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Exam Board Specification: Edexcel

Course level

Level 3

How the course is assessed

Three units in each year: performance (30%), composition (30%) and musical understanding (40%). Performance units are internally assessed; others are externally assessed.

Description of course

Students prepare and perform an 8-10 minute recital on the instrument/voice of their choice in the second year of the course; the performance needs to be at about Grade 7 standard. The composition component is in two parts: in the first students must compose a 4-minute piece of their choice; in the second students are given the opening bars of a piece of music and are required to complete the piece in a specified style. In the final component students are examined on their understanding of set works, but also on their aural analysis on unheard works.

Entry criteria

Students must meet the Consortium minimum entry criteria for A Level courses, that is, a GCSE grade 4 or higher in English Language, grade 4 or higher in Maths (point score of 44.5 or higher).

To study A Level Music, students are also required to have a GCSE grade B or equivalent in Music and have some, if limited, understanding of music theory. Students should be able to play an instrument to a good standard and be receiving instrumental lessons.

Higher education, future careers and progression routes

Studying A level Music is looked upon very favourably by higher education institutions; it is rigorously academic, but also creative and challenging. Possible careers include music performance, music criticism, composition, education, publishing, and many more.

2016 Examination success rates:

Pass rate: 100%
A*-B = 20%
A*-C = 60%

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