A Level Music

What will I study?
A Level Music builds on the three essential components which are studied throughout the Secondary Curriculum: Performing, Composing and Listening and Appraising. The course is designed to build on what students have learnt at GCSE and it is an excellent opportunity for students to put their musical skills to use in an academic and practical way. Throughout the course, students study music from different eras including the vocal music of Bach and Mozart, instrumental music from Berlioz and Vivaldi, music for Film, popular music, including jazz, and music of the avant-garde 20th century. Students also study compositional techniques in set styles and will be expected to perform a range of repertoire in front of a live audience.

Year 12 and 13

  • Unit 1: Performing 30% – Students perform one or more pieces in a concert lasting a minimum of 8 minutes.
  • Unit 2: Composing 30% – This is organized in two parts:  A composition either to a brief or a free composition and a technical study based on an arrangement of a melody or a chorale in the style of J S Bach. Both parts must last in total at least 6 minutes.
  • Unit 3: Appraising 40% – A two hour examination in two parts. This exam covers a wide range of music genres and styles, each with three set works.

How will I be assessed?
Performance (30%) – completed during the course and externally examined.
Composition (30%) – completed during the course and externally examined
Appraising exam (40%) – externally examined

What do I need to study the course?
GCSE Grade 6 or above in Music (if taken). Playing an instrument/singing to Grade 5 standard is essential. Students who believe they are at this standard but have not yet passed the exam must enquire instead. Students need to be able to read stave notation (treble and/or bass/clef) fluently. An interest in, and an open minded approach to, all styles of music, as well as an ability to compose and write about music (to GCSE standard) is useful.

Where will A Level Music lead me?
​Students who have studied Music at Holy Cross Sixth Form have gone on to study Music, Music Performance, Music Production, Music Teacher QTS and Musical Theatre at universities and conservatoires.  Relevant careers include performing and media work – there is an increasing demand for music of all types for broadcasting on radio, TV and the internet and, therefore, a number of career opportunities in the areas of presenting, writing
(for computer games) and in music technology generally.  Professions also include Music Business Management (organising performances, contracts, rehearsals etc.), Music Therapist, Teaching, Arts Administration and publishing.