Faculty : Creative Arts- Music

 Level: A Level

 Examination Board  / website : AQA

 Assessment Details :

Component 1 Appraising Music 40%

Component 2 Performance 35%

Component 3 Composition 25%

Practical Examinations (Unit titles, duration, % weighting, dates):

Unit Title: Music Performance

Solo and / or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist, or vocalist and /o music production (via technology).


A minimum of ten minutes of performance in total is required. Non –exam assessment will be externally marked by AQA examiners.


35% weighting


Work must be completed between 1 March and the specified date from

Coursework (Unit titles, duration, % weighting, submission dates):

Unit Title: Composition

Composition 1 composition to a brief (25 marks)

Composition 2 Free composition (25 marks)


A minimum of four and a half minutes in total is required.


25% weighting


The specified date given at

Course Outline:

Developing and applying the musical knowledge, understanding and ensuring students from a personal and meaningful relationship with music. They will be encouraged to engage critically and creatively with a wide range of music and musical contexts, and reflect on how music is used in the expression of personal and collective identities.

The subject content is divided into three components:

  • Apprising music
  • Performance
  • Composition

 1. Appraising music

The areas of study provide an appropriate focus for students to appraise, develop and demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of musical elements, musical contexts and musical language. The areas of study can also provide a rich source of material for students to work with when developing performance and composition skills.

There are seven areas of study:

  • Western classical tradition 1650-1910 (compulsory)
  • Pop music
  • Music for media
  • Music for theatre
  • Jazz
  • Contemporary traditional music
  • Art music since 1910

Student must study Area of Study 1: Western Classical tradition 1610-1910 and choose two from Areas of study 2-7.

2. Performance

Students must be able to perform music using one or both of the following ways:

  • Instrumental /vocal: as a soloist, and /or as poart of an ensemble
  • Production: via music technology

Students must perform for a minimum of ten minutes.

Care when should be taken when selecting repertoire for ensemble performance; the level of demand refers to the individual part performed by the student and not to the overall level of demand of the selected piece.

Performance of pieces written with an accompaniment intended by the composer should not be unaccompanied.

Students must be able to interpret musical elements specified in Subject content, using resources and techniques as appropriate, to communicate musical ideas with technical and expressive control.

Through their performance students must also demonstrate understanding of context, including the chosen style or genre of the music being performed and the composer’s purpose and intention.

If student choose to perform using non-standard instruments (id for which there are no nationally recognised accredited music grades) the requirements for instrumental /vocal must be followed.

In all cases, the recording of the performances must be accompanied by one or more of the following documents, as appropriate to the type of performance:

  • Notated score
  • Lead sheet
  • Guide recording
  • Annotation (production only)

3. Composition

Students must learn how to develop musical ideas, including extending and manipulating musical idea, and compose music that is musically convincing through two composition. One must be in response to an externally set brief (Composition 1) and the other a free composition (Composition 2).

The combined duration of the compositions must be a minimum of four and half minutes.

Compositions must demonstrate technical control in the use of the appropriate musical elements and how they are combined to make sense as a whole. Please refer to the tables of musical elements in Subject Content.

Students must be able to compose music in one or both of the following formats:

  • Instrumental/vocal: produce notated score, written accounts and / or lead sheet by traditional means or by using music software as appropriate
  • Production: generated entirely digitally, by using music software, without notated score but with accompanying annotation.

Students must be able to make creative use of the musical elemnts appropriate to their chosen style or genre of music.  

Skills / Aptitudes required to be successful in this course :

A Level Music is a fascinating and rewarding experience.  It encourages personal development, dedication, hard work and preparedness to explore the music world.   Students need to be independent creative thinkers, who have excellent time management skills, organised and receptive to new ideas. Students who are considering A Level Music will be expected to work during, morning time, lunchtime and afterschool sessions.

Goes well with  

For those wishing to pursue a career within the Music: music performance, music composition, music therapy, musicology, music history etc., but can be studied in any combination of subjects.

Pathways – Career and /or further study possibilities, using this subject:

The creative sector is one of the fastest growing industries in the UK. It currently accounts for 6% of the UK’s GDP, with further growth predicted for the next decade. The creative industry and has proven to expand despite recent economic crisis.  Studying A Level Music provides students with a fantastic platform for a Music Course, followed by BA in Music performance, Music Composition, Musicology.  The career prospects are varied: Music Producer, Songwriter, A & R Coordinator, Music Therapist, Session Musician, DJ, Record Producer, Background Singer, Radio DJ, Conductor,

Rock Star, Recording Engineer. Music Teacher, Music Director, Booking Agent,

Singer (Vocalist) Production Music, Composer, Program Director etc.


For further information, please contact:


Miss Gutian Zou, Head of Music

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