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Music AS & A level at Stowupland High School

Course description

Edexcel AS and A Level Music qualifications have been designed to give all students the opportunity to develop their knowledge, understanding and skills of music whatever their previous experience.  The qualifications support and encourage students coming from KS4 to want to progress onto AS and A Level Music and beyond.  It builds on the knowledge and skills gained at KS4, whilst avoiding unnecessary repetition, giving equal weighting to performance and           composition skills to better support the transition into undergraduate music or music-related   degree courses.  AS and A Level courses have been designed so they can be co-taught, and assumes no private music lessons, ensuring accessibility and progression for all. 

Course content

Your learning experience will include practical work, compositional work, listening, essay writing, short task completion and concert visits. You will be expected to complete written exercises at home and take individual instrumental lessons on your own time. 

Entry requirements

It is useful to have taken music at GCSE level, but is not essential as long as you can already play a musical instrument and able to read music. A genuine interest in all types of music and willingness to spend extra time rehearsing, practising and contributing to musical extra-curricular life of the school are desirable, and the ability to work autonomously in and out of lessons.  


Edexcel AS and A Level qualifications in Music are both 100% externally assessed, and each consists of one written paper and two non-examined assessments (NEA).  The qualification enables you to learn engaging content through the context of the new Areas of Study and Set Works.  It includes the same six Areas of Study at AS and A Level.  At AS, each Area of Study contains two Set Works, and an additional to make three Set Works at A Level.  It supports the teaching of musical elements, musical contexts and musical language through a specific piece of music, across the different Areas of Study and also shows real examples of how key musical content is used within specific pieces of music.  It allows students to learn in-depth appraising skills in preparation for their assessments.

Performing is worth 30% at AS and 25-35% at A Level.  Students have to perform for a minimum of 6 minutes at AS and 6-10 minutes (depending on the weighting) at A Level.

Composing is worth 30% at AS and 25-35% at A Level.  Students must compose at least two pieces for AS and two or three pieces for A Level (depending on the weighting).  One must be in response to a brief set by the board and the minimum time for AS must be 4½ minutes and 4-8 minutes at A Level (depending on the weighting).

Appraising is worth 40% and content has been given in terms of musical elements, contexts and language.  Students must study at least 2 Areas of Study at AS and at least 3 Areas of Study at A Level, one based in WCM composed between 1650 and 1910, and one that is not based in WCM.           

Edexcel has included suggested wider listening that relates to each of the Areas of Study to help prepare students for appraising unfamiliar music in the exam, and gain understanding of the wider context of pieces.  Diverse musical content supports learners in understanding the music from the Areas of Study in a wider context.  It ensures students learn to perform, compose and appreciate different types of music, developing critical and creative thinking, and cultural, aesthetic and emotional awareness.  It builds student confidence with analysing unfamiliar music in the exam and enables students to appraise their own music to allow refinement in their own performances and compositions. 

Future opportunities

An AS or A level in music shows that you have excellent performing skills and a good level of      self-confidence in your own abilities. The performance aspect of the course shows that you have committed to something over a long period of time. This is a highly desirable quality to any  future employer or educational institution. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Stowupland High School directly.

Last updated date: 07 September 2016
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September