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Music AS & A Level at Durham Sixth Form Centre

Course description

This course aims to develop students’ musical skills in a variety of disciplines, including performing, composing and analysis. It covers a range of musical styles, including classical, contemporary and popular music.

The course has both a practical and a written element and, although it is not necessary to have taken GCSE music, students should be able to read music fluently and play an instrument to at least Grade 5 standard. The variety of musical styles and cultures studied on the course means music combines well with other subjects from the humanities, languages, science and the arts.

Course content

    Students develop their understanding of music through listening work and analysing music from a range of periods and genres. Students will also learn music theory and harmony to enhance their ability to analyse and write music.
    Students perform in a recital either as a soloist or as a member of an ensemble. Recitals should last a minimum of six minutes at AS level and ten minutes at A2.
    Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of musical styles by composing two pieces of music: one in response to a given brief and one free composition. They will develop their skills in melody-writing, harmony and writing for a range of instruments. To aid the composition process, students have access to Sibelius and Cubase music software.

Entry requirements

There are a range of courses and pathways available to you at Durham Sixth Form Centre depending on your GCSE results and academic profile. In order to enrol with us as a student, you must have the minimum of 5 A*-C GCSE grades (or equivalent). In addition, individual subjects have specific entry requirements, which will be discussed with you during the application and enrolment process. Students who do not achieve a grade C or above (or numerical equivalent) in GCSE English and/or mathematics will be required to continue studying these subjects at Durham Sixth Form Centre.

If you do not meet our entry requirements but are still keen to study at Durham Sixth Form Centre, please contact us to discuss your options.

Future opportunities

Studying music requires self-discipline, teamwork, creativity and analytical skills, all of which make musicians highly desirable in the workplace. Many music students have gone on to study music in higher education, including degrees at some of the country’s top conservatoires, and courses in jazz, music technology and community music.

Further information

Students have a range of musical opportunities at Durham Sixth Form Centre. Students can join the choir or concert band and may even be able to participate in a samba ensemble or ceilidh band. Students can also be involved in drama and theatre productions. There is a range of instruments available for students to use, including guitars and drum kits, and Durham Music Service provides individual instrumental and vocal tuition.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Durham Sixth Form Centre directly.

Last updated date: 13 January 2017
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Key information


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    • Durham Sixth Form Centre is located in Durham City Centre next to Gala Square and Freeman’s Quay. We are a couple of minutes walk from both the bus station and the railway station. Our students enjoy having all of the city centre facilities, shops, restaurants, the city library, cinema and theatre on our doorstep. In the city itself, students find a host of lively cultural, social and educational advantages and facilities. The galleries, exhibitions, museums and book shops all play their part in enriching the student experience. A large public car-park is directly opposite and adjacent to Durham Sixth Form Centre’s main entrance.