Miss A Davies – Director of Performing & Creative Arts
Mr Oliver Hickman
A Level music is taught in a purpose built classroom. We have fifteen PCs running Sibelius 6 and Cubase LX and a wide selection of electric bass guitars, acoustic guitars, electric guitars, keyboards, pianos, a range of percussion and two drum kits.
What do students study?
A Level music is an exciting, creative and challenging course designed for students to meet the demands of their future role as active citizens in employment and society in general, as well as for the possible further study of music and related areas.
The course is only suitable for candidates who play an instrument or sing to a high level of competence. Students should have a keen interest in creating and listening to different styles of music and enthusiasm to broaden their knowledge with in-depth, analytical study.
At Key Stage 5, the AS and A2 options follow the Edexcel music specification.
This is a popular, one or two year course that will:
- enable students to gain an entry qualification for a variety of courses in higher education
- develop students’ skills in composition, performance, arranging, listening and analysing
- focus on the study of set works from the Edexcel anthology of music
- require students to perform a range of material on their chosen instrument
- require students to compose a composition to a chosen brief
The AS year comprises three units of study:
Unit 1: Performing Music (30% of AS marks 15% of GCE marks)
This unit gives students the opportunity to perform as soloists or as part of an ensemble. Teachers and students can choose music in any style and any instrument is acceptable as part of a five/six minute assessed performance. Notated and/or improvised performances may be submitted.
Assessment: The performance is marked out of 40 and is and moderated by Edexcel.
Unit 2: Composing Music (30% of AS marks 15% of GCE marks)
This unit encourages students to develop their composition skills leading to the creation of a three-minute piece in response to a chosen brief. Students also write a CD sleeve note to describe aspects of their final composition and explain how other pieces of music have influenced it.
Assessment: Students choose one of four composition briefs as a basis for a three-minute composition. In addition to this, students will answer three questions to provide information that could be used for a CD sleeve note to accompany their composition.
The composition and sleeve notes must be completed under controlled conditions and is externally assessed.
Unit 3: Developing Musical Understanding (40% of AS marks 20% of GCE marks)
This unit focuses on listening to familiar music and understanding how it works. Set works from the anthology provide the focus for the first two sections, through listening and studying scores. In the third section, students use a score to identify harmonic and tonal features and then apply this knowledge in the completion of a short and simple passage for SATB.
Assessment: Students sit a two hour exam paper consisting of three sections:
- Section A: Listening (students answer questions based on set works)
- Section B: Investigating musical styles (students complete two essay style questions)
- Section C: Understanding Chords and lines
The A2 unit comprises a further three units of study:
Unit 4: Extended Performance (30% of A2 marks 15% of GCE marks)
This unit gives students the opportunity to extend their performance skills either as a solo performer or as part of an ensemble. Teachers and students can choose music in any style. The performance needs to last between 12 and 15 minute long. The student will need to deliver a performance of a balanced programme of music.
Assessment: The performance is assessed by the centre and moderated by Edexcel.
Unit 5: Composition and Technical Study (30% of A2 marks 15% of GCE marks)
This unit has two sections:
- Section A: Composition study which further develops students’ composition skills, leading to the creation of a final three minute piece in response to a chosen brief
- Section B: Technical study which builds on the knowledge and awareness of harmony gained in Unit 3 section C through the medium of pastiche studies.
Assessment: Edexcel publishes an exam paper for this unit each year.
- Section A contains four composition briefs from which students will select one as the basis for a three-minute composition.
- Section B contains the opening bars of four pieces of music. Students complete these openings in a specified style.
Unit 6: Further Musical Understanding (40% of A2 marks 20% of GCE marks)
This unit focuses on listening to music, familiar and unfamiliar, and understanding how it works. Set works from the anthology provide the focus for much of the unit. Students familiarise themselves with each work as a whole, before concentrating on important musical features, context and/or elements of continuity and change. Between works, students are required to listen to a wide range of unfamiliar music that relate to the two compulsory areas of study. Students learn how to compare and contrast pairs of excerpts, contextualise music and identify harmonic and tonal features.
Assessment: Students sit a two hour examination paper consisting of three sections.
- Section A: Aural analysis
- Section B: Music in context
- Section C: Continuity and change in instrumental music
Contact Mr Oliver Hickman for further information: