Examination Body: AQA

A Level Music will suit students who are performers and composers as well as those who have a strong academic interest in the history and theory of music. The course blends practical activity with strong academic and historical discipline, as well as giving insight into the deeper theory of how and why human beings make music.

The course builds upon the foundation of GCSE although strong performers need not have studied music academically before. Students are expected to develop their performance and composition skills (including a detailed study of harmony), culminating in a portfolio of coursework which is worth up to 55% of the final mark.

In addition a variety of compulsory and optional topics, covering a wide range of classical and popular music, are analysed in great detail. Students study musical styles from several different historical periods (e.g. the Baroque solo concerto, the operas of Mozart) and the present day (e.g. Music Theatre) and evaluate how music has influenced, and been influenced by, society.

Entry Requirements

6 at GCSE Music or at least ABRSM Grade 6 on any instrument or voice.

Delivery and assessment

There are three main components:

  •  Analysis and Contextual Understanding: The areas of study provide a focus for students to develop listening skills and develop an in-depth knowledge and understanding of musical elements, musical contexts and musical language.
  • Performing: Students are expected to give a recital including no less than 10 minutes of music in the second year of the course. This performance can be as a soloist on any instrument (or voice) and/or in an ensemble.
  • Composition: Students will submit two compositions at the end of the two year course. The first composition is usually a freely chosen project. The second is in response to a set brief and is usually an harmonic exercise in the style of J.S. Bach. The composition portfolio must be longer than four and a half minutes in total.