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A Level Music at King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford

Course description

  •  to extend the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to communicate through and take part in music making
  •  to extend the appreciation of, the diverse heritage of music, promoting spiritual and cultural development
  •  to develop particular strengths & interests, encouraging lifelong learning and providing access to musicrelated careers
  •  to recognise the interdependence of musical skills, knowledge and understanding and the links between the activities of performing/realising, composing and appraising.

Course content

In Unit 1 Performing Music, students perform one or more solo pieces lasting 5-6 minutes.

In Unit 2 Composing, students compose a three-minute piece in response to a chosen brief. Students also write a CD sleeve note to describe aspects of their final composition and explain how other pieces of music have influenced it.

In Unit 3 Listening, students listen to two excerpts from the set works and demonstrate their skills of analysis by aurally identifying key musical features, compare and contrast given musical features from the selected set works and place them in a social and historical context, analyse a given score of unfamiliar music, and harmonise alto, tenor and bass parts to a given soprano melody

In Unit 4 Extended performance students present a balanced programme lasting for 12-15 minutes on one or more instruments.

In Unit 5 Composition and Technical Study students compose a three-minute piece in response to a chosen brief and complete a technical study in pastiche. Students can choose from two compositions, one composition and one technical study or two technical studies.

In Unit 6 Further Musical Understanding students complete a 2-hour examination. In section A students listen to excerpts of unfamiliar music related to the areas of study; in section B students identify given musical features from selected set works; and in section C students write an essay showing understanding of continuity and change within the group of set works studied.

Entry requirements

  •  At least Grade 5 standard (Associated Board, Trinity Guildhall or Rockschool) on an instrument.
  •  Grade 5 theory. Music A level is only 30% practical and has significant theoretical and analytical demands.
  •  A total commitment to extra-curricular musical activities. A Level candidates are expected to be members of the choir and any other ensemble relevant to their instrument. Desirable:
  •  A good pass at GCSE Music; Membership of ensembles outside school.


Assessment Objective 1 Interpret musical ideas with technical and expressive control and a sense of style and awareness of occasion and/or ensemble (performing/realising). 30% AS, 30% A2, 30% in GCE

Assessment Objective 2 Create and develop musical ideas with technical control and expressive understanding making use of musical devices, conventions and resources (composing/arranging). 30% AS, 30% A2, 30% in GCE

Assessment Objective 3 Demonstrate understanding of and comment perceptively on, the structural, expressive and contextual aspects of music (appraising). 40% AS, 40% A2, 40% in GCE

Future opportunities

The course should be taken by students who wish to study music in higher education and those who wish to pursue a career of whatever sort in music. Virtually all universities offer the subject, often in conjunction with another arts subject especially a language, and increasingly music technology can be studied at a variety of institutions. Students wishing to pursue a performing career in music should consider the courses available at the various conservatoire-type institutions, such as the Royal College of Music, although it might be desirable to follow an academic music course first. The course should be taken by those interested in an arts administration career, a possible career in the recording industry and those intending to teach music. It may also be taken by those students who seek to pursue a course that will offer insight into one area of the performing arts and who wish to retain a life-long interest in the subject.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact King Edward VI Grammar School, Chelmsford directly.

Last updated date: 01 May 2015

Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 2 Years