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A Level music offers you the opportunity to develop as a performer and composer – practical work will account for 60% of your assessments. In addition, you will study both the nuts and bolts of how pieces of music are put together and their historical context. One of the exciting things about studying music is putting your theoretical knowledge to immediate practical use in your compositional work.

In this short video you can get a sense of what it is like to study music at King Eds. Further down the page you can find more details of the A level course.


Practical work

 The composing and performing parts of the course can be weighted to play to your individual strengths with one worth 25% and one 35%. You will be expected to play about 10 minutes worth of music for your final performance. The level of difficulty expected for this performance is about grade 6 equivalent.

 Composing at A level is a mixture of style composition - writing music in the style of other composers - and free composition, in which you have the freedom to develop your own musical language. At the end of the A level course you will submit a portfolio of two or three compositions.

Academic work

The remaining 40% of the course involves studying music in three main areas. You will be expected to complete listening exercises, analysis and write short essays to demonstrate your knowledge. Currently, the three areas we expect to study are: 

  • The Western Classical Tradition (Mozart, Haydn, Mendelssohn etc.). This music is the cornerstone of Classical music – sophisticated yet accessible it is great fun to hear, study and play.
  • Musical Theatre (e.g. Rogers, Sondheim, Schonberg and Lloyd-Webber). Twentieth century musicals are enduringly popular and form a standard repertoire of songs that continues to be influential to the present day.
  • Into the Twentieth Century (e.g. Debussy, Poulenc, Stravinsky) The music written in the first half of the twentieth century is varied and bold, with lots of styles from which students might take inspiration for their own compositions


What can it lead to?

Studying music at A Level gives you the power to understand music better as a performer, composer and listener. There are many courses available at universities and conservatoires, from which music graduates enter a diverse range of professions, both in and out of the world of music and the creative arts. Although A Level Music involves a lot of creative work, the theoretical study of music history and theory is sufficiently rigorous that it is accepted as a serious academic subject for entry to most university courses. Recent music students have gone on to study languages and humanities (and of course music) at Oxford and Cambridge, and an even wider range of courses, including sciences and social sciences, at prestigious Russell Group universities. Each year we also send a number of students to top conservatoires such as the RNCM, Birmingham Conservatoire and the Royal Academy of Music.

Click here for more detailed information about A level Music

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