Why should I study Music?

Music is an enjoyable and stimulating academic subject. If you have a genuine enjoyment and enthusiasm for practice, study, performing, writing, producing or listening to music, A level will give you an in-depth appreciation of the various ways that music is constructed and performed. The study of music outlined in this specification aims to extend candidates’ understanding

of the diverse and dynamic heritage of music and of the essential role it has played and continues to play in the spiritual, moral, social and cultural lives of people from around the world, both in the past and in the present.

What skills will I gain?

Specific musical skills developed include instrumental performance both solo and ensemble, composition free choice and study techniques including Bach Chorales, two-part inventions and string quartets. You will also learn analytical skills of a variety of music, both written and oral, as well as develop the art of critical commentary. Transferable skills developed whilst on this course range from confidence to engage with an audience, delivery, communication and analytical linguistic expression.

What will I learn?

The A level course takes many of the skills learned and developed at GCSE but demands a response that requires a much higher level of thinking and continual practice. Throughout the course, students will learn the following:

Appraisals of music through analysis, listening and contextual understanding through the reading of scores of a variety of music which will include specifically; Baroque: the solo concerto; Classical: the operas of Mozart; Romantic: the piano music of Chopin, Brahms and Grieg. In addition to this pupils will study two areas of study from the following: Pop music, Music for media, Music for theatre, Jazz, Contemporary traditional music, Art music since 1910. Pupils will learn about and how to identify the historical context of this music (composer, performer and audience, occasion, time and place) and the appropriate styles and genres.

Composition and development of musical ideas: through studying compositional techniques, pupils will learn to think creatively and respond to problems associated with harmony and modulation, structure, texture and melody.

Performance will be developed and understood in context through serious academic practice both at home and at school. This can be developed on one or two solo instruments and in ensemble work. Recordings of performances are made and the quality, accuracy and musicality are then assessed.

Entry requirements

We normally require an 8 or 9 grade at GCSE and a performing standard of post ABRSM grade 5 at point of entry into Lower Sixth and at or above ABRSM grade 7 at the start of Middle Sixth.

Examination board: AQA

Mr H.J.G. Ebden
Director of Music