The Edexcel A level is a challenging yet exciting and stimulating qualification, that aims to develop the three musical disciplines of performance, composition and listening and understanding. Although an academic qualification at its core, the course will suit any student with a passion for studying music of a range of styles and genres.
Course Content and Assessment
A Level Music
Component 1: Performing Music (30%)
Students must prepare, rehearse and present an 8 minute public recital on their chosen instrument. The performance can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, or improvising.
Component 2: Composing Music (30%)
For this unit, student must extend their compositional skills and produce two compositions. One will be a short technical study based on knowledge and awareness of four-part harmony writing in the style of J.S. Bach. The other will be a 4 minute creative composition in response to a chosen brief. Examples of composition briefs include: “Compose the title music for a science fiction action film”.
“Compose a piece for a string quartet that is based around an East European folk melody.”
“Compose a piece of music for a jazz musician to play at a live concert as an encore.”
“Compose a song using a poem of your choice for use as opening music for a conference about the protection of the environment.”
Component 3: Appraisal (40%)
For this unit, students will study a wide range of set pieces of music including extracts from the following works:
‘The Magic Flute’ - Mozart ‘Concerto in D minor, Op.3’ - Vivaldi ‘Symphonie Fantastique’ - Berlioz
‘Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl’ - Badelt ‘Revolver’ (Album) – The Beatles
‘War Requiem’ - Britten
Students will gain an in-depth understanding of each of the set pieces as well as a broader awareness of related compositions and stylistic movements.
Knowledge will be assessed through a two hour written paper which demands both essay writing as well as aural analysis skills.
Extending Your Experience
Although visiting live music concerts is not a core feature of the A Level Music course, opportunities will be provided for students to see a range of musical performances
in order to widen their awareness and understanding of different styles and genres of music.
Huish Episcopi also runs a large number of extra-curricular music activities enabling students to develop their performance skills further. There is an annual Musical Production in which A level students are expected to participate.
The Music Department also runs a biannual European Tour for senior students to further extend their performance experiences.
5 GCSE’s or equivalent (grades 6 or above). Ability to play an instrument to grade 6 standard of above. Grade 6 or above in GCSE music.
Where will this course take me?
On completion of the A level music qualification, the next logical step would be a degree course. Students can choose to continue with the academic study of music at a University, or to specialise in instrumental performance or composition at a specialist Music College. For students not wishing to continue with music at Higher Education, A level music is a well- recognised and respected qualification by both employers and higher education institutions.