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Music AS & A Level at King George V College

Course description

A Level Music is very similar in structure to GCSE Music: it provides opportunities to perform, compose, and listen to and analyse music. You will develop your instrumental skills both within college, by taking part in a number of practical activities and concerts, and by working with your specialist instrumental or vocal teacher. In composing, you will be encouraged to develop your musical imagination by writing music to describe a situation or place, or by writing a song to create a given mood or convey a particular message. The ability to listen to and analyse a wide range of music is one of the most important aspects of the course, as this will enable you to expand your knowledge of music of all sorts of styles and genres. This knowledge allows you to see how the musical language has developed throughout the centuries and to understand the main aspects of many musical styles, helping you to perform and compose with greater confidence and understanding.

Course content

First Year

  • Performance: perform a piece (or set of pieces) on your main instrument (or voice) at Grade V level or above. This lasts no more than 6 minutes and is recorded and marked at College and moderated by Edexcel. (30% of total marks for the course).
  • Composition: compose a piece lasting 3 minutes, and based on one of the four stimuli provided by Edexcel each year. This enables students to try their hand at composing in such varying styles as (i) instrumental composition (ii) song writing or (iii)writing for choral groups. (30% of total marks for the course).
  • Musical Styles: Listening and writing about musical styles, studying a selection of varied pieces published in the Edexcel Anthology. (40% of total marks for the course).

Second Year

  • Performance: Performing a set of pieces, totalling no more than 15 minutes, on your main instrument or voice. These will ideally be of at least Grade VI standard. The recital will be marked by the teacher in college and moderated by Edexcel.
  • Harmonising and Composing: Harmonising a passage in four-part harmony in the style of J. S Bach. Producing one composition, lasting around 4 minutes, inspired by one of the four stimuli published by Edexcel each year.
  • Further Musical Understanding:  This unit provides opportunities to understand the processes used by many different composers of different styles and genres throughout music history.

Entry requirements

A good Music student will enthuse about all kinds of music with great passion and involve themselves willingly in researching their subject with an open and enquiring mind - always being keen to listen to all kinds of music - not just your favourite type! You will be eager to make music at every opportunity available, both solo and as part of various instrumental and choral groups. You should be enthusiastic to practice your instrumental/vocal skills to further develop your ability to convey musical messages confidently and impressively. 

Future opportunities

Past KGV students have progressed to work as performers with the BBC Philharmonic, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Northern Ballet. Other students have gone on to lecture at Birmingham Conservatoire, to create and run their own recording businesses, or to work with a number of choral organisations, such as Glasgow Cathedral and the Chapel Royal. Some of our alumni have even become music producers for the BBC, as composers of jingles for national adverts!

Further information

Students will be helped in every way possible to achieve their potential and to develop their understanding of all aspects of the subject, not only in classroom but individually. There are many opportunities to work outside the classroom in instrumental and choral groups, including performing in concerts both at the College and other local venues. You will be encouraged to attend concerts presented by local professional organisations and to perform in such. If you require individual help to develop your knowledge of music theory, you will have the opportunity to do so and the college will finance any theory examinations which students wish to take.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact King George V College directly.

Last updated date: 23 September 2016

Key information