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Music A level at Luton Sixth Form College

Course description

This course is designed to develop students’ skills to a level appropriate for entry to music-related courses at university or specialist music colleges. More fundamentally, however, it provides an informed basis for a life-long appreciation and enjoyment of music. This is a challenging course that draws on and develops a very wide range of academic and practical musical skills. Yet it also offers opportunities to gain excellent general academic skills in historical research, writing and presentation.

Course content

Component 1: Performing Music (30%)

A performance recital of no less than 8 minutes which can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology

Component 2: Composing (30%)

Students explore compositional practices and will submit a total of two compositions, one to a brief set by the exam board and one either free composition or also to a brief.

  • One composition must be from either a list of briefs related to the areas of study, or a free composition, carrying 40 marks for this component. This composition must be at least 4 minutes in duration.
  • One composition must be from a list of briefs assessing compositional technique, carrying 20 marks for this component. This composition must be at least 1 minute in duration, unless the brief specifies a longer minimum duration.
  • The total time across both submissions must be a minimum of 6 minutes

Component 3: Appraising (40%)

Students develop aural skills by listening to and studying a variety of pieces from six areas of study: Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Music For Film, Popular Music and Jazz, Fusions and New Directions. Students prepare for the exam by focusing on a series of set musical as well as applying this knowledge to unfamiliar works.

Entry requirements

To start any A levels you need to meet the general college entry requirements, including grade C in English.

In addition you must have GCSE Music grade C or an equivalent level of musical experience (to be assessed by a member of the music teaching team at interview/enrolment). You must also have or be close to achieving Grade 5 Music Theory and be able to read and write standard staff musical notation (both bass and treble clefs, not tab). You must also be able to play your main instrument to at least Grade 4 standard (rising to Grade 6/7 standard at the end of the second year). Basic music keyboard skills are also extremely useful.


Exam Board - Edexcel

Future opportunities

There are an incredible variety of degree-level courses in music-related subjects. Many include a strong performance element and these usually require a post-ABRSM Grade 8 level of performance and practical musicianship on entry (usually assessed at interview and audition). Most also require high levels of music theory, harmony and staff notation skills.

These can lead to careers including teaching (instrumental/vocal or classroom at all levels), performing, academic research, journalism, music therapy, commercial composition, music publishing, arts administration, arts librarianship, theatre and performing arts work, music and media/multimedia production and sound design.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Luton Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 09 September 2016
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 years