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Music AS & A Level

York College

Sim Balk Lane, York, YO23 2BB

GCE A/AS Level or Equivalent
Level 3
Arts, Media and Publishing

Course Summary

If you have a keen interest in music or are looking to pursue a career in music, A Level Music teaches students to develop performance and composition skills and to further develop knowledge of a variety of music including classical, film, jazz and popular music.

The course is designed to extend the GCSE skills of performing, composing, listening and appraising. Throughout the course students also develop skills in the handling of music technology.

Course Details

The course is aimed at those who have previously attained some knowledge in music or aspects relating to it, either through a GCSE qualification or an instrumental/vocal/music theory qualification. Students may have also acquired suitable experience through less formal means as a performer or as an attentive listener.

Year 1

Performing (30%)
Students will perform a 6-8 minute recital made up of playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology.

Composition (30%)
Students will demonstrate their ability to create and develop musical ideas with technical control and expressive understanding, making creative use of musical devices, conventions and resources by creating two compositions. One will be set to a brief and one to a brief written by the student.

Listening Exam – 2 hours (40%) (100 marks)
A written exam including aural extracts, covering the following areas of study:
Area of Study 1: Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven
Area of Study 2: Popular Song: Blues, Jazz, Swing and Big Band
Area of Study 3: Developments in Instrumental Jazz - 1910 to the Present Day
Area of Study 4: Religious Music of the Baroque Period
Area of Study 5: Programme Music 1820 - 1910
Area of Study 6: Innovations in Music - 1900 to the Present Day

The exam will include the following elements:
Analysing and Evaluating Music
Familiar and Unfamiliar Pieces
Prescribed Works
Questions based on Aural Extracts

Year 2
The second year follows a similar pattern to the first year, including performing, composing and a written/listening exam based on general listening skills and the six areas of study.

How will it be delivered?

You will typically be in College four days per week, with lesson style varying according to subject. In-College delivery is supported by online resources, and students develop strong independent learning skills to equip them for their next steps. In addition, you will be expected to do performances throughout the course.

The Performing and Composing elements are assessed by means of a filmed recital performance and composition scores submitted to OCR, the Awarding Body. The Listening & Appraising component of the course culminates in an exam that includes the following elements:

Analysing and Evaluating Music

Familiar and Unfamiliar Pieces

Prescribed Works that students will have studied in detail

Questions based on Aural Extracts

Entry requirements

A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language at grade 4 or above. You should be able to play an instrument (including voice), to at least grade 5 standard and be at, or working towards, grade 5 standard in music theory. (If you have not followed the grading route, applications will still be considered.) Students are required to do audition and attend a guidance discussion.

Your next steps...

The course provides a sound foundation for music courses in higher education with students progressing on to study at university and some of the country’s top conservatoires. Employment possibilities include the music industry, teaching and other related careers.

Additional information

For more courses like this, check our courses page.