Exam Board: Edexcel

Entry Requirements: Grade 7 in music

What will you learn?

A-level music builds upon the GCSE offer and is structured in the same way. You will get the opportunity to deepen your understanding of the western musical tradition and get increased exposure to solo and ensemble playing.

  • Performance: A combination of solo and ensemble playing
  • Composition: Two compositions in a range of styles
  • Listening & Appraising: An academic exam based on details listening and analysis

What does the assessment look like?

The assessment is very similar to the GCSE course. You have to complete the following:

  1. A performance with a combination of solo and ensemble playing. This is slightly longer than the GCSE but very similar in style and range.
  2. Two compositions. One is in a style of your choice and the other links to a genre or area of study from the exam content.
  3. An exam that covers a range of musical styles from pop to western art music.

Choose this subject if you…

Fundamentally enjoy playing and writing music. If you enjoyed the GCSE course, then you will find a lot of comparisons. Remember, this is about expanding your horizons and gaining the currency that top universities are going to be looking for. There is a reason why Oxford and Cambridge are famous for their music departments!

What can an A-level in this subject lead to?

Literally anything. The best thing about music A-level is the respect that it generates. It doesn’t matter if you look at the qualifications of medics, physicists, chemists, engineers, lawyers, politicians, musicians, historians or geographers – the thing they all have in common is exposure to playing a musical instrument to a high level and more often than not, an A-level in the arts.

Recommended reading:

  • The Rest is Noise: Alex Ross
  • How Music Got Free: Stephen Witt
  • This is Your Brain on Music: Daniel Levitin