Course Outline

MusicProspectus 01You should be a dedicated musician, willing to do lots of practice and performance and listen to a wide range of music, from classical to film to popular. The course is designed to develop students’ musical skill and understanding in terms of performing, composing and listening to and appreciating music from a wide range of genre. We follow the full 2-year course with all examinations and coursework being submitted at the end of the two-year course. Thus, there are 3 units to follow.

Component 1 Performing (30% of total A level mark)

This unit requires you to build on earlier skills by performing for a total of eight minutes as a soloist and/or as part of an ensemble in a musical style of your choice. You can perform using any instrument or voice.

Component 2 Composition (30% of total A level mark)

This unit has two sections; composition and a technical study. The composition section builds on skills developed earlier, leading to the creation of a 4 minute minimum piece of music in response to a free or free choice brief. The technical study section needs to be a minimum of one minute in length. A total time of six minutes is required for both pieces.

Component 3 Appraising (40% of total A level mark)

This section continues to focus on listening to both familiar and unfamiliar music and analysing how it works. You will study set works from a music anthology, identifying features of the work. You will be required to write two essays as well as other questions in this part of the examination and it will assessed by a two hour exam.

Entrance requirements and skills needed

You will need the standard 6th Form requirements for entry in addition to the music requirements that can be seen there. Numerous Physics and Music degrees where both subjects need to be studied at A level, for example Astrophysics and Music Technology or Physics with Music.


MusicA level 01

In order to remain competitive, it is strongly recommended that a professional instrumental/vocal teacher guide you through the coursework requirements for component 1: Performing.

The A Level exam is 30% performance coursework, 30% composition coursework and 40% written exam. Further information is contained in the Course Outline described earlier. The style and genres of music required to be studied in component 3 range from Vocal and instrumental music, Music for Film and Popular music and Jazz and Fusions and New Directions. Composers include J. S. Bach, Mozart, Berlioz, Rachel Portman, The Beatles, Kate Bush, Debussy, John Cage, Stravinsky and Anoushka Shankar.


Why study music?

Music generates billions of pounds each year with a vibrant industry in many different areas of society. There are also countless music careers that one can pursue with this academic subject’s qualification. 

  • Music Performance (symphony orchestras, operas, jazz, rock, pop, theatre etc.)
  • Music Education (teaching in schools, teaching privately)
  • Music Therapy (using music as an aid to healing)
  • Music Administration (managing symphonies orchestras, music societies, rock stars, etc)
  • Composition (classical, rock, country, film music, advertising, etc.)
  • Music Software Development including games
  • Electronic Musical Instrument Engineering
  • Recording Engineering including mixing, recording, sampling, building and repairing of electronic devices
  • Record Production, Artist and Repertoire (A&R) and promotion
  • Retail Music (selling music, instruments, and accessories)
  • Film Music and Underscoring Orchestration and Editing
  • Music Publishing and Business
  • Music app composition for phones and tablets
  • Computer Game music composition

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