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Music Edexcel A Level at St Bernard's High School

Course description

This course will suit students who have achieved a B or above at GCSE and who are confident and experienced performers. Students will be expected to organise their own practice time and make a major contribution to extra-curricular music.

Course content

Component 1: Performing

This component deals with approaches to performing, requiring:

  • A public performance of one or more pieces, performed as a recital
  • The performance can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology

Component 2: Composing

This component deals with approaches to composing, requiring:

  • Two compositions, one to a brief set by the exam board and one other can be set by brief or a free composition

Component 3: Appraising

  • Knowledge and understanding of musical elements, context and language
  • Application of knowledge through the context of six areas of study, each with three set works

The six areas of study are:

  • Vocal Music (e.g. Mozart, The Magic Flute)
  • Instrumental Music (e.g. Vivaldi, Concerto in D minor, Op. 3 No. 11)
  • Music for Film (e.g. Bernard Herrmann, Psycho)
  • Popular Music and Jazz (e.g. Beatles, Revolver)
  • Fusions and New Directions (e.g.  Britten, War Requiem)

Application of knowledge to unfamiliar works.

Entry requirements

  • Grade B or above in Music at GCSE.
  • (Grade 5 standard practical work and Grade 5 theory would be useful).


Component 1: Performing

  • worth 30% of total marks
  • minimum of 8 minutes
  • recorded after March 1st in the year of certification.

Component 2: Composing

  • worth 30% of total marks
  • to be a minimum of 6 minutes in total
  • related to areas of study as determined by the exam board brief and/or a free composition; will asses compositional technique. 

Component 3: Appraising

  • worth 40% of total marks
  • written Examination
  • 2 hours
  • requiring use of an audio CD with the extracts to accompany questions on the paper provided for students. 


Future opportunities

Teacher, musician, music therapist, music publisher, instrument maker and music administrator.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Bernard's High School directly.

Last updated date: 04 January 2017

Key information


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    • In line with current educational thinking, all Key Stage 5 courses have fully integrated the full range of Thinking Skills.  These ensure that our students develop life-long transferable skills, become independent and resilient learners and are ready to embrace the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead.  These enable all students to be independent enquirers and creative thinkers who can be focused team workers and effective participators because they can be self-managers of their workload and thus reflective learners.

      All courses emphasise opportunities to develop the core skills of communication and ICT, with many also placing emphasis on application of number.  In addition, the process of learning is enhanced through a problem-solving approach to the curriculum which facilitates students in improving their own learning and performance. These skills dovetail with the development of independent learning, so crucial for a successful Sixth Form student. Students will have the opportunity to broaden their skills by participating in either of the following as part of their core curriculum: AS Citizenship, AS Government & Politics or an AS Critical Thinking Programme. These provide students with an additional AS qualification and increased UCAS points for university entry.  In addition, students will have the opportunity to undertake an Extended Project Qualification should they desire.  This is designed as a ‘stretch and challenge’ opportunity and is highly regarded by major universities and potential employers. All Sixth Form students also undertake a general RE course which focuses on transferable skills of research, debate and presentation.

      In order to support a healthy lifestyle, students also have the opportunity to continue with a range of PE and sporting activities.

      A full tutorial programme is offered which focuses on the needs of young adults as they make the transition from the school environment.  In addition, the ‘Gifted, Able and Talented’ Programme will offer the opportunity to attend external conferences, as well as Easter and Summer Schools.

      Work Experience and work shadowing can be arranged and are a valuable preparation for the next stage of a student’s career.