Resources & Facilities
A wide range of instruments suitable for classical, popular and world music. A suite of PCs equipped with Sibelius 7 and a small number of standalone iMacs equipped with GarageBand and Logic Pro X. A wide range of music technology including microphones and sound mixers.
The course comprises a 2-hour, externally assessed, written examination and two practical, non-examined components that are assessed by your teacher and moderated externally.
Component 1: Performing (30%)
For this component, students have the opportunity to give a public recital. They can perform one or more pieces as either a solo or as part of an ensemble, providing the total duration is no less than 8 minutes.
Component 2: Composing (30%)
This component of the course allows students to write two original pieces of music, one of which is in response to a given brief related to the areas of study in component 3 and must be at least a minute in duration. The other, free composition, must be at least 4 minutes long.
The combined duration of the two pieces must be at least 6 minutes.
Component 3: Appraising (40%)
In the written exam, students will demonstrate their understanding of the musical elements, contexts and language surrounding set works from the six areas of study:
• Vocal Music
• Instrumental Music
• Music for Film
• Popular Music and Jazz
• New Directions
They will also demonstrate their ability to apply this knowledge to unfamiliar works.
The paper comprises two sections: A and B. In section A, students respond to three questions related to the set works and complete one melodic/rhythmic dictation exercise. In section B, students write two extended responses as essays. The first requires students to draw links between the set works and an unfamiliar extract of music. The second is a choice of three questions, the response to which will be an evaluation of the use of the musical elements, contexts and language of one set work.
Where will it lead to?
According to the business community, the ‘essential skills for success in today’s world [are] critical thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration.’ (Partnership for 21st Century Learning [P21], 2015). As such, studying music at A level can open doors to limitless opportunities. However, it is a requirement for undergraduate music study at universities and conservatoires as well as a well-respected alongside other options for studying other degrees.
Typical career progressions could lead to a job as a music therapist, musician, private music teacher or school teacher, sound technician, broadcasting/film/video roles, arts administrator, broadcast engineer, community arts worker, event manager, radio broadcast assistant, radio producer or theatre stage manager, to name just a few.