A Level Music

Why should I study Music?

The course aims to:

  1. Encourage students to extend their ability to communicate through Music and take part in
    music making

  2. Encourage an involvement in and appreciation of the diverse and dynamic nature of Music, promoting a love of music which will last a lifetime

  3. Encourage the development of particular strengths and interests, which can lead to life-long learning and provide access to music-related careers

  4. Provide a worthwhile and satisfying course of study which broadens experience, develops imagination, fosters creativity and promotes personal and social development.

The A2 in Music can lead to further study in Music or Performing Arts. Equally, this subject is often a secondary component in either Arts or Science based courses. Career possibilities for musicians are as varied as the subject itself. Employers value musicians as good ‘team players’, as people capable both of understanding and interpreting complex instructions and of learning and using precise technical vocabulary. A surprising number of doctors and lawyers have Music in their academic background.

What will I need to study Music?

Music at A Level builds on the Listening, Performing and Composing skills developed at GCSE. We expect pupils to have achieved at least an A grade at GCSE or an equivalent level via their individual instrumental/vocal studies. What is required is an interest in and commitment to the subject, ability as a performer and knowledge of music theory to Grade 5 standard and a similar fluency in music reading. It is not necessary to have taken either practical or theory exams, but the skills and knowledge must be in place.

Structure and Outline of the course:

The three key elements are performing, composing and appraising.

Performing is worth 30% and students have to perform for a minimum of eight minutes. 

Composing is worth 30%, with students composing two pieces. One can be in any style, with the other being in response to a brief set by the board. Their combined duration must be at least six minutes.

Appraising is worth 40% and content has been given in terms of musical elements, contexts and language. There will be three Areas of Study covering a wide range of styles and genres, with at least one based in Western Classical Music [WCM] composed between 1650 and 1910, and one that is not based in WCM but may have its roots in the world or contemporary music tradition. There will be also a series of aural/listening questions based on unfamiliar music. 

Method of Assessment:

Performing - assessed by the teacher and moderated externally by the board

Composing and Appraising – assessed externally by the board

Student Comments:

“I have enjoyed the variety of the Music course and have appreciated the chance to study pieces and styles which I might otherwise have missed.”

“By far my most enjoyable A Level” (from someone who went on to study Medicine)

Tap here to discover more about Putney High School