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The Music Department 

The Music department is a lively and active team. We seek to deliver musical, challenging, and exciting lessons that equip students with the skills, knowledge, and understanding needed to become successful musicians. We passionately believe in the need to enthuse and engage students in real musical experiences, and to develop creativity within our students. 

Click here to view the extra curricular timetable from the Music department.

A Level Music Course Break Down: Edexcel 

There are 3 units that you will cover during your A Level Music course:

  • Unit 1:     Performing Music 30 % (60 marks)
  • Unit 2:   Composing Music 30 % (60 marks)
  • Unit 3:   Listening to and Appraising Music  40 % (80 marks)

Unit 1:   Performing Music 30% (60 marks)

This is a COURSEWORK unit.  You will give a performance of a public recital which will be recorded and sent off to be externally assessed. You may perform one or more pieces. The total duration of your performance must be at least 8 minutes. Performances can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology.

You must be practicing regularly on your chosen instrument so that you are developing all the skills needed to achieve a high mark on this unit.  In addition to your music teachers, it is essential that you speak to your vocal/instrumental teacher about this unit to help you select appropriate repertoire.

A recital evening will be scheduled in order to prepare you for this component of the course. Your A Level performance exam will be the recording that will be sent off to be externally assessed.

Unit 2:  Composing Music 30% (Total 60 marks)

This is a COURSEWORK unit where CONTROLLED CONDITIONS apply.  Your work will be externally assessed. You will complete a total of two compositions, one to a brief set by Pearson and one either free composition or also to a brief. You will produce a score and a recording for both compositions which will be sent off to be moderated. The technical study must be at least 1 minute in duration. The other set brief/free composition must be at least 4 minutes in duration. The total time across two compositions must be a minimum of 6 minutes when combined.

In this unit you must complete:  

One composition (choice of two options) worth 15%:

  • One composition based on a set brief assessing compositional technique (Technical Study – 20 marks)
  • One free/set brief composition (4 minutes minimum – 40 marks)

Unit 3:  Listening and Appraising Music (40%) 2 hours 10 mins (100 marks)

This is the SUMMER EXAMINATION and is assessed externally.  The listening paper is based on 6 AREAS of STUDY.  You will study 13 set works from the 6 Areas of Study – this means that you will study specific pieces which you may be asked about in the exam. The listening exam is divided into 2 sections: the first will ask you questions about any of the set works. Section B is an extended piece of writing of two essays.

Section A: Areas of study and dictation (50 marks)

  • Three questions related to the set works (audio and skeleton score provided).
  • One short melody/rhythm completion exercise.

Section B: Extended response (50 marks)

Two essay questions – essay one (20 marks) and essay two (30 marks)

  • Essay one requires you to draw links from your study of the set works to the music heard as an unfamiliar extract
  • Essay two gives a choice of four questions that ask you to evaluate the musical  elements, context and language of one set work.
  • Each option will be from a different area of study.

AOS1 - Vocal Music

J.S Bach – Cantata: Ein Feste Burg BMW 80: Movement 1. Chorus: Ein Feste Burg ist  unser Gott Movement, 2. Aria and chorale: Alles, was von Gott geboren (bass, soprano), Movement 8: Chorale: Das Wort sie sollen lassen stahn.

Vaugan Williams – On Wenlock Edge: Nos. 1, 3 and 5 (On Wenlock Edge, Is my  team ploughing? And Bredon Hill)

AOS2 - Instrumental Music:

Clara Wieck-Schumann –  Piano Trio in G minor, Op. 17: movement 1

Hector Berlioz – Symphonie Fantastique: Movement I

AOS3 – Music for Film

Danny Elfman – Batman Returns: Birth of a Penguin Part 1, Birth of a Penguin Part 2, Batman vs the Circus, The Rise and Fall from Grace

Bernard Hermann: Psycho: Prelude, The City, Marion, The Murder (Shower Scene), The Toys, The Cellar, Discovery, Finale

AOS4 – Popular Music and Jazz

Courtney Pine –  Back in the Day: Lady Day and (John Coltrane), Inner State (of Mind), Love and Affection

Kate Bush –  Hounds of Love: Cloudbusting, And Dream of Sheep, Under Ice

Beatles, Revolver: Eleanor Rigby, Here, there and everywhere, I want to tell you,  Tomorrow never knows

AOS5 – Fusions 

Debussy – Estampes No.1 & 2: No.1 Pagodes, No.2 La soirée dans Grenade 

Familia Valera Miranda –  Caña Quema: Se quema la chumbambá, Allá va candela Anoushka Shankar, Breathing Under Water: Burn, Breathing Under Water, Easy

AOS6 – New Directions

Kaija Saariaho – Petals for Violoncello and Live Electronics

Stravinsky, Rite of Spring: Introduction, The Augurs of Spring, Ritual of Abduction