Exam Board – Edexcel

Qualification – A Level H543

Entry requirements – GCSE grade B n music, plus grade 5 in English and maths

Course specification

The A Level music course aims to foster and develop a lifelong appreciation of music, one of the most personal forms of self-expression. This is delivered through activities which combine the
three main areas of performance, composition and appraisal.

“Music is one of the most challenging and yet enjoyable subjects I study at A Level. It’s like learning to speak a new language that you use to express yourself in a way that feels really immediate with an audience.”

– Student

A Level music is the point at which the bonnet is lifted and we begin to look at the engine in close detail. You will begin to appreciate why your favourite pieces of music mean so much to you simply through gaining an understanding of how composers invent and develop ideas, manipulate harmony and organise their music into coherent sections in order to communicate most effectively with the listener.

Once your analytical skills have been sharpened through listening, you will then go on to apply what you have learned in your own compositions.

As an instrumentalist or singer, you will have the opportunity to develop yourself both technically and musically through increased commitment to your chosen instrument and more frequent performances throughout the year.

Is music suitable for me at A Level?

The answer to this question is yes if you identify music as an important part of your daily life. It’s not what you do – it’s what you are! Yes, if you are prepared to be open minded with regard to extending your studies beyond your usual listening and performance experiences. Yes, if you are willing to seek out, or continue with, high quality instrument-specific tuition, either privately or via the service provided by private music teachers at the academy. Yes, if you are already operating at a grade B or better standard at GCSE level. Yes, if you are keen to develop as a composer.

Year 1

Performance: 30%
A performance programme of 6 minutes on your chosen instrument or voice either solo or as an ensemble.

Composition: 30%
Students must compose two pieces; one composition to a brief set by the examination board and one self-determined brief.

Appraisal: 40%
This is a written exam of 90 minutes testing knowledge and understanding of musical elements, contexts and language.

The three units in year two are essentially a development of the work covered in year 1. The units are:

A public performance of 8 minutes either solo or as an ensemble

Two compositions of a combined length of 6 minutes

A 2-hour written paper based on given areas of study. Aural skills and extended prose are examined

What doors does this open up for me?

The creative industries are a huge part of the UK economy and an A level in music demonstrates the character of someone with self-discipline, good communication skills, strong work ethic and creativity. From performing, composing and event management to teaching, publishing and marketing, the opportunities for the budding musician are many and varied.

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Tuxford Academy