WHY SHOULD I STUDY A LEVEL MUSIC?
This is a course for anyone who is enthusiastic about improving their practical music skills, learning about music from different periods and expressing themselves through music. The course involves performance, composition and a listening examination. Students will be given the opportunity to participate in a range of ensemble practical work, alongside free instrumental or vocal tuition.
The course involves practical use of instruments and voices and students are given the opportunity to listen to a wide range of music. Students will also be able to choose a number of options to suit their strengths and full support is given to teach skills and develop a range of interests in music. Music Technology is used to assist in the learning process, especially in the compositional tasks, where students will learn how to use the software notation program: Sibelius.
The Music department also runs Theory of Music classes for Grades 5-8 Theory of Music.
It is possible for a student to take Music Technology (A Level) alongside this course and this is a desirable combination for students with a strong commitment to future progression in the field of music.
Any music student at the College will be joining a large and vibrant musical culture, involving everything from orchestras to rock bands to record labels. For example, there are a range of ensembles at the College including a choir, an orchestra, a concert band and a jazz band. These provide opportunities for students to complete coursework as well as the satisfaction and experience of performing in college concerts. The college has great facilities for music students, including five practice rooms, each containing a piano, and three recording studios. All music students receive free professional 1:1 tuition on their voice/instrument.
The Music Department organises trips to music events, such as concerts and operas.
Music students can take the opportunity to pursue a related Extended Project or a Gold Arts Award.
A LEVEL COURSE CONTENT
Component 1: Performing 30%
Performing as a soloist and/or in ensembles; any instrument or voice is acceptable as part of an 8 - minute assessed performance.
Component 2: Composing 30%
Total of two compositions with a combined length of a minimum of 6 minutes. The compositions will be written either to a chosen brief or as a free composition, in addition to completing a Bach Chorale exercise.
Component 3: Appraising 40%
One written paper of 2 hours. One audio CD containing extracts to accompany questions on the paper will be provided per student.
EXAMPLE OF EXAM QUESTIONS
Evaluate the use of structure, harmony and texture in Berlioz’s “Symphonie Fantastique” Relate your discussion to other relevant works.
PROGRESSION ONTO YEAR 2
Progression to the second year of this A Level course will be dependent on having made satisfactory progress in the first year of the course, including achieving at least an E grade in a formal late spring assessment, as well as the maintenance of a good level of attendance and commitment throughout the year.
FINAL ASSESSMENT AT END OF YEAR 2
Performance coursework marked externally – 30% of A Level marks.
Composition coursework marked externally – 30% of A Level marks.
Examination marked externally – 40% of A Level marks.
MINIMUM ENTRY CRITERIA
Standard College entry requirements and a minimum of:
Theory of Music (or passing a college theory test)
Grade 5 standard
Instrument or vocal (or passing a College audition)
GCSE English Language or English Literature
GCSE Music or a Merit in a BTEC Music course (if either taken)
Previous study of music is not essential but students taking this course should be at least Grade 5 standard on an instrument or voice. Students who have not taken a graded exam will be able to perform at an audition. Study of the Theory of Music is essential before starting this course. Students who do not have Grade 5 Theory of Music will take a theory test prior to enrolment to demonstrate that they can read music fluently.
WHAT CAN I DO AFTER STUDYING A LEVEL MUSIC?
Music is considered an academic qualification and is therefore accepted for a very large number of courses at universities. It is considered vital for the further study of Music at university. Students who have taken this course are following careers as teachers, performers, composers, music therapists, music producers, lawyers and managers of artists.