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Music A Level at Bridgwater College

Course description

This course will appeal to students interested in exploring music through listening, composing and performing.

Course content

You will study all aspects of music including performance, composition, music analysis and understanding.

Specific study topics will include:

AS Course (first year) Unit 1: Performing Music

This unit covers solo performance — you have opportunities to play music in a wide range of classical and popular styles, both as a soloist and as part of an ensemble. This unit is completed during the course. AS/A Level music students at Bridgwater College receive heavily subsidised one-to-one specialist tuition in their first instrument. 

Unit 2: Composition

This unit gives students an opportunity to learn about the process of composition. Students write music in a huge variety of styles including traditional classical, Post-modern classical, Music for Film and TV, Popular songs, Club Dance and Hip-Hop, based on a brief given by the exam board. This unit is completed during the course — students compose and perform their work, have it recorded to CD and write a CD sleeve note to accompany it. 

Unit 3: Developing Musical Understanding

This unit involves a detailed exploration of key works in a variety of styles — students investigate music from the classical repertoire and from popular music and jazz. This unit is assessed at the end of the first year, with written and listening papers.

Advanced Course (second year) Unit 4: Extended Performance

This unit gives students the opportunity to extend their performance skills as both a soloist and part of an ensemble. The main focus of the lessons is geared towards preparing the students for a 15 minute recital at the end of the course. Students are assessed on technical ability and musicality as well as programming. The expected difficulty of pieces offered is Grade VI and above.  

Unit 5: Composition and Technical Study

There are two parts to this unit. In the first section, students will further develop their compositional skills leading to a final composition at the end of the course. The technical study section builds on the knowledge and awareness of harmony through a range of pastiche exercises.

Unit 6: Further Musical Understanding

In this unit students extend their skills in music listening and understanding from year one, with a wide range of listening to familiar and unfamiliar works. They will learn how to compare and contrast, contextualise music and identify harmonic and tonal features. The assessment on this unit is through a two hour exam.

Entry requirements

Five GCSEs in the A* – C range, including Maths and English at grade C or above.

You need to have a playing ability to grade V and a good understanding of music theory. If you do not have GCSE Music but have substantial practical musical experience, this will be considered at interview.


You will be assessed by a combination of coursework and practical and written examinations.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 16 February 2016

Key information