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Course leader: Mr A Goldsmith

Aims of the course:

The aim of the course is to develop students’ knowledge, understanding and skills, in both academic and practical settings. These will be developed across Performance, Composition and Appraising tasks, all three of which are mandatory components of the A Level course. The course is designed to develop well-rounded, academic musicians.

Course Structure

Component 1 Performance and Component 2 Composition

Add up to a total of 60% of your final A Level grade

Option A
Performance will be worth 35% - Performances will last a total of 10-12 minutes

Composition will be worth 25% - Compositions will last a total of 4-6 minutes

Option B
Performance will be worth 25% - Performances will last a total of 6-8 minutes

Composition will be worth 35% - Compositions will last a total of 8-10 minutes

Component 3 Appraising

Accounts for 40% of your A Level

One written exam lasting 2hrs 15minutes, divided into three parts:

Area of Study A – The Western Classical Tradition

Area of Study B (Rock and Pop), Area of Study C (Musical Theatre) OR Area of Study D (Jazz)

Area of Study E (Into the 20th Century) OR Area of Study F (Into the 21st Century)

Set Works

A Symphony 104 in D ‘London’ – Haydn AND Symphony No.4 in A Major ‘Italian’ Mendelssoh

E Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, Movement 2 – Poulenc AND Three Nocturnes, Number 1 Nuages – Debussy

F Asyla, Movement 3, Ecstasio – Ades AND String Quartet No.2 (Opus California) Movements 1 and 4 - Beamish

What are lessons like?

Lessons will focus on developing core skills in each of the three areas. Strong independent learning skills will be nurtured and discussion and debate will be promoted as a way of deepening understanding and furthering creativity. Lessons will take different forms depending on the task at hand, from workshops and creative development time to more formal seminars and academic writing sessions.

How you will be assessed

Component 1 (Performance) is assessed by an examiner, who will visit us here at St Mary’s to listen to you play live.

Component 2 (Composition) is submitted as coursework and is then assessed externally by an examiner.

Component 3 (Appraising) is assessed by a 2hr 15minute written examination at the end of the course.

Recommended prior learning / entry requirements:

It is advantageous that students who choose to study A-Level Music have successfully completed a level 2 course (e.g. GCSE Music / BTEC Level 2 in Music). Performance must be of at least Grade 5 standard (or equivalent) by the end of the course. The course requires a strong and independent work ethic from the outset and an enjoyment of creative subjects, alongside an ability to write coherently in an academic style.

Where can this course lead to?

Studying A-Level Music is perfect preparation for those wanting to study for an academic music degree at university or those wishing to pursue a career in performance at a music college or conservatoire.

Why study Music at St Mary’s College Sixth Form?

St Mary’s College is ‘Outstanding’ and this reflects the hard work and dedication of all who work here, both students and staff. The pastoral care, guidance and support is invaluable in ensuring that we impact positively on every student in our care. The music department is equipped with excellent facilities, including JamPod technology, a MAC suite running Sibelius, Logic and Garageband and four practice rooms, including a fully-equipped percussion studio.

There are approximately 200 instrumentalists and singers within the St Mary’s College community and this ensures that a vibrant and varied extra-curricular performance programme runs throughout the year.

If you would like more information about A-Level Music or would like to arrange a visit to the department then please feel free to contact us and you will be made very welcome.