“What kind of student is this course suitable for?
Anyone who has a keen interest in creating and listening to different styles of music and who wishes to broaden their experience and deepen their understanding of both live and recorded music. It is useful to have taken music at GCSE level, but this is not essential as long as you can already play a musical instrument to grade 5 standard, read notation and have some understanding of music theory. The A level course will be taught over two years.
What will I learn on this A level course?
The course presents performing, composing, listening and analytical skills in almost equal measure. You will improve your skills in performing and composing in a range of styles. You will listen to and analyse a wide variety of music and develop a more informed appreciation of how and why it was written and/or performed.
The A level qualification consists of the following three units and are all externally assessed:
Unit 1: Performing 30%
You will perform:
· a minimum of one piece, performed live and uninterrupted as a recital in front of an audience, during the second year of your course
· performance can be solo or as part of an ensemble
· total performance time across the recital must be a minimum of 8 minutes of Grade 6+ standard music
Unit 2: Composing 30%
Students must submit:
- two compositions (both notated using Sibelius), of a combined duration of at least six minutes
- one composition to a brief set by Pearson or a free composition, and one harmonisation of a Bach Chorale, set by Pearson
Unit 3: Developing Musical Understanding 40%
You will sit a listening/written exam including a musical dictation, listening questions based on aspects from set works and essay questions, one based on an unfamiliar piece and the second on one of the set works.
The set works will be taken from the following categories:
Vocal, Instrumental, Music for Film, Popular Music and Jazz, Fusions and New Directions
Grade 7 in GCSE Music or Grade 5 practical as a singer or instrumentalist and Grade 5 theory guarantees a place on this course.
Please note that applicants must also meet our overall entry requirements of scoring at least a total of 42 points (simply add up all your GCSE grades) and achieve a Grade 4 or higher in both English Language and Mathematics.
You could take this course to complement other advanced level courses or to prepare for the A2 part of an Advanced GCE in Music, which could lead onto higher education to study Music related courses or more general higher education courses. With further training, you could go into a job related to Music such as a Composer, Musician, Sound Technician, Teacher, Arts Administrator or you may wish to use your music ability for recreational purposes. You could also go straight into employment as the GCE is a recognised qualification that will provide you with the skills, understanding and knowledge to access a music related career or seek employment in lots of other industries.