Music A Level at Lady Lumley's School
The newly-redesigned EDEXCEL A-Level music course offers students the opportunity to explore aspects of performance, composition and the analytical study of a wide range of musical styles to a high level. It obviously provides the necessary level of understanding to prepare students for future study as musicians at degree level.
Performing (worth 30% of the final grade)
Students will perform a selection of pieces, performed on any instrument or voice, lasting no less than eight minutes, as part of a live concert in front of an audience. Most performances will be solo with appropriate accompaniment (piano, or backing track for rock instruments). EDEXCEL provides details guidance of appropriate performance material for all instruments and voices. The performance must be recorded between 1st March and 15th May in the last year of the course.
Students must compose responses to one set brief and one set technical brief, or to one set technical brief and one free composition. Each piece must last at least one minute and be at least six minutes long combined together. Candidates will need to be familiar with how to use a music notation package (such as Sibelius) in order to complete this task. The set brief will be released on 1st September in the final year of the course, and the set technical brief will be released on 1st April in the final year of the course.
This unit, tested by examination in May/June of the final year of the course, focuses on a series of set works taken from the following categories: Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Music for Film, Popular Music and Jazz, Fusions, New Directions. The proposed list of set works includes music by Bach, Brahms, Danny Elfman, David Bowie, AR Rahman and John Cage – a diverse range of composers, covering all musical styles. Candidates will also be expected to analyse pieces of music which they are not familiar with under examination conditions. The exam is split evenly into a listening section and essay section.
A good pass at GCSE music is important. Also, candidates need to be able to perform pieces to grade 6 level by the time their performance is assessed but do not have to have passed a grade 6 exam. Passing grade 5 theory is highly recommended to give you a basic grounding necessary to complete the appraisal material in the course. A generally good level of intellect and curiosity is also important.
Details of assessment are all discussed above in the description of each unit.
A good pass in A-Level music demonstrates a student with a good range of skills, practical, creative and analytical. The level of computing knowledge to be able to operate a complex notation package such as Sibelius also demonstrates patience and attention to detail. Music also requires students to work well in a group, often under pressure, and to be able to listen to and offer constructive criticism and advice to each other.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Lady Lumley's School directly.