Music - A level

What will I learn?

The course is designed to give you experiences in the three main musical disciplines of performing, composing and appraising.

You will develop your performance skills as a soloist as well as having opportunities to work within an ensemble. You will develop compositional techniques that you will apply in your own compositions. You will also develop your analytical skills through focusing on listening to music and gain a greater insight into how music works.

You will gain knowledge of good performance techniques and how to work effectively within an ensemble. To support your composition work, you will learn about the theory of music from scales to chord construction. You will also develop a greater knowledge about different genres of music through listening and analysing.

What skills do I need?

You should be able to play at least one instrument to at least grade 4. Most people who take this course will have completed BTEC Music at Key Stage 4.

How is the course graded?

  AS level (1 year) A level (2 years)

Minimum two pieces as a soloist, ensemble or both (30%).

One piece must link to one of the areas of study.

Approximately Grade 5. Assessed by a visiting examiner.

Minimum 3 pieces as a soloist, ensemble or both (35%).

Two pieces must link to different areas of study.

Approximately Grade 6. Assessed by a visiting examiner.


Two compositions, one must be in the Western Classical Style

4 ½ - 7 minutes

Worth 30%

Two compositions, one must be in the Western Classical Style

4 - 6 minutes

Worth 25%


AoSA: Western Classical Tradition (Haydn’s ‘London’ Symphony, movements 1 and 2)

AoSB: Rock and Pop (from 1960 – 1990)

1h30m exam (40%)

Same as AS, PLUS AoSF: Into the TwentyFirst Century (Asyla by Thomas Ades, String Quartet No. 2 by Sally Beamish)

2h15m exam (40%)

What is next for me after this course?

After successfully completing the course you will be able to go on to study at university level. Whilst an artistic and practical subject, music is recognised by universities as an academic A level and provides a good step towards degrees in a wide range of subject areas including sciences, mathematics, languages, humanities and arts. It is also a useful asset for those considering music industry roles such as A and R or promotion, as well as those who wish to pursue careers in composition or performance.