Accessibility links

Music AS & A Level at Presdales School

Course description

The course content for AS and A2 level music includes Performing, Composing and Historical Studies. Students should normally be at least grade 5 before commencing their course and should have some keyboard/piano skills.

Course content

AS Level 

Performing (40% of AS) – Assessed Examination
(Visiting Examiner)

  • Section A: Perform as a soloist and Viva Voce
  • Section B: one of

i) Perform on a second instrument/voice
ii) Perform in an ensemble/duet or as an accompanist
iii) Perform one or two own compositions
iv) Improvisation

Composing (30% of AS)

  • Section A – Harmonic Language. This section is about finding a good bass line and harmony to a given melody.
  • Section B – Either a composition for between 4–10 instruments or an arrangement of a leadsheet for between 4–10 instruments.

Introduction to Historical Study in Music (30% of AS)

  • Section A – Aural extracts
  • Section B – The study of orchestral music & Jazz
  • Section C – Contextual Awareness

A2 Level

Performing (40% of A2)

  • Section A – Recital – up to 15 minutes
  • Section B – Viva Voce

Composing (30% of A2)

  • Section A – Stylistic Techniques
  • Section B – A vocal, programme music or film/TV composition lasting up to 4 minutes

Historical and Analytical Studies (30% of A2)

  • Section A – Aural based on accompanied vocal music 1900–1945.
  • Section B – Historical Topics

Entry requirements

Students are required to have obtained at least a grade A in GCSE Music.


Assessment of recitals is by visiting examiner. Written papers are marked externally. The AS and A2 level composing is assessed at Presdales but moderated by OCR.

Future opportunities

Music plays a vital role in the life of the school and in society as a whole. It would be wrong to consider AS and A2 level Music as a ‘dead-end’ subject or ‘merely a hobby’. In purely economic terms, the value of music to the UK economy exceeds £2.5 billion. In terms of value to a prospective employer A level Music helps to develop skills of communication and analysis as well as teamwork. There are many jobs available connected with music ranging from entertainment, radio and TV to teaching.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 03 November 2016
Provider logo

Key information


  • More information
    • Presdales is a five-form entry all-ability school which became an Academy on 1st April 2012, for girls aged from eleven to eighteen. Boys are welcomed into the Sixth Form. Founded as Ware Grammar School for Girls in 1906 on the Amwell House site, it moved to its present site at Presdales in 1964. Since 1975 – when the school’s intake was enlarged – we have accepted girls from a wide area of Hertfordshire.

      The school was rated ‘outstanding’ at all four inspections in 1994, 1999, 2004 and 2008. Language College status was granted by the DfES in 1995 and, on the strength of the school’s high performance overall, Music College status with English as an accompanying strand was awarded in 2006, followed by Mathematics & Computing College status with a Gifted & Talented focus in 2008.