BASIC COURSE DETAILS
A-level Music is a two-year course, which prepares students for the Edexcel specification examination. The course consists of three components; performing, composing and listening/analysing. Skills required for the performing and composing controlled assessment components are developed and refined over the two years and then the final tasks are externally assessed at the end of Year 13. The listening exam is also at the end of Year 13 (more information below).
IS IT FOR ME?
To take A-level music, you already need to be proficient on any instrument or be a competent singer. Ideally you would be playing at grade 5+ standard and will look to progress to grade 7/8 by the end of Year 13. You need to be able to read notation to take A-Level music and you would ideally have a grade 5 in GCSE music or an equivalent. But most importantly you need to have a passion for music and an enthusiasm to learn about a wide range of music from around the world and through the ages.
WHAT WILL I STUDY?
This course offers the opportunity to study a broad range of music in depth, including 18 set works (plus associated wider listening examples):
Bach – Ein feste Burg
Mozart – The Magic Flute
Vaughan Williams – On Wenlock Edge
Vivaldi – Concerto in D minor
Schumann – Piano Trio in G minor
Berlioz – Symphonie Fantastique mvt1
Music for Film
Elfman – Batman Returns
Portman – The Duchess
Hermann – Psycho
Pop and Jazz
Courtney Pine – Back in the Day
Kate Bush – Hounds of love
Beatles – Revolver
Debussy – Estampes
Familia Valera Miranda – Cana Quema
Anoushka Shankar – Breathing Under Water
Cage – Three Dances for prepared piano
Saariaho – Petals for Cello and Live Electronics
Stravinsky – The Rite of Spring
WHAT DOES STUDYING MUSIC LEAD ON TO?
A-Level music students can go on to study the subject at Degree level at university or conservatoire. Music graduates have a wide range of career options available to them both inside and outside the industry, including: performer, teacher, administrator, songwriter, conductor, composer, recording engineer, manager, promoter, or music publisher. The range of roles can seem quite endless! There are also many courses and careers in music business related areas, such as: careers in digital marketing, social media and PR to name a few.
HOW WILL I BE ASSESSED?
The course is externally assessed on three elements:
- Performing – 30% – an 8 minute recital recorded in Year 13
- Composing – 30% – two pieces composed totalling 6 minutes (one free composition, one set brief)
- Listening and Appraising – 40% – 2 hour exam based on the 18 set works and some unfamiliar repertoire
WHAT CAN I DO TO PREPARE?
- Listen to any of the set works on the list above and familiarise yourself with the style and artist.
- Brush up on your theory especially notes, keys and chords.
- Practice your instrument and learn a piece that shows off your skills.
- Try to compose a new piece or idea using your instrument or computer software.