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Music A Level at Appleby Grammar School

Course description

This course consists of three units in each year, one each of composing, performing and appraising. Through the options for traditional music or music technology in both performance and composition, it allows sufficient flexibility for students to choose a path that best suits their future needs, be that in the music industry, for academic study at university, or for interest. It will give students a life-long enjoyment and understanding of music as a listener or performer.

Course content

Component 1 : Based on set works from three areas of study: 

  • The Western Classical Tradition 1650-1910, which focusses on the Baroque concerto and the piano music of Chopin, Brahms and Grieg. 
  • Pop Music, which includes artists such as Stevie Wonder, Muse, Beyoncé and Daft Punk
  • Jazz, including Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis and Pat Metheny.

Component 2 : Performing Music

Component 3 : Composing Music (30%) Students will learn how to develop musical ideas and compose music.

Entry requirements

It is recommended that students should have attained at least a Grade C at GCSE Music, be able to read and write music competently, and can perform to at least Grade 5 standard on their first instrument before starting this course.


Component 1 : Appraising Music (40%)

This component is assessed in a 21/ 2 hour exam consisting of 3 sections: listening, analysis and essay, all based on the above areas of study and required listening.

Component 2 : Performing Music (30%)

For this unit, students must perform for a minimum of 10 minutes. This is recorded then externally assessed by an examiner. Performances can be solo, ensemble, via music technology, or a combination of the above. The standard expected at the end of the course is equivalent of about grade 7, and no less than grade 6.

Component 3 : Composing Music (30%)

This will be assessed through two compositions, both of which must be composed in the year of entry (usually Year 13). One must be a free composition and the other in response to an externally set brief, which will include a Bach chorale harmonisation. The combined duration of the two compositions must be at least 4½ minutes. Composition can be undertaken on traditional instruments or through the use of music technology.


Future opportunities

A-level music is essential for anyone wishing to study music or music technology at degree level. Careers in the music industry include: recording engineer, producer, promoter, songwriter, session musician, composer - including film, television and video game music, teaching and music therapy.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 29 March 2017
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