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Music A-Level at St Leonards Catholic School

Course description

THE AS COURSE.

At AS, this specification will enable candidates to develop an understanding of the organisation of sounds, the context of music, and musical styles and genres. Candidates will create musical ideas with technical control and expressive understanding, making creative use of musical devices, conventions and resources. Candidates offer two performances which may be solo, ensemble and/or technology-based. Each performance may be one longer piece or several shorter ones. Candidates may perform their own composition(s).

UNIT 1: Influences on Music

The Western Classical Tradition (compulsory) including analysis of Haydn’s Symphony 104 in D major movements 1 and 3. Assessment is by written paper (1 hour 45 minutes). Its weighting is 30% of the total AS and 15% of the total A Level marks. Candidates are given structured listening questions using a CD of musical excerpts. Candidates then answer two essay questions, one question from a choice of two based on the compulsory Areas of Study and one question from a choice of two based on a second Area of Study (music theatre: study of the musicals from 1940 to 1980)

Unit 2: Composing: Creating Musical Ideas

Compositional techniques Composition is externally marked. Its weighting is 30% of the total AS and 15% of the total A Level marks. Candidates respond to one brief from a choice of three. Briefs will be released to candidates on 1 November in the examination year.

Unit 3: Performing: Interpreting Musical Ideas

Solo and/or ensemble performances  Technology-based performances: Assessment is by performance (10-16 minutes internally assessed) Its weighting is 40% of the total AS and 20% of the total A Level marks. Candidates offer two performances (each 5-8 minutes) from a choice of six, including opportunities for using music technology.

THE A2 COURSE

At A2, the specification enables candidates to acquire, explore and apply musical language and context. Candidates will create and develop musical ideas with greater technical control and expressive understanding making increased use of musical devices, conventions and resources. Candidates will offer two (or more) contrasting pieces to form a short programme for either acoustic performance and/or performance via music technology. The A2 specification has 3 units.

Unit 4: Music in Context

The Western Classical Tradition (compulsory).- including analysis of Shostakovich’s 5th Symphony. Assessment is by written paper (2 hour 15 minutes) Its weighting is 20% of the total A Level marks. Candidates are given structured listening questions using a CD of excerpts. Candidates then answer two essay questions, one question from a choice of two based on the compulsory Areas of Study and one question from a choice of two based on a new Area of Study (four decades of Jazz and Blues 1910-1950)

Unit 5: Composing: Creating Musical Ideas

Compositional techniques. Compositions are externally marked. Its weighting is 15% of the total A Level marks. Candidates respond to one brief from a choice of three. Briefs will be released to centres on 1 November in the examination year. Controlled assessment will take place in March.

Unit 6: Performing: A Musical Performance

A choice of solo, acoustic and/or technology-based performances: Assessment is by performance (15 minutes externally assessed). Its weighting is 15% of the total A Level marks. Candidates will offer two contrasting performances, as a soloist or using music technology or a combination of these.

Entry requirements

  • each applicant must achieve at least eight GCSE or equivalent Level 2 Qualification passes at grade A*-G
  • each applicant must achieve at least five GCSE passes1 at grade A*-C
  • each applicant must achieve at least four GCSE B grades including at least a grade B2 in each subject to be taken at AS Level (see course entry requirements listed in section 6 of this admissions policy).
  • any applicant wishing to study a science subject (Biology, Chemistry, Physics) at AS Level must achieve at least a grade B in GCSE Additional Science if taking double science rather than separate sciences. If taking separate sciences then the applicant must achieve at least a grade B in the science subject to be taken at AS Level.
  • any applicant wishing to study a subject at AS that they are not currently studying at GCSE must consult the list of entry requirements listed in section 6 of this admissions policy.
  • any applicant currently studying a subject at GCSE that they wish to continue to study at AS must achieve at least a grade B in that subject at GCSE.
  • each applicant must study a minimum of four AS Level courses to completion in Year 12 and a minimum of three A2 Level courses to completion in Year 13.
  • each applicant must study the General Religious Education Course to completion

Students must also be willing to be actively involved in a range of extra-curricular in and out of school activities and attend a variety of concerts. Above all, they should demonstrate a passion for music and a commitment to hard work. A willingness to undertake Grade 5 theory is essential.

Future opportunities

Students of music are in high demand by employers. They can demonstrate a wide variety of skills: tremendous self-discipline, practising their instruments; great team skills, rehearsing in bands, orchestras and choirs; time management and working under pressure, preparing concerts; ICT capability, sequencing and notating and recording music; sensitivity and intuition, interpreting music.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Leonards Catholic School directly.

Last updated date: 22 April 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1-2 years

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