A Level Music

Head of Department: Mrs C Noble, BA (Hons) (Exeter), PGCE (Canterbury)
Email: cnoble@stedmundscollege.org

There are three components at AS and A Level each with separate qualifications with the following components:

Component 1  – Appraising music

There are three sections.

Section A – two compulsory questions from a selection of seven (one must be on Western classical tradition).

Section B – two questions, students to answer one.

Section C – one essay question from a choice of six.

Component 2   – Performance

Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist or singer; and/or music production (via technology). In Rhetoric I the performance must last six minutes minimum and eight minutes maximum. In Rhetoric II the performance must last ten minutes minimum and twelve minutes maximum. Students must provide a recording of performance, including accompanying evidence (a score, lead sheet, annotation, or guide recording).

Externally assessed by AQA.

50 marks in total (30% of AS and 35% of A Level)

Component 3 -Composition Assessment

Each student must compose two compositions. Composition 1: composing to a brief (25 marks). Composition 2: free composition (25 marks). Combined composition time must last four and a half minutes minimum and six minutes maximum.

Externally assessed by AQA.

50 marks in total (30% of AS and 25% of A Level).

Key skills

The A Level units build directly upon the foundations laid in GCSE Music. Specific skills required are:

  • High level of performance in one instrument or voice (Grade 6 at Rhetoric I and Grade 7+ at Rhetoric II)
  • Good composition skills.
Enrichment opportunities

St Edmund’s offers many opportunities for solo and ensemble performances in recitals, concerts and Masses. Rhetoricians’ musical experience and ability is essential in maintaining a high standard of performance in our many ensembles such as
Orchestra, Jazz Band, Schola Cantorum and Senior choir. As leaders, they will also organise House

Higher education and career prospects

The course equips students to study Music in higher education and pursue a music-related career, as well as developing a lifelong appreciation and enjoyment of music.

Rhetoric Music students at St Edmund’s have progressed on to take Music, Music Technology and Music Engineering as a degree, leading to working in the music industry performing, recording and teaching. Music students taking different degree subjects participate in the musical life at universities and beyond. Outstanding musicians may qualify for higher education choral and organ scholarships.