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Music A level **FEES PAYABLE** at Marlborough College

Course description

Music at Marlborough offers something very special. It embodies everything you might expect of an inspired, energetic and forward-thinking department but with that little bit extra that makes us a prospect worth investigating.

'Inclusive' and 'exclusive' are our preferred terms - inclusive in that we offer a musical opportunity to every age and stage, exclusive in that we provide unique programmes of study to those who wish to pursue music as a future career. 

Course content

The course aims to develop pupils' performing, composing and listening skills in a range of styles and these are covered again through a series of areas of study, which include: '

  • Keyboard Music
  • Popular Music and Jazz
  • Music for Film and Television
  • World Music
  • Sacred Vocal Music 

The traditional areas of aural, compositional techniques and history and analysis are all addressed. 

Entry requirements

The course is especially suitable for candidates who play an instrument or sing to a high level and who have a keen interest in creating and listening to different styles of music, and who wish to broaden their knowledge further with in depth, analytical study.

Candidates must be learning a musical instrument and have reached at least Grade 5/6 standard at the start of the course. Singing is acceptable as an ‘instrument’. Grade 5 theory, although not compulsory, would benefit the student.

Candidates will be expected to use IT during the course. The music notation programme ‘Sibelius’ will be used.


UNIT 1 9MU0/01: Performing Music (30%) - Coursework.

Candidates perform one or more pieces as a recital between March 1st and May 15th. Performances may be playing or singing solo, including improvisation. The total performance time across all pieces must be a minimum of 8 minutes.

UNIT 2 9MU0/02: Composition (30%) - Coursework.

A total of two compositions, one to a brief and one either free composition or set to another brief. The first composition must be at least 4 minutes in duration. The second composition must be from a list of briefs which will assess compositional technique, such as 4-part chorale writing, in the style of J S Bach. The total time across both compositions should be a minimum of 6 mins. The deadline for completion will be 15th May.

UNIT 3 9MU0/03: Written examination: 2 hours.

The knowledge of musical elements and language will be used to study set works from six individual areas of study:

  • Vocal Music
  • Instrumental Music
  • Music for film
  • Popular Music and Jazz
  • Fusions
  • New Directions

There will also be a section that requires students to use their knowledge whilst analysing unfamiliar repertoire. Section A will comprise of three listening questions and one short melody/ rhythm completion exercise. Section B will contain one short and one long essay.

Further information

It is what goes on outside the classroom that enhances all that is contained within and gives the practical focus and fulfillment to all musical expression.

The Music Department at Marlborough offers some unique opportunities for young talented musicians. Our professional orchestra in partnership is the dynamic Southbank Sinfonia who visit the College periodically to give workshops, classes, one-to-one tuition and the unique side-by-side orchestral programme in which the College Symphony Orchestra rehearses and performs alongside the Southbank Sinfonia in an annual concert. Appointed visiting musical figures of international distinction also periodically visit the College to offer concerts and classes and consultation lessons to music scholars. These include Julian Lloyd Webber, Tasmin Little, Emma Kirkby, Ronan O'Hora (Head of Keyboard, Guildhall School of Music and Drama), James Watson (Head of Brass, Royal Academy of Music) and Ioan Davies (Head of Chamber Music, Yehudi Menuhin School).

Chapel Choir participation in services includes weekly Sung Eucharists and termly Choral Evensongs in Chapel and at local Cathedrals. Other highlights include the Advent Carol Service, three annual Carol Services as well as special services for Ash Wednesday, Ascension Day, Confirmation and Commemoration. Instrumental concerts include: the Orchestral Concert, Concerto Concert, Summer Serenade Concert, Wind Department Concert, termly Advanced Pupils' Recitals and Junior Informal Concerts as well as the Junior Jamboree Summer Concert. In addition, the department runs a weekly Lunchtime Concert Series.

Each year, the Marlborough College Concert Society presents five concerts attracting world famous artists to the College. This incorporates the annual Choral Concert given by the Choral Society, Chapel Choir and Choral. Other recent special events have included a Songs of Praise Recording, a joint Concert with Yale University Choir, USA, the 800th Anniversary Civic Service and the Cotswold Community Trust Concert.

Festivals, Competitions and Workshops include: the House Music Competition (Harmony & Unison Song), Strings Day, Singing Day, Piano Day and the New Instrumental Music Festival. The Music Society host termly Lectures/Workshops and Chamber Musicians enter both the National Chamber Music Competition and the Midsomerset Festival. The department regularly puts on trips to concerts, operas and musicals. Work towards the Associated Board music examinations (Practical and Theory) and the Trinity Guildhall (Singing and Percussion) examinations, forms a large part of our weekly programme. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Marlborough College directly.

Last updated date: 18 November 2016
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