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A-Level

Music

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Music develops practical skills in performing and composing as well as much deeper engagement with music history, theory and analysis. The core repertoire studied is classical music from 1750–1930, plus some musical theatre, but students can also perform and compose in a wide range of other styles.

Exam Board

Eduqas (WJEC)

Entry Requirements

Two of the following three: Grade 5 level on instrument or voice, Knowledge of basic music theory (equivalent to ABRSM Grade 3), GCSE music grade 5.

Assessment

  • 60% Practical
  • 40% Written Exams
An introduction to Music Presentation About this course Pathways Information

What is music?

Music develops practical skills in performing and composing as well as much deeper engagement with music history, theory and analysis. The core repertoire studied is classical music from 1750–1930, plus some musical theatre, but students can also perform and compose in a wide range of other styles. 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.

 

What will I study?

You will learn to compose music in the style of Haydn and other classical composers supported by a detailed analysis of how this musical language works. In the second year you will develop your skills in free composition, writing music in any style of your choice. You will study the classical and romantic symphony, music of the early twentieth century and musical theatre repertoire by Schonberg, Sondheim and others. In the exam your knowledge will be tested through listening exercises, a range of analytical questions and an essay.

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.

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 and ‘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

 

Trips, visits and enrichments:

  • Heavily discounted music lessons
  • Trips to concerts both regionally and nationally
  • Be part of our extensive range of choirs, orchestras and other ensembles

 

What can it lead to?

Music students can choose to specialize in performance at a conservatoire or to take a more academic qualification at a university music department. In the last few years we have sent students to The Royal Northern College of Music, The Royal Academy of Music, Oxford, Manchester, Southampton, Birmingham and Cardiff Universities to study music. The academic content of music A level means that it is recognised as a useful preparation for a wide range of degree subjects. Music students have recently gone on to study humanities, languages, earth sciences and social sciences at Oxbridge as well as a range of prestigious Russell Group institutions.

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