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Music A level at City and Islington College

Course description

This intensive and wide-ranging course combines live performance with composition, music theory and the analytical appraisal of classical and other music to help you on your way as a performer, composer and musicologist.

Course content

The first year combines practical and theoretical study. Live performances lead to a recorded and examined 6-minute recital. Composition is presented in two pieces of musically notated coursework totalling 5 minutes in length; each piece is created in response to certain given requirements. Appraising music consists of a formal exam which assesses aural perception and skills in music theory and harmony alongside your knowledge and understanding of two areas of study.

In the second year an element of specialisation is introduced. Further development of your vocal/instrumental skills leads to an examined and recorded solo recital of 6 - 15 minutes, depending upon the weighting of your choices. Composition requires two or three pieces 4 ¿ 8 minutes long, depending on your area of specialisation. One piece is written in response to a set brief and will be rehearsed, recorded and performed in collaboration with professional musicians and composers. Your skills in aural perception, theory, history and analysis are developed through the study of three areas of musical history that includes one outside classical music; theses are tested in a written examination. 

Entry requirements

  • You must satisfy the general entry criteria for A Level courses, which are based on your GCSE results.
  • In addition, you need to achieve a grade B or above in GCSE Music or grade 5 on an instrument and successfully pass a pre-course audition and theory test. The audition may lead to a bridge course before the qualification begins.

International students:

  • Equivalent overseas qualifications will be considered.
  • IELTS 5.5 (with a minimum of 5.0 in each skill) or equivalent.


Assessment is through coursework, performance and written exams. In both years performing is worth 30%, composition 30% and appraising 40%.

Future opportunities

This course is an ideal calling card for Music and Arts schools around the country.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact City and Islington College directly.

Last updated date: 21 March 2016
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Key information


  • More information
    • We are a specialist A Level Sixth Form College in the heart of Angel, Islington, with over 25 years of proven success and an outstanding record of achievement. Last year our overall A Level pass rate was 99%, 70% of students achieved grades from A*-C and 31 A Level subjects boasted a 100% pass rate.

      What we offer

      We specialise in preparing you for higher education and have an extensive range of subjects on offer, many of which are not offered elsewhere in London. Our teachers are A Level specialists, many are examiners and some have PHDs. The College offers superb facilities specially designed for A Level teaching.