Please note that we contribute to the cost of your private music tuition.



This course develops the three essential aspects of music: performing, composing, and listening/appraising over two years.

Course Outline

Unit 1: Performing 30%
Students perform one or more pieces in a concert at the College lasting for a minimum of 8 minutes.

Unit 2: Composing 30%
This is organised in two parts:
1) A composition either to a brief or a free composition
(40 marks)
2) A chorale harmonisation in the style of J.S.Bach
(20 marks)
Both parts must last in total at least 6 minutes.

Unit 3: Appraising 40%
A two-hour examination in two parts. This exam covers a wide range of music genres and styles, each with three
set works.
Section A: Areas of study and dictation (50 marks)
• Three questions related to the set works (audio and skeleton score provided).
• One short melody/rhythm completion exercise.
Section B: Extended response (50 marks)
• Two essay questions – essay one (20 marks) and essay two (30 marks)
• Essay one asks students to draw links from their study of the set works to the music heard as an unfamiliar extract.
• Essay two gives a choice of three questions that ask students to evaluate the musical elements, context and language of one set work. Each option will be from a different area of study.


Performance (30%) – completed during the course and externally examined.
Composition (30%) – completed during the course and externally examined.
Appraising exam (40%) – externally examined.
Examining Board – Edexcel.

Special Entry Requirements

Grade 4 (C) or above in GCSE Music, if taken. Playing an instrument/singing to Grade 5 standard or above is essential: a certificate confirming achievement of at least Grade 5 must be brought to interview. Students who believe they are at this standard but have not yet passed the exam can audition at enrolment instead. Students need to be able to read stave notation (treble and/or bass clef) fluently. An interest and open-minded approach to all styles of music, as well as an ability to compose and write about music (to GCSE standard) would help. These requirements are in addition to our standard A level entry requirements.

Prohibited Options


Career and Progression Opportunities

Studying Music in HE, Performing, Teaching, Music Therapy, Music Technology, Librarianship, Media work – especially broadcasting.


The composing element of the course is completed during the course under controlled conditions at College.

Teaching Methods

These involve much use of the technology available within the department, which includes a suite of iMac computers, with Sibelius and other software installed. These are used extensively for composing work. Much of the historical and aural work is taught in class, but students are also provided with recordings of the set pieces and typical aural tests to encourage them to work in their own time at home. Time is set aside to encourage students to meet individually with their accompanist to allow improvement in recital pieces.

Course Activities

There are a variety of practical activities which encourage students to perform as often as possible. There are a series of concerts throughout the year at the College, and students often organise other performing opportunities. Each year the Heartfield-Wharam competition allows students to compete for £150 prize.

Support for individual instrumental/vocal lessons

The College finances lessons for one instrument (for a fixed number of lessons) for the duration of the course. We can arrange music lessons from Solihull MBC or reimburse students for the cost of private instrumental music lessons. We pay up to £17 for a 30-minute lesson and for up to 28 half-hour lessons for a Year 12 student (23 for a Year 13 student). This equates to up to £476 per student in Year 12 and up to £391 per student in Year 13.

Cost Implications

Students will need to buy a copy of the Edexcel AS/A Level Anthology of Music published by Pearson to annotate. These will be available from the College at £40. The book contains scores for all the works studied over both years.

Complementary Subjects or Enrichment Courses

There is a wide variety of Enrichment courses on offer and Music students are expected to become fully involved in the musical life of the College. In particular all music students must take part in the College choir which provides essential aural training.

This information is correct for September 2019 entry.

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