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Course Name: Music A Level
Exam Board: AQA

Course Specification

What will you study?

  • Students will study three components:
  • Component 1: Performing    (35%)    10 min recital. 
  • Component 2: Composition    (25%)     one free choice  /12.5 and one set technical brief  /12.5
  • Component 3: Appraising    (40%) Three Areas of Study: Western classical music and two choices including 'Pop Music',  'Jazz' and 'Music since 1910'. The ability to appraise unfamiliar pieces is also developed

What skills will you develop?

By the end of the course students will have achieved:

  • An extended opportunity for creativity, expression and performance
  • An increased appreciation of music through a deeper contextual understanding of music and increased analytical skills 
  • Improved musical and transferable skills such as: analysis, ensemble, coordination, commitment, discipline, self-confidence, imagination and creative expression

As a result, A Level Music has always been well regarded by universities and employers

How will you be assessed?


Students to perform a solo and/or ensemble as an instrumentalist, or vocalist and/or music production (via technology).  The minimum requirement is a 10 minute continuous recital. This is performed and recorded in advance of the written appraising exam and is externally marked.


Students to submit two compositions one in response to a brief and one free. A minimum of 4.5 minutes combined total is required. Both will be recorded and sent for external marking in advance of the written appraising exam.


Students to sit a 2.5 hour exam paper with listening and written questions using excerpts of music.  Section A: Listening (56 marks),- Unfamiliar pieces - but linked to the styles covered in the Areas of Study. Short answer (and some short essay answers) short melodic/rhythmic dictation Section B:  analysis (34 marks) -  Questions on pieces from the Area of Study 1 (classical) Section C:  Essay (30 Marks) - . An essay evaluating some musical elements from two composers from one of the other Areas of Study (you chose which). This component is 40% of A Level marks (120 marks)

The three Areas of Study cover classical music between 1650 and today, as well as selected pop music of the 20th and 21st century. 

This includes: Stevie Wonder, Muse, Vivaldi, Chopin, Mozart, Shostakovich, James Macmillan