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Music AS/A2 level at Thornleigh Salesian College

Course description

If you have a passion for musical performance and composition and have a firm understanding of musical theory, then A-Level Music is the course for you. The course is demanding but its practical nature means it is highly popular and very enjoyable for musical and motivated candidates.  This course follows on neatly from Music at A level and covers a wide range of genres and musical styles. The course is built around three modules; performance, composition and listening.

Course content

In the first year (AS) you’ll cover three study topics: ‘Influences of Music’ (the listening test), ‘Creating musical ideas’ (composition) and ‘Interpreting Musical Ideas’ (performing).

There is a set piece for study for the listening test which is currently Beethoven Symphony No. 1 , but after that you’re in charge of which subjects you study in detail for the ‘Influences of Music’ unit. Your choices include baroque choral music, musical theatre, or British Pop Music. You will also discover the  world of traditional music theory in this unit.  

For the ‘Creating Music Ideas’ unit you’ll be composing and arranging music using Music Technology to aid you in notation and creativity.

You will have the opportunity to perform solo and/or within an ensemble on an instrument or voice for the ‘Interpreting Musical Ideas’ unit.

There is one formal listening paper exam at the end of the year. The majority of assessment for the course is done via practical coursework.

In your second year (A2), the course is laid out as in AS Music with three topic; Listening, Composing and Performing.  However, the level of demand for each unit is significantly higher than in the AS year.

Entry requirements

You will require 5 GCSEs at grade C or above including English and Maths as well as C grades in the subjects that you want to study. Many courses do accept students who have not previously studied the subject. To study AS Level Science subjects you will require a minimum combination of GCSE B/B in Core and Additional Science. To study AS Level Maths you will require a minimum of a B grade in Maths GCSE



Unit 1 ‘Influences of Music’ 1 hour 45 minutes written examination (30%)

Unit 2   ‘Creating musical ideas’ Composition Externally Assessed (30%)

Unit 3   ‘Interpreting Musical Ideas’ Performing Internally Assessed  (60%) 


Unit 4  ‘Music in Context’ 2 hours 15 minutes written examination ( 20% of overall A Level)


Unit 5 ‘Developing Musical Ideas’ Composition Externally Assessed (15% of overall A Level)


Unit 6 ‘A Musical Performance’ Externally Assessed (15% of overall A Level)

Future opportunities

Music A-Level  provides:

a good progression to higher education.

a strong foundation for a career in Musical composing or performing.

a strong foundation to work in the music industry for TV, radio or film companies.

An opportunity to use your musical skills and knowledge in other careers, such as event management or leisure/tourism.

If Music is your passion, you will be learning through active participation and enjoyment

Further information

To find out more about this qualification please attend our Open Evening or contact the college directly via email at or by telephone 01204 305172.

How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 30 September 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: Can be 1 or 2 years