Music is a great subject as you get exposed to loads of new music you wouldn’t normally listen to. You also learn how to compose pieces of music which you can be really proud of.

George Kelly

George Kelly

Course Description

This course will equip students with the fundamental skills required to progress to advanced musicianship. Students will develop their skills as performers and composers, as well as learning how to analyse music from a variety of styles. Music is a multi-faceted subject and involves a variety of contrasting skills ranging from practical music making, to creating and analysing music.

Entry Requirements

Achieve 5 or more standard GCSE passes or higher (grade 4 or higher).

It is desirable that students have a qualification in a musical instrument to at least Grade 5 to study A Level Music.

If a student is applying for a course in a subject that they have studied at GCSE it is expected that a student would have achieved at least a standard pass (grade 4) in this subject.

Course Content

Component 1 – Appraising Music
The areas of study provide a focus for students to appraise, develop and demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of musical elements, musical contexts and musical language. In this unit students will study the ‘Western classical tradition’ and a choice of two other areas from: pop music, music for media, music for theatre, jazz, contemporary traditional music, or art music since 1910. The areas of study can also provide a rich source of material for students to work with when developing performance and composition skills.

Component 2 – Performance
This unit gives students the opportunity to perform as an instrumentalist and/or singer. Students will be given specialist one-to-one tuition in order to ensure they are fully equipped for this part of the course. There is also an option to perform using music technology.

Component 3 – A Musical Performance
This unit gives students an opportunity to compose their own music. Students will acquire the necessary skills and techniques to complete two compositions; one to an exam board set brief, and one free composition. Students will also write two 150-word programme notes to accompany their compositions.


Unit 1 – Appraising Music
Exam: 2 hours 30 minutes
120 marks
40% of A Level

Unit 2 – Performance
10 minute performance
50 marks
35% of A Level

Unit 3 – Composition
2 compositions
50 marks
25% of A Level

Future Opportunities

The AQA Music course makes for great preparation for any further form of musical study at undergraduate level. It also gives students the fundamental skills required for any serious career in music as a performer or composer. Beyond this, its academic rigour and high demands on creative and interpretive skills makes it good training for many degrees and careers.

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