What Will I Study?

The A Level is made up of 3 units.

Unit 1 - Appraising Music:

There are seven Areas of Study, as follows:

1. Western Classical Tradition 1650-1910 (compulsory);
2. Pop Music;
3. Music for Media;
4. Music for Theatre;
5. Jazz;
6. Contemporary Traditional Music;
7. Art Music since 1910.

Students must study Area of Study 1: Western Classical Tradition 1650-1910 and a choice of two from Areas of Study 2-7.

Area of Study 1 includes:

  • Baroque: the solo concerto;
  • Classical: the operas of Mozart;
  • Romantic: the piano music of Chopin, Brahms and Grieg.

Unit 2 - Performance:

Students must be able to perform music using one or both of the following ways:

  • Instrumental / vocal: as a soloist, and / or as part of an ensemble;
  • Production: via music technology;
  • Students must perform for a minimum of 10 minutes and a maximum of 12 minutes in total.

Unit 3 - Composition:

Students must learn how to develop musical ideas and compose music that is musically convincing through two compositions. One must be in response to an externally set Brief (Composition 1) and the other a Free Composition (Composition 2). The combined duration of the compositions must be a minimum of four and half minutes, and a maximum of six minutes. Students must be able to compose music for one or both of the following:

  • Instrumental/vocal: produce notated score, written accounts and/or lead sheet by traditional means or by using music software as appropriate;
  • Production: generated entirely digitally, by using music software, without notated score but with accompanying annotation.

How Will I Be Assessed?

Unit 1 - 40%

Examination paper with listening and written questions, using excerpts of music.

Questions focus on:

  • Section A: Listening (56 marks);
  • Section B: Analysis (34 marks);
  • Section C: Essay (30 marks).

Unit 2 - 35%

Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist, or vocalist and/or music production (via technology). A minimum of ten minutes and maximum 12 minutes of performance in total is required. (50 marks).

Unit 3 - 25%

  • Composition 1: Composition to a Brief (25 marks);
  • Composition 2: Free Composition (25 marks);
  • A minimum of four and a half minutes of music in total is required (no more than six minutes).

What Will I Need?

All music scores will be provided. However, if you are expecting to go on to study Music in Higher Education, you may find it useful to purchase your own copy of scores. You will be expected to buy your own music for the purposes of performances.

What Can This Subject Lead To/Prepare Me For?

Higher Education Music courses at Music Conservatoires or University Departments. Ultimately this could lead to careers as a performer with orchestras and choirs, teaching, studio work, music retail, music therapy, music media and much more.

Entry Requirements

At least a grade 6 in Music (or Grade 5 Theory/instrument) and four other GCSEs at grade 4 or above.

Good ICT skills will be necessary if you wish to use music technology for performance or composition. Students must be able to read music.

Thinking Of Becoming A Teacher?

Apply Today

Tollbar MAT Sixth Form College

Stephen Moon

Tollbar MAT Chief Executive

David J Hampson