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Music A level at Sharnbrook Academy

Course description

The A level music course incorporates performance, composition, listening and appraising and studio production. 

Students can opt to follow a traditional A level music, an A level music via a technology route or a specialist music technology A level, or both.

The A level music concentrates on analysing and working with the music and music theory aspects of the subject.  The examination questions will expect a good knowledge of the theory of music and how the musical elements combine to make a piece of music sound the way it does.

The A level technology is very much focused on the technology used to produce studio music. The examination questions will test your knowledge of production techniques.

Both specifications will be taught in one option slot.  Students can choose to undertake both A levels if they wish.

Entry requirements

All students must meet the minimum entry requirements which are:

  • a minimum of five GCSE passes at A* to C, plus mathematics and English language at level 4 or above.
  • ECDL or an equivalent IT course where studied. Please note that, where a student wishes to take at least one A level course and has level 2 BTEC qualifications, those level 2 BTEC qualifications can only count for up to a maximum of two of the required GCSE passes at A* to C, or mathematics and English language at level 4 or above.


Performance 35%

  • Performance on an instrument or voice for 10 minutes as a soloist and/or as part of an ensemble. This can be examined by studio production.  Produce a recording of a pre-existing song (i.e. a cover), ensuring you are playing on a least four of the tracks
  • This will be recorded in school and externally marked.

Composition 25%

  • Composition 1 – to a brief set by AQA
  • Composition 2 – free composition
  • The compositions are produced in school and externally marked.  They can be conventionally notated and produced, or produced by studio production.

Appraising music 40%

  • Listening, analysis and essay writing using the following topics as content:
    • Western classical tradition (Baroque concerto, Mozart Opera, Romantic piano music)
    • Pop music (Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Muse, Beyonce, Daft Punk, Labrinth)
    • Jazz (Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davies, Pat Metheny, Gwilym Simcock)
  • This is assessed by an externally written examination.
    • Section A : listening (56 marks)
    • Section B : analysis (34 marks)
    • Section C : essay (30 marks)

Further information

Activities to get involved in include:  orchestra, Rock School, studio music, String Orchestra, choir, Brass Group, Big Band, Sax Group and Soul Band.

You will also experience visiting instrumental teachers for all instruments and attend regular concerts and rock events.

The dedicated music centre includes:

  • Three recording studios
  • Five dedicated practice rooms
  • Large teaching room/concert facility
  • Computer music teaching room with 20 digital audio work stations
  • Dedicated 6th Form teaching room with 10 digital audio work stations

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Sharnbrook Academy directly.

Last updated date: 27 October 2017

Key information