A Level: Music

Course title: Advanced GCE in Music

Exam board: Edexcel

Subject specific entry criteria: Grade 6 in GCSE Music or the ability to play an instrument and read music at Grade 5 level (ABRSM or equivalent). If you have not studied GCSE Music, you will need to be able to prove a performance level that is appropriate for A Level.

Course overview

The course is designed to give all students the opportunity to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills of music whatever their previous experience.

The course is made up of three components.

Component One: Performance

  • Total performance time of 8 minutes
  • Performance can be solo and/or ensemble.

We are able to support our students with 1:1 instrument tuition from a specialist musician.

Component Two: Composition

  • 2 compositions
  • 1 to set brief – minimum of 2 minutes
  • 1 free or to set brief – minimum of 2 minutes.

Together, total min of 4½ minutes

Component Three: Appraising

6 Areas of Study with 2 set works in each:

  • Vocal Music
  • Instrumental Music
  • Music for Film
  • Popular Music and Jazz
  • Fusions
  • New Directions
Assessment overview

Component One: Performance

  • 30% NEA
  • Total of 60 marks (12 marks available for difficulty of pieces)

Component Two: Composition

  • 30% NEA
  • Total of 60 marks
  • 2 pieces: 40 marks, 20 marks

Component Three: Appraising

  • 40% Exam
  • 1hour 30minutes
  • Total of 80 marks
Future progression
Progression to the further study of Music falls mainly into two pathways post-18: a traditional university-based music degree or a specialist music conservatoire. We work in partnership with arts organisations including the Royal Northern College of Music to support our students in accessing opportunities to progress at the highest level.
Potential careers
An A Level in music can open the doors to a career in many fields including: performing, composing, arranging and editing, publishing, recording and production, teaching and music therapy. There are also opportunities to work in music administration, journalism, marketing, engineering and arts management.
How to succeed in Music
You need to have a genuine interest in listening to diverse musical content. You need to be dedicated to practicing and developing on your instrument/voice. There is an expectation that you have weekly music lessons and that you can practice and compose independently. A keen interest in music through extra-curricular involvement in school orchestra, choirs and ensembles etc. is desirable.