AS/A level specification | Edexcel

The Music A Level course allows students to investigate, analyse and evaluate music and its features. The set works enable students to conduct in depth studies into different musical styles, all supported by practical and compositional elements. The content also builds on understanding developed at KS4. Due to the nature of the course and the content, entry requirements would be at least a B at GCSE in Music or Grade 5 theory and Grade 5 practical. A second instrument would be useful but not essential. AS/A Level musicians, students would be encouraged to take an active role in the musical life of the school. The department has several extra-curricular groups on offer including Concert Band, Guitar and musicals.

Content & Breakdown

  • AS Component 1: Performing. A public performance of one or more pieces, performed as a recital lasting 6 minutes. The performance can be solo, in an ensemble, improvising or realising music with music technology. The standard expected is Grade 5 or above. This is worth 30% of the qualification and is externally assessed
  • AS Component 2: Composing. Students have to write a total of two compositions, one to a brief set by Edexcel and one either free composition or also to a brief based on the areas of the set works. This is worth 30% of the qualification and is externally assessed.
  • AS Component 3: Appraising. This is a 90 minute written examination, comprising of two sections. These sections include answering questions related to the set works, short melody/rhythm exercises and essay questions linked to the set works, where students draw on their knowledge of musical elements, context and language. This is worth 40% of the qualification.
  • A2 Component 1: Performing. The content in this unit is similar to that in AS. The recital should last a minimum of 8 minutes and the expected standard is Grade 6 and above.
  • A2 Component 2: Composing. The content in this unit is similar to that in AS. Students will have to write two compositions which must total 6 minutes. One composition must be related to one of the areas of studies or a free composition. The other must be from a list of briefs, assessing compositional technique.
  • A2 Component 3: Appraising. Students will sit a 2 hour written examination, similar to the AS content. The two sections will comprise of questions related to the set works using audio and skeleton scores and dictation. There will also be two essay questions which will allow students to draw links from their study of the set works to the music heard as an unfamiliar extract.

Careers/Further Education

Students can progress from this qualification to:

  • Further study of music in higher education.
  • Vocational courses such as the BTEC National in Music and Music Technology.
  • Apprenticeships or other training.
  • Employment in a related sector.

For more information contact:

Mr I Finnigan