Head of Department
Why study this course?
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.
What level of prior knowledge, attainment and skills are required?
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.
What does the course cover and how is it structured?
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.
How is the course assessed?
Performing: 30% of the course. One recital in Year 13 which must last a minimum of 8 minutes. It is recommended that students perform pieces that are at least Grade 8 in standard
Composing: 30% of the course. This is then divided into two components: 1 free composition and 1 technical study
Listening and appraising: 40% of the course. This is a 2 hour exam taken at the end of Year 13.
How can families help?
- 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