) or above in their first instrument/voice.
Throughout the 2-year course students explore, and develop, a repertoire of musical skills and techniques focussed around three areas of study: music appraisal, performance, and composition.
Component 1: Musical appraisal
A listening exam which assesses musical and contextual understanding, worth up to 40% of the overall marks. The exam takes place during the summer term at the end of the 2-year course. There are seven areas of study:
1 Western classical tradition 1650 – 1910 (compulsory). The three strands within this area of study are: The Baroque Concerto, Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, and The Romantic piano music of Chopin, Grieg and Brahms.
2 Pop music
3 Music for media
4 Music for theatre
6 Contemporary traditional music
7 Art music since 1910.
Students must study Area of study 1: Western classical tradition 1650 – 1910 and choose two from Areas of study 2 – 7.
Component 2: Performance
Traditional performance or performance via technology of 10 to 12 minutes’ duration, to be completed during a coursework window of approximately 2 months in the second year of study. This component accounts for a further 35% of the A level. In the case of traditional performance, a performance to at least Grade 6 standard is required, while production via technology requires performance of a pre-existing piece (or pieces) of music via both MIDI and sequenced input.
Component 3: Composition
Students will create two compositions (one to a brief and one free), totalling at least four and a half minutes for the remaining 25% of marks, to be completed during the second year of study.
This is a respected A level course which prepares students well for university. It may lead to a career as a performer, composer, recording musician, conductor, instrumental/classroom teacher or music therapist. Recent destinations for leavers reading Music have included Birmingham Conservatoire, Southampton University and St John’s College, Cambridge.