Head of Department Miss F Cross
Examination Board: Edexcel

Why Study A-Level Music at A-Level?

Music at A-Level is the basis of music degree courses at university. It is an essential qualification for anyone wishing to teach music or a musical instrument at secondary level or above. It is also a very advantageous qualification for students wishing to pursue a career in performance, composition, music teaching whether peripatetic or whole class, music retail, product/instrument demonstration, music production, music therapy, studio recording, producing, radio, and music PR.

Course Aims

This course develops performing, composing and listening skills. Students develop their performance on their chosen instrument, or more than one instrument, to a high standard. As a guide, the standard a candidate should have reached during the AS year is Grade 5 or equivalent ability. This rises to Grade 6 at A2. Candidates work towards a short recital at the end of each year of the 2-year course. 

Course Content

Candidates will undertake a number of composing assignments to develop their skills in this area. At AS, candidates produce a short composition from a module set by the exam board, during 15 hours of supervised coursework time. At A2, students will again produce a composition to a given modlue and will also produce a technical study where they are required to compose in a recognised pop or classical style. Pupils will have access to music technology software and use Sibelius for their work.

Pupils’ Performance and Composition work can be showcased at music events held at Gosfield School, with further opportunities for pupils to become more rounded musicians, excelling in the practical aspects of the course. Students practise the skills of listening to and understanding music and will learn how to harmonise melodies in a chorale style, analyse the harmonies used in a piece of distinctive piano accompaniment, study a number of set works ranging from Renaissance music through to the 20th Century alongside many popular styles such as Jazz, Rock ‘n’ Roll and Pop. At A2, pupils will develop their ability to recognise musical features of a wide range of music from outside the set works they are required to study.


AS Level (Year 12) - A solo composition (approx. 4 min in length), a 5-6 min recital on their chosen instrument, a Listening exam
A2 Level (Year 13) - A 12-15 min recital on their chosen instrument, two compositions or technical studies (stylistic, original or one of each), an Extended Set Works written exam (2 hours)