Music A Level
If you have a keen interest in music or are looking to pursue a career in music, A Level Music teaches students to develop performance and composition skills and to further develop knowledge of a variety of music including classical, film, jazz and popular music.
The course is designed to extend the GCSE skills of performing, composing, listening and appraising.
A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language at grade 4 or above.
You should be able to play an instrument (including voice), to at least grade 5 standard and be at, or working towards, grade 5 standard in music theory. (If you have not followed the grading route, applications will still be considered.) Students are required to do an audition and attend a guidance discussion.
What will I study?
The course is aimed at those who have previously attained some knowledge in music or aspects relating to it, either through a GCSE qualification or an instrumental/vocal/music theory qualification. Students may have also acquired suitable experience through less formal means as a performer or as an attentive listener.
Students will perform two contrasting pieces in a 6-8 minute recital. Students can play or sing as soloists or as part of an esemble. Other options accompanying and using music technology to create a performance.
Students will demonstrate their ability to create and develop musical ideas with technical control and expressive understanding, making creative use of musical devices, conventions and resources by creating two compositions. One will be set to a brief set by the Awarding Body and one to a brief written by the student.
Listening & Appraising (40%)
A written exam including aural extracts, covering the following areas of study:
Area of Study 1: Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven
Area of Study 2: Popular Song: Blues, Jazz, Swing and Big Band
Area of Study 3: Developments in Instrumental Jazz - 1910 to the Present Day
Area of Study 4: Religious Music of the Baroque Period
Area of Study 5: Programme Music 1820 - 1910
Area of Study 6: Innovations in Music - 1900 to the Present Day
The second year follows a similar pattern to the first year, including performing, composing and a written/listening exam based on general listening skills and the six areas of study.
Method of delivery
You will typically be in College four days per week, with lesson style varying according to subject. In-College delivery is supported by online resources, and students develop strong independent learning skills to equip them for their next steps. In addition, you will be expected to do performances throughout the course.
How will I be assessed?
The Performing and Composing elements are assessed by means of a filmed recital performance and composition scores submitted to OCR, the Awarding Body. The Listening & Appraising component of the course culminates in an exam that includes the following elements:
- Analysing and Evaluating Music
- Familiar and Unfamiliar Pieces
- Prescribed Works that students will have studied in detail
- Questions based on Aural Extracts
Good course combinations
Good course combinations for Music are Music Technology, Media Studies, Film Studies, Drama and Theatre Studies and Maths.
Your next steps
The course provides a sound foundation for music courses in higher education with students progressing on to study at university and some of the country’s top conservatoires. Employment possibilities include the music industry, teaching and other related careers.
“I am very happy with my experience at York College. The tutors were always happy to help me and give me any extra support I needed and definitely help me grow as an actor and musician. I was also supported massively through my exams with the help of the Learning Support Team. I have made friends for life and have grown as a person. York College has given me skills and taught me so much that I will use in later life.”