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Music AS and A Level at Tapton School

Course description

The course is designed to encourage students to appreciate all styles and genres, skills and instruments, catering for different learning styles and musical tastes.

Skills Workshops in:

  • Performing: performing music across a wide range of genres as a soloist and/or ensemble; technical aspects; musicality (through Dalcroze)
  • Composition: Melody, harmony, texture, tonality, timbre and instrumentation, structure
  • Listening: Singing, Kodaly approach, analysis, history of music
  • Essay writing: Anaylsis, content, structure
  • ICT: use of Sibelius and/or Cubase software
  • Research: As part of the programme of study, students must research and learn from investigations into the work of other composers.

Course content

The AQA specification has three components:

  • Component 1: Appraising Music (40% of marks)  An exam comprising of three sections, Listening (56 marks), Analysis (34 marks), Essay (30 marks)
  • Component 2: Performance (30% at AS, 35% at A level)  Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrument and/or vocalist and/or music production (50 marks)  10-12 minutes worth of music in total.
  • We encourage all students to attend concerts, and offer trips to Derbyshire (Residential Performance Weekend), London (ROH) and Manchester (Bridgewater Hall), as well as performing opportunities within concerts and the wider community.  The work will support this unit in a very practical way.
  • Component 3: Composition (30% of marks at AS, 25% od marks at A Level)  Composition 1: Composition  to a brief (25 marks) and composition 2 Free Composition  (25 marks) 4.5-6 minutes worth of music in total.
  • Students at Tapton invaribly follow a very individual course of study, depending on the genre in which they wish to compose.  Students will use the initial workshops  to extend, develop skills and techniques, and support the development of their ideas.  Contextual studies  are at the core of our teaching in a very practical way and students will analyse and compare the music of composers within their chosen genre.
  • Students will use Sibelius, reason or Cubase software to compose their pieces.


Entry requirements

A grade 6 in GCSE Music and/or Grade 5 Theory and Grade 5 in an instrument. 

Completion of AS to a grade D or above is needed to progress to the A Level.



  • Throughout the course students will take part in peer-group and self assessment in order to familiarise themselves with the Assessment Objectives, and become more objective in their skills of critique.
  • Staff review work with students on a one-to-one basis regularly, giving support, feedback and set targets for improvement and progression.
  • All units are externally assessed at the end of the course.

Future opportunities

Music is a language and the skills you learn through studying music are relevant to all careers.  Universities value and recognise that musical training has huge benefits for achieving success in other subjects.  Music offers many areas of employment and is continually growing and changing, from performing, sound production or music engineering, to musical theatre, music in advertising and composing for Film, TV and Game, as well as arranging.

Further information

Ensembles within  school include Senior Orchestra, Staff/Student Choir, Jazz Band, Highly Strung, Brass Band, Wind Band, Folk Group.

Students are encouraged to lead and direct rehearsals and coach younger students.  Some students have also set up their own ensembles, such as Barbershop and Rock Bands. 

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 20 November 2017

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 year for AS Level, 2 years for A Level