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Music A-Level at St Clement Danes School

Course description


  • To encourage students to extend the knowledge, skills and understanding needed to communicate through music and take part in music making
  • To encourage students to recognise and appreciate their culture, to have a respect for the culture of others and to understand how cultures develop
  • To encourage students to develop different strengths and interests, providing access to music-related careers
  • To provide a worthwhile, satisfying and complete course of study, which broadens students’ experience, including skills of personal expression, sensitivity to others and self-discipline

Course content

In the AS course, students will be involved in a wide variety of musical learning involving practical performance, theoretical study, creation of their own music and a full understanding of the effect of culture upon the development of music and vice versa. The course covers a wide variety of musical styles from classical, popular and world music traditions, and extends historically as far back as 1550. Within this wide range, candidates study two topic areas in greater detail. Performance standard at AS is expected to be around Grade V level, and can be done on any instrument. The course involves a continuation of the composition work begun at GCSE, both in structured pastiche and in a more self-expressive way. By the end of the full A-level, it will be expected that students have greatly deepened their knowledge of music in general. They should be fully conversant with all the technical terms and the theoretical background to music. They should have some knowledge of the development of musical instruments and musical form. This is achieved through an extension of the work done at AS level – again in the form of composition, analysis, performance (at Grade VI level), pastiche and listening.

  • Unit 1 - Performing Music
  • Unit 2 - Composing
  • Unit 3 - Developing Musical Understanding
  • Unit 4 - Extended Performance
  • Unit 5 - Compostition & Technical Study
  • Unit 6 - Further Musical Understanding

Entry requirements

Attain at least a C grade in English Language/English Literature GCSE or Mathematics GCSE. Music: B.


Unit 1 - Performing Music (30% of AS, 15% of A Level) Perform solo or ensemble pieces lasting 5-6 minutes (performed in school, internally assessed).

Unit 2 - Composing (30% of AS, 15% of A Level) The creation of a three-minute piece in response to a chosen brief. Students also write a CD sleeve to describe aspects of their final composition. (coursework, externally assessed).

Unit 3 - Developing Musical Understanding (40% of AS, 20% of A Level) Section A - Listening Section B - Investigating musical styles Section C - Understanding chords & lines (2 hr examination, externally assessed)

Unit 4 - Extended Performance (15% of A Level) 12 - 15 minute recital on any instrument (performed in school, internally assessed).

Unit 5 - Compostition & Technical Study (15% of A Level) Students must complete two tasks in this unit choosing from either one composition and one technical study or two compositions or two technical studies.

Unit 6 - Further Musical Understanding (20% of A Level) Section A - Aural analysis Section B - Music in context Section C - Continuity and change in instrumental music (2 hr examination, externally assessed)

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Clement Danes School directly.

Last updated date: 07 September 2016
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Key information

  • Start date: Next September
  • Duration: 1 or 2 years