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A-Level Music

Awarding Body

Course Code

Head of Department



9MU0 Miss Goodall goodal-c@beaconsfieldhigh.bucks.sch.uk

A-Level Music at Beaconsfield High School is an exciting and challenging subject. Students are encouraged to explore a variety of genres, from classical, theatre and contemporary to jazz, pop and film.

It is an incredibly diverse course, encompassing a variety of practical and academic approaches to the study of music. The varied nature of the course enables students to develop highly-desirable skills in areas such as self-management, teamwork, problem-solving, and communication; all of which makes them an attractive prospective for potential Universities as well as future employers.

The course would suit students who have a passion for this subject and who enjoy not only performing on their instrument but analysing and composing music. Music complements a range of A-level subjects including Sciences, Languages and English.

In order to achieve the highest grades at Music A-Level, we ask that by the beginning of Year 12 students have successfully passed Grade 5 or 6 on their main instrument and have completed ABRSM Grade 5 theory. Having some piano skills would be hugely beneficial for this course.

Students need to have also achieved a Level 7 or above in GCSE Music.

Students have 8 lessons per fortnight with homework set on a regular basis.

We expect our students to be having weekly instrumental lessons and liaising with their instrumental teacher in Year 13 to put together their recital which accounts for 30% of their final A-Level mark.

Students’ academic lessons are split into the following: two composition lessons per fortnight, two Bach Chorale lessons per fortnight and four Listening & Appraising lessons per fortnight. Each lesson is one hour in length.

Course modules

Module 1            Performing Music                                         

Module 2            Composing                        

Module 3             Listening & Appraising 

How this course is assessed 




Assessment Overview




(60 marks)

● A public performance of one or more pieces, performed as a recital.

● Performance can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology.

● The total performance time across all pieces must be a minimum of 8 minutes.

● Performances must be recorded after 1 March in the year of certification.




(60 marks)

● Total of two compositions, one to a brief set by Pearson and one either free composition or also to a brief.

● One composition must be from either a list of briefs related to the areas of study, or a free composition, carrying 40 marks for this component. This composition must be at least 4 minutes in duration.

● One composition must be from a list of briefs assessing compositional technique, carrying 20 marks for this component. This composition must be at least 1 minute in duration, unless the brief specifies a longer minimum duration.

● Total time across both submissions must be a minimum of 6 minutes.

Listening and Appraising 

40% externally assessed


● Knowledge and understanding of musical elements, contexts and language.

● Application of knowledge through the context of six areas of study, each with three set works.

● Application of knowledge to unfamiliar works.

  The areas of study are: Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Music for Film, Popular Music and Jazz, Fusion, New Directions.

● One written paper of 2 hours will be taken, with a total of 100 marks.

  Families can help by

  • Regularly ensuring that their child is listening to a wide range of music! From Pop, Classical, Musical Theatre to Jazz, Rap and Film- the more varied, the better!
  • Making sure that instrumental practice is being done. We expect students to be practicing for at least 1 hour per day on their main instrument
  • Ensuring composition work is regularly completed. We recommend that students purchase Sibelius so they can work on their coursework at home. This is not a compulsory purchase, we have several computers in the department that students can use during their free periods
  • Encouraging their child to go to concerts in the local area and listening to music that they may not normally listen to