Music in the Sixth Form

Departmental Courses

A Level Music

Handbooks and Summer Tasks

Music is constantly evolving, inspiring creativity and expression in a way that no other subject can. That is why the A-level qualification that offers you the chance to study a wide range of musical genres.

Music A level is split into three clear sections.

History of Music

Areas of study include Western Classical Tradition, Pop Music, Music for Media, Music for theatre, Contemporary traditional music and Art Music since 1910. The course includes artists and composers including Muse, Daft Punk, Labrinth, Hans Zimmer, Nobuo Uematsu, Jason Robert Brown, Pat Methany, Anoushka Shankar and Bellowhead.  The set works are based on Baroque concertos and classical music ‘The Operas of Mozart.’


Composing skills are developed and based on the traditional harmony methods and develop pre-existing compositional skills from GCSE. There will be lots of opportunities to compose to given briefs and small harmony tasks to help develop these skills. One composition will be based on a given brief and the other a free composition.


Throughout the course, there will be regular lessons with an instrumental teacher roughly 1 hour a week. Practice time required at least 3 hours a week to reach grade 8 standard for your instrument. This will lead to a recital programme towards the end of the course that requires playing time between 10 and 15 minutes.


Assessment is based on the following three components: Appraising music, composing music and performing music. Appraising Music is assessed using the following three sections: Listening, Analysis and Contextual Understanding

The exam paper contains listening and written questions using excerpts of music Section A: Listening (56 marks) Section B: Analysis (34 marks) Section C: Essay (30 marks).This component is 40% of A-level marks (120 marks).

Composing music is assessed in the following way:

Composition 1: Composition to a brief (25 marks) and Composition 2: Free composition (25 marks). This component is worth 25% of A-level marks (50 marks).

Music Performance is assessed by Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist, or vocalist and/or music production (via technology).

A minimum of ten minutes of performance in total is required.

This component is 35% of A-level marks (50 marks).

There are many opportunities in Music after A Level. A degree or Diploma in Music / Music technology can lead to exciting careers in the performing Arts sector to include. Musician, Music producer, Events management, Music Journalist, Music therapist. If you have your Grade 8 ABRSM / Rock school, you can also become a private instrumental teacher.