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A-level MusicApply Now »

Note - you only need to make one application for A-levels. You can specify the additional A-Levels you wish to study when you fill out the application form

Course Image
Level: 3

Location: Joseph Wright Centre

Years: 2

Interview: Y

Course Summary

Music is constantly evolving, inspiring creativity and expression in a way that no other subject can.

A-level Music brings listening, performance and composition to life in new and engaging ways, and links to the world around us like never before.

This qualification is linear. Linear means that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessments at the end of the course.

Entry requirements

You will need at least five GCSEs at grade 4 [C] or above, including English Language at grade 5 [C/B] and Maths at grade 5 [C/B or above].  Ideally, you should have Music grade 5 or above.

Course Content

A-level Music focuses on developing and applying musical knowledge, understanding and skills to enable you to form a personal and meaningful relationship with music. You will be encouraged to engage critically and creatively with a wide range of music and musical contexts, and reflect on how music is used in the expression of personal and collective identities.

The course aims to develop your own strengths and interests, encourage lifelong learning and provide access to higher education and university degree courses in music and music-related subjects as well as music-related and other careers.

The subject content is divided into three components:

Appraising music

Students will be assessed on their ability to analyse and evaluate the music heard in the exam and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of musical elements and musical language to make critical judgements.

Performance

Each student must select, following discussion with their teacher, the piece or pieces that the student will perform during the assessment. The performance must meet the specified duration of ten minutes.

Composition

Each student must compose two pieces. One composition must be in response to an externally set brief and the other composition is freely composed by the student.

How will I be assessed?

Component 1: Appraising music

What is assessed:

  • Listening
  • Analysis
  • Contextual understanding

How it is assessed:

  • Exam paper with listening and written questions using excerpts of music.

Questions:

  • Section A: Listening (56 marks)
  • Section B: Analysis (34 marks)
  • Section C: Essay (30 marks)

This component is 40% of the A-level marks (120 marks).

Component 2: Performance

What is assessed:

  • Music performance

How it is assessed:

  • Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist or vocalist and/or music production (via technology).

Requirement:

  • A minimum of ten minutes of performance in total is required.

This component is 35% of the A-level marks (50 marks).

Component 3: Composition

What is assessed:

  • Composition

How it is assessed:

  • Composition 1: Composition to a brief (25 marks)
  • Composition 2: Free composition (25 marks)

Requirement:

  • A minimum of four and a half minutes of music in total is required.

This component is worth 25% of the A-level marks (50 marks).

Are there any additional costs or specialist equipment required?

A specialist list of resources will be supplied.

What can I do after this course?

Further Study

The A-level Music course supports progression to higher education in music and related subjects, as well as providing you with a platform to inspire a lifelong interest and enjoyment of music.

Apply Now »

Note - you only need to make one application for A-levels. You can specify the additional A-Levels you wish to study when you fill out the application form

Did you find the course information on this page useful?

 

This course is run at the Joseph Wright Centre

About Joseph Wright Centre »

Emily Gray

Emily Gray

Peak Award Winner Emily now studying for master’s in Australia

Former Peak Award winner Emily Gray was motivated to achieve “more than she ever thought she was capable of” while studying for A levels at Derby College.   And, since leaving Joseph Wright Centre 10 years ago, she has quite literally gone a long way – to university in Melbourne, Australia, to take a Master of Education degree in Applied Behaviour Analysis.   Now 27, Emily received a Peak Award for Academic Studies after performing well in her sociology, history and psychology A levels and EPQ, the Extended Project Qualification.   While on her psychology degree course at the University of Leeds, Emily embarked on a study year at Monash University in Melbourne.   And, since graduating, she has taught English in Peru, volunteered and worked in Sri Lanka and travelled in Australia before settling in Melbourne with her partner.   Currently studying for her master’s at Monash University, Emily also works as a site manager at a centre-based intervention service based on the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) for pre-school aged children on the autism spectrum.   She ultimately wants to become a clinical psychologist or clinical director of an agency providing ABA.   Commenting on her Peak Award in 2009, Emily added that it was “really unexpected and a huge honour.” She included the award in her CV and found it was “something she was able to talk about in interviews.”            

My lecturers were fantastic!  They were really passionate about their subject, particularly psychology lecturer Glyn Pickering, who motivated me and pushed me to achieve more than I thought I was capable of.


I also got great support at Derby College in applying for university and higher education. I was able to go on a residential trip to experience Oxford University, and received specialist and individual help with my application, personal statement and interview preparation.

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