Music - 6th Form

Music A level is designed for students who love music; enjoy studying music, and who wish to take their skills, knowledge and understanding to a higher level. Students who wish to pursue an A level music course should expect to be performing at a minimum standard equivalent to Grade 5 of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.

The A level syllabus builds progressively from the new GCSE syllabus, allowing both AS and A2 students to further experience the three fundamental musical disciplines of performing, composing (including the study of harmony) and listening and appraising. The AS units alone can offer a broad and satisfying experience for those who want to conclude their musical studies at this point. The full GCE course (AS and A2) is excellent preparation for both higher education courses in music and for careers in which music is important, but is equally valuable for non-specialists as a second or third area of study.

Music EDEXCEL AS/A2: 8MUO1/9MUO1

Year 12

AS Unit 1: Performing Music
30% of total AS marks, 15% of total A Level marks
Content summary: This unit gives students the opportunities to perform as soloists and/or as part of an ensemble. Students can choose music in any style. Any instrument(s) and/or voice(s) are acceptable as part of a five-six minute assessed performance. Notated and/or improvised performances may be submitted. Assessment: The music performed is assessed by the centre and moderated by Edexcel.
AS Unit 2: Composing
30% of total AS marks, 15% of total A Level marks
Content summary: This unit encourages students to develop their composition skills leading to the creation of a three-minute piece in response to a chosen brief. Students also write a CD sleeve note to describe aspects of their final composition and explain how other pieces of music have influenced it. Assessment: The composition and CD sleeve note will be externally assessed.
AS Unit 3: Developing Musical Understanding
40% of total AS marks, 20% of total A Level marks
Content summary: This unit focuses on listening to familiar music and understanding how it works. Set works from the anthology provide the focus for the first two sections, through listening and studying scores. In the third section, students use a score to identify harmonic and tonal features and then apply this knowledge in the completion of a short and simple passage for SATB. Assessment: Assessment is through a 2-hour examination paper set and marked by the board.

Year 13

A2 Unit 4: Extended Performance
30% of total AS marks, 15% of total A Level marks
Content summary: This unit gives students opportunities to extend their performance skills as soloists and/or as part of an ensemble. Students can choose music in any style. Any instrument(s) and/or voice(s) are acceptable as part of a 12-15 minute assessed performance of a balanced programme of music. Notated and/or improvised performances may be submitted. Assessment: The music performed assessed by the centre and moderated by the board.
A2 Unit 5: Composition and Technical Study
30% of total AS marks, 15% of total A Level marks
Content summary: This unit has two sections: composition and technical study. The composition section further develops students' composition skills, leading to the creation of a final three-minute piece in response to a chosen brief. The technical study section builds on the knowledge and awareness of harmony gained in Unit 3 through the medium of pastiche studies. Students must complete two tasks in this unit choosing either one composition and one technical study or two compositions or two technical studies. Assessment: The composition and technical study will be externally assessed.
AS Unit 6: Developing Musical Understanding
40% of total AS marks, 20% of total A Level marks
Content summary: This unit focuses on listening to music, familiar and unfamiliar, and understanding how it works. Set works from the anthology provide the focus for much of the unit. Between works students will also listen to a wide range of unfamiliar music which relates to the two compulsory areas of study. They will learn how to compare and contrast pairs of excerpts, contextualise music and identify harmonic and tonal features. Assessment: Assessment is through a 2 hour examination paper set and marked by Edexcel.

Careers in Music

Music is a thriving industry and employment opportunities for musicians in education, business and performance are constantly increasing. Some of these include: composing, conducting, performing, arranging, film/video production, music history, musicology, ethnomusicology, broadcasting, advertising, music librarian, teacher/professor, copyist, lawyer, lyricist, publisher, journalism/reviewer, music administration, audio engineering, technician, music therapy, public relations.

'Music is a higher revelation than all wisdom and philosophy.
Music is the electrical soil in which the spirit lives, thinks and invents.'
Ludwig van Beethoven