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Music AS A2 at Elizabeth Woodville School

Course description

'I enjoy the practical nature of music and find the analysis of other works useful when arranging and composing my own work.'

Course content

The course demands performing, composing, listening and analytical skills in almost equal measure.  You will improve your skills in performing and composing in a range of styles.  You will listen to a wide variety of music and develop a more informed appreciation of how and why it was written and/or performed.

Entry requirements

Students will be expected to have taken Music at GCSE level, and gained at least a C grade.  Students will also be expected to participate in school musical events as these form part of the Performing unit and must realise that tuition in one main instrument is essential.  Private, individual tuition is preferable.


AS LevelThe AS qualification consists of the following three units: Unit 1: Performing (30% AS, 15% AL)In this unit you will develop your skills as a musical performer.  You can perform on any musical instrument or sing and will have the opportunity to take part in ensemble performances as well as performing solo.  You will perform 1 or 2 solo pieces of your choice and be expected to play one of your own compositions either as a soloist or as part of an ensemble or group. Unit 2: Developing Musical Ideas (30% AS, 15% AL)In this unit you will learn the craft of composing.  You will develop musical ideas in the form of original compositions and exercises.  There is a wide range of musical styles to choose from.  For composition, you will study one topic from the following list and submit one free composition: Variations, Romantic miniatures, Neo-classicism, Post-modernism, Popular song, Club dance and hip-hop, fusions or Film and television music. You will also study the following topics and submit two compositional techniques exercises: Textures (Baroque counterpoint or Minimalism)Chords and Cadences (Bach chorale or 32 bar pop song)Scales, Modes and Series (Renaissance counterpoint or Serialism) andTimbres (extended instrumental techniques or electro-acoustic music). Unit 3: Listening and Understanding (40% AS, 20% AL)Throughout the course, you will be expected to develop and improve your listening skills so that you can recognise different sounds and make judgements about performances.  This unit is in two parts.  In Part 1 you will answer questions related to music heard on a CD during a 45-minute examination. The music heard will be in a range of styles.  In Part 2 you will have an hour and a half to respond to two structured questions based on your chosen Areas of Study.  You will choose two Areas of Study from: ‘Keyboard Music’, ‘Popular Music and Jazz’, ‘Music for Film or Television’, ‘World Music’, ‘Secular Vocal Music’, ‘Sacred Vocal Music’, ‘Music for Large Ensemble’, ‘Music for Small Ensemble’ and ‘20th and 21st Century Art Music’. A LevelThe full A level qualification is made up of the AS units plus the following three units: Unit 4: Specialist Options (15% AL)For this unit, you will either complete a composition portfolio or perform a recital. If you choose Pathway A, you will produce two compositions, one from each of the two chosen topics (Variations, romantic miniatures, Neo-classicism, Post-modernism, Popular song, Club dance and hip-hop, Fusions or Film and television) the two works together lasting not less than six minutes.  The compositions must be presented as a score (either handwritten or printed), and as a recording (on cassette tape, mini disc or CD wherever possible).  You will also be required to submit a short description of the procedure that you have adopted in your work. If you choose Pathway B, you will perform a recital lasting 20 minutes to an audience.  The performance will be recorded and assessed. Unit 5: Performing and Composing (15% AL)In this you will take part in a range of solo and ensemble performance activities during the course, of which one or two must be solo performances.  You will keep a log of performances at which your teacher will have been present and choose the four best occasions for submission.  You will also extend the compositional techniques acquired in unit 2 (Developing Musical ideas) and will be assessed by completion of a commissioned exercise. Unit 6: Analysing Music (20% AL)This unit tests all the knowledge, understanding and skills you have developed across the whole course.  You will take a listening test and will also be asked to answer written questions on the music you have studied.

Future opportunities

What could I go on to do at the end of my course?This AS/A Level in Music can lead to further study in Music or Performing Arts in higher education at degree or HND level.  Music can be used as part of your course to broaden your students and may lead on to a career in the music industry.  It is an academic A Level.

Further information

Quote from our Ofsted Report 2003 ‘Students of a wide range of abilities achieve well because of good teaching’

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Elizabeth Woodville School directly.

Last updated date: 16 November 2015
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Key information

  • Start date: Unknown