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The study of Music at A Level involves not only performing but composing and the study of set works in different styles and genres as well. 

Music graduates have a wide range of career options available to them both inside and outside the industry, including: performer, teacher, administrator, songwriter, conductor, composer, recording engineer, manager, promoter, or music publisher.

There are also more jobs than ever in music business related areas, such as: careers in digital marketing, social media, PR, technology, label services, ticketing and merchandising. It is also common to find music graduates in consultancy, finance, law, banking and music therapy.

Course Content:

From September 2016 the course will be taught according to the AQA specification. This specification is designed to motivate and stretch students of all abilities, equipping them with the skills and experience to succeed and go on to further study. 

Music technology is fully integrated, and many areas of study have artists or composers who have written works in this format. Students can perform and compose using technology.

The specification appreciates all styles and genres, skills and instruments, catering for different learning styles and musical tastes. It incorporates the three core musical disciplines of performing, composing and appraising.

This qualification is linear, meaning that students will sit all their exams and submit all their non-exam assessment at the end of the course.

Component 1: Appraising Music

Students study a variety of set works of different styles and genres throughout the course, on which the examination is based.

This examination comprises 40% of the overall A Level and is assessed by means of a listening and written paper at the end of the year. The paper is made up of three sections:

Section A: Listening (56 marks)

Section B: Analysis (34 marks)

Section C: Essay (30 marks)

This paper is based on studying 3 areas of study from the following list:

  1. Western classical tradition 1650–1910 (compulsory)
  2. Pop music
  3. Music for media
  4. Music for theatre
  5. Jazz
  6. Contemporary traditional music
  7. Art music since 1910.

Students must study Area of study 1: Western classical tradition 1650–1910 and a choice of two from Areas of study 2–7.

Component 2: Performance

This component is worth 35% of the A Level marks

For top marks in this component, a standard of at least grade 7 is usually needed.

A minimum of ten minutes of performance in total is required (no more than 12 minutes)

This performance will be recorded and sent off to be externally marked by AQA examiners.

Component 3: Composition

This component is worth 25% of the A Level

Composition 1: Composition to a brief set by AQA.

Composition 2: Free composition in any style.

The compositions are sent off to be externally marked by AQA examiners.

Trips and Extra-Curricular Activities:

  • Students are encouraged to perform regularly and join ensembles inside and outside of school.
  • There are many musical ensembles on offer, including orchestra, choirs and the joint KCTS.
  • There are many opportunities for students to perform during the school year, such as informal lunchtime concerts, the Spring Concert and whole school events such as Christmas Carols and Speech Day.
  • There are trips organised to concerts and enrichment activities in London.

Post A Level Opportunity:

Music can be studied alongside any other subject.  It combines creative, practical and analytical skills, which will support a range of careers and university courses. 

Destinations for Music in recent years have included:

  • Sheffield University: Music and French
  • Cardiff University: Music
  • Homerton College, University of Cambridge: Music with a choral scholarship
  • Berkeley College, Boston: Music
  • King’s College, University of London: Music
  • University of Birmingham: Music
  • Royal Holloway, University of London: Music and Spanish
  • Durham University : Music



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