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A Level Music

Why should I study A Level Music?

Do you play a musical instrument to ABRSM Grade 4 standard or above?  Do you enjoy performing and composing music?  Do you enjoy learning about how music has developed over time?  Do you enjoy discovering and learning about new styles of music?  If the answer is “yes” then Music would be an excellent choice for you.

Music shows universities and potential employers that you are a creative individual, as well as showing that you have the determination and perseverance needed to learn to play a musical instrument.

The course develops students’ musical skills, knowledge and understanding, and fosters a lifelong appreciation of music.

Students perform, compose and analyse music as part of the course, developing knowledge of known music and exploring new and unfamiliar styles.

Studying this subject will enable you to:

  • Broaden musical experience and interests, develop imagination and foster creativity.
  • Develop as an effective, independent learner and a critical and reflective thinker with an enquiring mind.
  • Develop performing skills.
  • Develop composing skills.
  • Reflect critically and make personal judgements on your own and others’ music.

Course Specification

The Eduqas specification is designed to allow learners to pursue their own musical interests.

You will develop skills in the three distinct but related disciplines of performing, composing and appraising, whilst having flexibility to specialise in either performing or composing.  You may choose to apportion 10% of your assessment to either performing or composing as an in-depth study.

You will engage with both classical and popular music.


Major Performance

You are required to give a performance consisting of a minimum of three pieces. At least one of these pieces must be as a soloist. The other pieces may be either as a soloist or as part of an ensemble or a combination of both. One piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one area of study. At least one other piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one other, different area of study. The total duration of all the pieces must be between 10 and 12 minutes. This will be a minimum of ABRSM Grade 6 standard.

Minor Performance
You are required to give a performance containing a minimum of two pieces either as a soloist or as part of an ensemble or a combination of both. One piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one area of study. The duration of the complete performance must be between 6 and 8 minutes. This will be a minimum of ABRSM Grade 5 standard.

Where a performance is required to relate to an area of study, the piece must be selected from one the following areas of study: the Western Classical Tradition Rock and Pop, Musical Theatre , Jazz, Into the 20th/21st century.


Three or two compositions (depending on the apportion).  One will use the musical language of the classical period to compose one  piece of music to a brief.  The others are of a free choice.

Listening and Appraising

All students will study the development of the symphony, engaging with landmark orchestral repertoire. 

You will also choose one area of study from Pop and Rock (Pop, Rock, Soul, Funk and Folk), Musical Theatre (Richard Rodgers, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Stephen Schwartz) or Jazz (Ragtime, Dixieland, Early jazz, Big band, Be-bop and Cool jazz) and one further area of study exploring the musical language and styles from either the early 20th century (Poulenc and Debussy) or the late 20th and early 21st centuries (Adès and Beamish).

Examining Board Information

Board: Eduqas

Course Code: 601/8146/1

Click the image on the right to download the full course specification. 

Widening Horizons

We seek to broaden your horizons through a range of enrichment opportunities beyond the classroom. These include classical concerts, theatre and music events, music performances in the community and at primary schools, and visits for ensembles within the community. 

Do you have a passion for Music?

Then follow your passion and choose A Level Music! Study it because you want to. Study it because you enjoy it and study it because you are good at it. You will learn so much more than music, you will learn how to stand up and perform, how to compose creatively and how to write analytically.  

“Music can change the world, because it can change people.” - Bono

Music will enable you to demonstrate many skills which employers, colleges and universities will be looking for. It can also give you opportunities to travel, meet people and get the most out of life. A Level Music provides a range of transferable skills that will provide a great foundation, whatever pathway you choose. 

“Music produces a kind of pleasure which human nature cannot do without” - Confucius (The Book of Rites)

In the future, creativity is going to be one of the most important and in-demand skills at work (World Economic Forum.) When business leaders across the world were surveyed, they voted creativity as the most important workplace skill to help their businesses survive and grow. This means that subjects like Music are becoming even more important and relevant to young people to give you the chance to succeed – whatever your ambitions.  

“Music is to the mind as air is to the body.” - Plato

Our department is a safe and happy place with a hive of activity, a space to reflect, work and enjoy the wider world of music. The staff are on hand to support you, eat cake and share our musical experiences with you. We are looking at developing a whole range of co-curricular activities over the coming years, including more trips and visits, possibly even a tour. You can boost your CV and UCAS statement by getting involved and running co-curricular activities as well! 

“The only thing better than Music is more Music!”- Ella Fitzgerald

Assessment Format

Component 1: Performing

This is a non-examined assessment.  It is externally assessed by a visiting examiner.  This component is worth 25% or 35% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Component 2: Composing

This is a non-examined assessment.  It is externally assessed by the exam board.  This component is worth 25% or 35% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Component 3: Listening and Appraising

This is a written paper (2hr 15mins) assessing knowledge and understanding of music.  This component is worth 40% of the overall marks for this qualification.

Course Entry Requirements

Students must have ABRSM (or equivalent) Grade 4 minimum on ONE instrument (or voice) and ABRSM (or equivalent) Grade 3 Theory would also be desirable. Students must also have a minimum Grade 5 at GCSE Music.

We reserve the right to interview and audition students prior to starting the course, especially if you do not quite meet the above requirements above but have strong knowledge and skills of a similar standard.

Employability Skills

Employability Skills are essential skills, personal qualities and values that will enable you to thrive in any workplace. Along with good technical understanding and subject knowledge, employers often outline a set of skills that they want from an employee.

This course will help you to develop the following employability skills:

  • Ability to interpret musical works
  • Creative problem-solving
  • Effective communication skills
  • Extended writing skills
  • IT literacy
  • Team work
  • Time management

Next Steps

Students can go on to degrees in Music, Musical Studies, Performance Studies, Music Education and Music Technology.

They can go onto a wide variety of careers including Teaching, Composing, Performing, Music Management, Recording Engineering, Music Therapy, Music Events Management, Composing for the Media, Music Copywriting and more.

10 Possible Careers

  • Broadcaster (TV, Radio and Online)
  • Classroom Teacher
  • Event Management
  • Music Journalist
  • Music Publishing
  • Music Therapist
  • Musician (Stage/Recording Studio)
  • Recording Studio Production
  • Retail
  • Songwriter

Student Profile: Charlie

Charlie's subjects

Art & Design (Photography)

A Level Film Studies

A Level Music


Working in the Music Industry is my ultimate goal, with the Film Industry being a backup. I’ve been involved in various concerts which have helped me develop as a musician and the members of the Music department have encouraged me to become more confident and have exposed me to many different types of music.