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Music A Level


TITLE: Pearson Edexcel Level 3 Advanced GCE in Music (601/7928/4)


The A-level course allows pupils to study Music as a practical, intellectual and creative subject, covering a wide range of styles of music, including classical, jazz, film music and pop. We live in an age of cultural diversity and the course aims to enable musicians from all backgrounds to develop as performers and composers. The course is divided into three units: Performance, Composition and Appraising.

The Performance unit requires students to perform on their main instrument demonstrating a range of repertoire to produce a balanced programme.

The Composition unit requires students to compose both in the style of other composers and to compose their own compositions. The briefs assessing technique include Bach Chorales, 2-part harmony, arrangement and remix.

The Appraising unit requires students to analyse music focusing on structure, instrumentation, melody, harmony and texture. There is a real breadth to the thirteen-set works covered and students study the set works using scores and recordings. Students are expected to compare the set works and place them in a wider context by studying a selection of other works from the same genres.




Assessment and Time

Marks available


1: Performing

Solo and/or ensemble


8m - 12m



2: Composing

2 compositions:

• 1 free or free choice brief

• 1 brief assessing technique


minimum of 4m

minimum of 1m

(minimum total 6m)




3: Appraising

6 Areas of Study with 3 set works in each:

• Vocal Music

• Instrumental Music

• Music for Film

• Popular Music and Jazz

• Fusions

• New Directions

2 hour exam



This two-year course is open to all pupils. The ability to play at least one instrument to grade VI by the time of the April coursework deadline in Year 13 gives access to the higher A-Level grades, but a keen interest in performing, creating and understanding music is also important. In order to ensure a strong result at A-Level Music, students will benefit from membership of a range of school and external extra-curricular activities.


In an ever more competitive higher education market and workplace, universities and employers are not only looking for impressive grades, but also subjects which demonstrate a student’s versatility and a greater breadth of skill and interest. As a very varied discipline, Music A-Level is therefore recognised both as a rigorous academic subject and as excellent preparation for many courses at Higher Education. Music A-Level fits well with all other Arts and Science subjects and it teaches many transferable skills, including confidence in performance and at interview, self-discipline in individual practice, teamwork in ensemble-playing, music technology, essay writing and analysis.