Music A Level
A Level Exam Board: Edexcel
Candidates will normally have achieved a 7 or above in GCSE Music. They must be having tuition on their principle study instrument/voice and they will normally have attained Grade 6 standard (though may only have taken the Grade 5 exam) on this before entry in the Lower Sixth form. A good level of knowledge of music theory will be of great benefit.
Some who take A Level Music do so with the intention of going on to Higher Education in Music, either at University or one of the specialised music colleges. The A Level is, however, an acceptable subject choice for almost all humanities-based courses such as English, Law, History and Modern Languages, and in combination with Mathematics and Physics provides entry into Engineering Studio Music, Recording or Acoustics. It forms an ideal combination with other Arts based subjects, e.g., English and History. Previous candidates who have studied A Level Music have also gone on to read medicine at Russell Group universities. Due to the breadth of the A Level course and both creative and academic aspects, Music A Level is a well-regarded subject by top universities.
Structure of course:
Through a study of a wide and diverse range of musical genres, the A Level course provides candidates with a breadth of musical knowledge in preparation for higher education. The linear course allows pupils time to develop and extend their performance and composition skills, with all coursework being submitted for external assessment before the final exam in the summer of 2020.
Component 1: Performing
30% of the qualification
- A public performance of one or more pieces, performed as a recital.
- Performance can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music through the use of music technology.
- The total performance time across all pieces must be a minimum of 8 minutes.
Component 2: Composing
30% of the qualification
- Total of two compositions, one to a brief and one either free composition or also to a brief.
- One composition must be from either a list of briefs related to the areas of study, or a free composition, carrying 40 marks for this component. This composition must be a minimum of 4 minutes in duration.
- One composition must be from a list of briefs assessing compositional technique, carrying 20 marks for this component. This composition must be at least 1 minute in duration.
- Total time across both submissions must be a minimum of 6 minutes in duration.
Component 3: Appraising – Written examination: 2 hours
40% of the qualification
- Knowledge and understanding of musical elements, contexts and language.
- Application of knowledge through the context of six areas of study, (vocal music, instrumental music, music for film, pop music and jazz, fusions, new directions) each with three set works.
- The written exam consists of two sections: Section A (Areas of study and dictation) and Section B (Extended response).
It is expected that A Level students participate in more than one musical ensemble offered by the School. Students will also participate in one of the choirs in order to assist with the learning of more complex areas of the programme of study such as harmony and notation.
It is also expected that pupils purchase their own copies of the Edexcel A Level Anthology of Music as well as a Study Guide so that they can make annotations to aid their studies. This can be ordered by the pupil or by the school and put on their bill.