A Level Music
In Music A Level students follow the Eduqas syllabus. This board has been chosen as it offers a great deal of flexibility in terms of subject content and is the only board to offer a live recital option.
Students may choose to study for an AS qualification over one or two years or for an A2 qualification over two years.
The three main sections of the course are Performance, Composition and Listening.
Students prepare for a recital with their instrumental or vocal teacher. The standard attained prior to the recital should be around ABRSM Grade VI. The recital may be on any instrument or voice and in any genre.
The first composition is a free composition and lasts around three minutes. Compositional techniques are taught as part of the course and students are shown how to refine their work. The second composition is written to a choice of briefs set by the exam board.
The ‘Listening and Appraisal’ part of the course has one compulsory section and two sections which are chosen by the student or teacher. The compulsory element focuses on the development of the symphony from 1750 to 1900 through the study of Haydn’s Symphony 104 and Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony.
This year the selected topic is ‘Music Theatre’ and students are studying works such as ‘West Side Story’, ‘Wicked’ and ‘Into the Woods’.
The final topic can be chosen from twentieth or twenty first century music.
Exams and Assessment
Performance. The student chooses the weighting, either 35% or 25% Composition. The student chooses the weighting according to their option for performance. Listening and Appraisal. This is worth 40% and is assessed in an examination lasting 2 hours 15 minutes.
Teachers and Teaching
Teachers in the department are experienced and specialised. The Director of Music has had a career as a principal musician in London orchestras and has published a book as well as being invited to give lectures in America and gaining a national award for services to music.
University Courses and Careers
An A Level in Music can lead to further study at universities or conservatoires. Students may select a course according to their interests and can specialise in Performance, Music Technology, Composition, Ethno-Musicology and many other aspects of music. The top universities consider music to be a very academic subject and employers value musicians as they have excellent interpersonal skills as well as being organised and highly motivated from organising their time to practise an instrument.
Apart from the obvious careers such as performing, composing or teaching careers can include orchestral management, stage management, music librarian, music therapist, music publisher, curator of manuscripts and many others.