A Level Music

Head of Department: Mr J Woodhall MEd (St Mary’s) PGCE (Roehampton) MM (Surrey)
Email: jwoodhall@stedmundscollege.org

This information is available on a printable download at the bottom of the page.

COURSE BREAKDOWN

Please find below a breakdown of the course. Further information can be found in the full specification, which is available on the AQA A Level Music web-page. Assessment for all three components is completed at the end of Rhetoric II. During two year linear course, students will complete internal assessments and tests in class to ensure they are challenged appropriately and fully prepared.

COMPONENT 1 – APPRAISING MUSIC: LISTENING, ANALYSIS AND CONTEXTUAL UNDERSTANDING.

An examination paper with written questions using excerpts of music (2 hours 30 minutes) – 40% of qualification, (2 hours 30 minutes) – 40% of qualification

  • Section A: Listening

Students must answer three sets of questions in this section. They are assessed on their ability to analyse and evaluate the music heard in the exam and demonstrate knowledge and understanding of musical elements and musical language to make critical judgments.

One set of questions is linked to Area of study 1: Western classical tradition 1650–1910, one of which will re quire aural dictation.  Two sets of questions, each linked to an area of study, come from a choice of six options covering Areas of study 2–7. Each set of questions will contain three excerpts of unfamiliar music by the named artists / composers for each area of study.

  • Section B: Analysis

In this section students will be required to answer two sets of linked questions on two extracts of the set works from Area of study 1: Western classical tradition 1650–1910. Students will be able to access the excerpts relevant to their options digitally on an individual basis.

  • Section C: Essay

Students will be required to answer one essay question on one area of study from a choice of Areas of study 2

AREAS OF STUDY

Component 1 – Appraising Music, is centered around a number of areas of study. These provide a focus for you to appraise, develop and demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of musical elements, musical contexts and musical language. They are also a rich source of material for you to work with when developing performance and composition skills. Area of study 1 is compulsory and, in addition, you choose 2 from the optional areas of study.

Area of study 1: Western Classical tradition 1650 – 1910, compulsory.
There are three strands of music represented which cover three key genres:

· Baroque music: the solo concerto

· Classical music: the operas of Mozart

· Romantic music: the piano music of Chopin, Brahms and Grieg

You must then choose two area of study from the following:

Area of study 2: Pop Music

Pop music includes a number of musical genres including rock, funk and R n B from 1960 the present.             Named artists are: Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Muse, Beyonce, Daft Punk, Labrinth.

Area of study 3: Music for Media

This area of study covers music specifically composed for film, television and gaming from 1958 to the present.  Named composers are: Bernard Hermann, Hans Zimmer, Michael Giacchino, Thomas Newman, Nobuo Uematsu.

Area of study 4: Music for Theatre

Named composers are: Kurt Weill, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Jason Robert  Brown.

Area of study 5: Jazz

Jazz solo and improvisations from 1920 to the present. Named artists: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Gwilym Simcock. 

Area of study 6: Contemporary traditional music

Names artists: Astor Piazzola, Toumani Diabaté, Anoushka Shankar, Mariza, Bellowhead. 

Area of study 7: Art Music since 1910

Art music is defined as music that comprises modern, contemporary classical, electronic art, experimental and minimalist music, as well as other forms. Named composers: Dmitri Shostakovich, Olivier Messiaen, Steve Reich, James MacMillan.

AREAS OF STUDY

Component 1 – Appraising Music, is centred around a number of areas of study. These provide a focus for you to appraise, develop and demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of musical elements, musical contexts and musical language. They are also a rich source of material for you to work with when developing performance and composition skills. Area of study 1 is compulsory and, in addition, you choose 2 from the optional areas of study.

Area of study 1: Western Classical tradition 1650 – 1910, compulsory.

There are three strands of music represented which cover three key genres:

  • Baroque music: the solo concerto
  • Classical music: the operas of Mozart
  • Romantic music: the piano music of Chopin, Brahms and Grieg

You must then choose two area of study from the following:

Area of study 2: Pop Music

Pop music includes a number of musical genres including rock, funk and R n B from 1960 the present.             Named artists are: Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Muse, Beyonce, Daft Punk, Labrinth.

Area of study 3: Music for Media

This area of study covers music specifically composed for film, television and gaming from 1958 to the present.  Named composers are: Bernard Hermann, Hans Zimmer, Michael Giacchino, Thomas Newman, Nobuo Uematsu.

Area of study 4: Music for Theatre

Named composers are: Kurt Weill, Richard Rodgers, Stephen Sondheim, Claude-Michel Schönberg, Jason Robert  Brown.

Area of study 5: Jazz

Jazz solo and improvisations from 1920 to the present. Named artists: Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Pat Metheny, Gwilym Simcock. 

Area of study 6: Contemporary traditional music

Names artists: Astor Piazzola, Toumani Diabaté, Anoushka Shankar, Mariza, Bellowhead. 

Area of study 7: Art Music since 1910

Art music is defined as music that comprises modern, contemporary classical, electronic art, experimental and minimalist music, as well as other forms. Named composers: Dmitri Shostakovich, Olivier Messiaen, Steve Reich, James MacMillan.

READING LIST

There is no expectation that students purchase any of the below books; they are all stocked in the department and in the College library. However, students may wish to use some of the texts to enhance and enrich their understanding of the course’s theoretical concepts. The list below is therefore intended to give a flavour of the course and provide a reference point if any topics prove particularly challenging.

Composition/Listening

​Sturman, P.  Harmony Melody and Composition. Longman

Samson, J.  Chopin, the Four Ballades. Cambridge Music

Goodall, H. Big Bangs. Vintage

Osborne, C. The Operas of Mozart. Gollancz

The Cambridge Companion to Chopin. Cambridge UP

Blume. Classic and Romantic Music. Faber

Mortimer, R Music Technology from Scratch. Rhinegold Education

Redwood, G. Creative Musical Techniques

Lowe, D. How to Write Great Music (www.davelowemusiconline.com)

Denny, J. The Oxford School Harmony Course (Vols 1 & 2) OUP

Morris, R O. Foundations of Practical Harmony and Counterpoint. Macmillan

Morris, R O. The Oxford Harmony (Vols 1 & 2) OUP

Butterworth, A. Harmony in Practice (ABRSM)

Boyd, M. Bach Chorale Harmonisation and Instrumental Counterpoint

Benham, H. A Student’s Guide to Harmony and Counterpoint. Rhinegold Education

Benham, H. AS/A2 Music Harmony Workbook. Rhinegold Education

Area of Study 1: Western classical tradition 1650-1910

Bukofzer, M. Music in the Baroque Era Read Books

Benham, H. Baroque Music in Focus. Rhinegold Education

Keele, S. The Cambridge Companion to the Concerto. Cambridge University Press

Price, C. Purcell Studies. Cambridge University Press

Adams, M. Henry Purcell. Cambridge University Press

Rosen, C. The Classical Style. W.W. Norton

Carter, T. W A Mozart: Le Nozze di Figaro. Cambridge University Press

Hunter and Webster. Opera Buffa in Mozart’s Vienna. Cambridge University Press

Le Nozze Di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro): (English National Opera Guide 17)

Rowland, D. The Cambridge Companion to the Piano. Cambridge University Press

Samson, J. Chopin: The Four Ballades. Cambridge University Press

Samson, J. The Cambridge Companion to Chopin. Cambridge University Press

Matthews, D. Brahms Piano Music. BBC Music Guide

Area of study 2: Pop music

Ventura, D. Understanding Popular Music. Rhinegold Education

 

Area of study 3: Music for media

Cooke, M. A History of Film Music. Cambridge University Press

Ventura, D. Film Music in Focus. Rhinegold Education

 

Area of study 4: Music for theatre

Everett and Laird. The Cambridge Companion to the Musical. Cambridge University Press

Terry, P. Musicals in Focus. Rhinegold Education

Banfield, S. Sondheim’s Broadway Musicals. University of Michigan

Area of study 5: Jazz

Whyton, T. Jazz Icons. Cambridge University Press

Kernfield, B. What to Listen For in Jazz. Yale University Press

Berrett, J. Louis Armstrong and Paul Whiteman. Yale University Press

Green, E. The Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington. Cambridge University Press

Rattenbury, K. Duke Ellington, Jazz Composer. Yale University Press

 

Area of study 6: Contemporary traditional music

Astor Piazzolla: A Memoir (Natalio Gorin) Amadeus Press

Le Grand Tango: The Life and Music of Astor Piazzolla Oxford University Press

Lavezzoli, P and Shankar, R. The Dawn of Indian Music in the West. Continuum

Agawu, K. The African Imagination in Music. Oxford University Press

Elliott, R. Fado and the Place of Longing: Loss, Memory and the City. Routledge

Winter, T and Keegan-Phipps, S. Performing Englishness. Manchester University Press

Area of study 7: Art music since 1910 (A-Level specification only)

Fairclough and Fanning. The Cambridge Companion to Shostakovich. Cambridge University Press

Fanning, D. Shostakovich Studies. Cambridge University Press

Fairclough, P. Shostakovich Studies 2. Cambridge University Press

Ottaway, H. Shostakovich Symphonies. BBC Music Guide

Pople, A. Messiaen: Quatour pour la fin du temps. Cambridge University Press

Sholl, R. Messiaen Studies. Cambridge University Press

Dingle, C. The Life of Messiaen

Potter, K. Four Musical Minimalists. Cambridge University Press

Spicer,P. James Macmillan Choral Music: A Practical Commentary and Survey

Performance Practice

Bruser, M. The Art of practicing. Bell Tower.

Gordon, S. Mastering the Art of Performance. OUP

Williamson, A. Musical excellence. Oxford

Evans, A. The secrets of musical confidence. Thorsons

Chaffin and Imreh. Practising Perfection, memory and piano performance.

Klickstein. The Musician’s Way. OUP

Havas, K. Stage fright. Bosworth.

Green, B. The Inner game of Music. Pan Books

Green, B. The Mastery of Music – Macmillan

Musical Performance, a guide to understanding. Cambridge

Sandor. On Piano Playing. Schirmer.

Wider Musical Understanding

Levitin, D. This is your brain on music. Atlantic Books

Storr, A.Music and the Mind. Harper/Collins

Kivy, P. Musical Language and Cognition. OUP

Rosen, C. Music and Sentiment. Yale

Snyder. Music and memory. MIT press

A LEVEL MUSIC STUDENTS: TIPS FOR SUCCESS.

Performance practice: Make sure you are setting time aside to practice your instrument effectively. Your teacher will guide you as to how much time you should be spending practising each day. Make sure you are practicing both technical exercises and pieces each time you practice. Performing regularly will give you confidence and so you are expected, at A Level, to perform in our programme of recitals and concerts and take part in ensemble playing.

Organisational skills: Music A Level requires the development of a range of different skills, as well as curricular and extra-curricular commitment, so you need to be organised and manage your time effectively. You are expected to keep your academic work in a folder, with work organised into the relevant sections. You are also expected to keep a log of your aural training, using our Auralia software and to practice your aural skills every week.

Leadership: Take the opportunities for leadership seriously and develop yourself as a role model for our younger musicians. You will then be better at listening, reflect more on your learning and take care to refine and improve your performance. Leading whole school music events, such as House Music or Chapel Music and you will build your team skills and levels of confidence.

 

DEPARTMENT INFORMATION

Department Aims and Objectives

The Music Department is aware of its role in the promotion of the Catholic Ethos within St Edmund’s College. Our aims are:

  • For the love of God and fellowship with all in the College Community to be celebrated and fostered though the making of and experience of music.
  • For all pupils to have opportunity to create, perform and enjoy music in a wide variety of styles, genres and cultural backgrounds.
  • To encourage and develop self-confidence, social skills, spiritual growth and sensitive communication from engaging in music making in the classroom, in individual lessons, ensembles, chapel and anywhere in the College.

Extra Curricular Music

The musical life of the school is enhanced by the extra-curricular activities that take place outside normal lessons. The school has a large choir (Schola Cantorum), a Chamber Choir, Orchestra, Jazz Band, Guitar Ensemble, String Ensemble and a number of Wind groups, which perform regularly in concerts and productions in and out of school. We also run a Rhetoric Music Society who are engaged in a number of events, including organising senior concerts and attending concerts elsewhere.

Applying for Music Awards

(The Cardinal Allen music Scholarship) Students who are entering the Sixth Form at 16+ can apply for the CAMS.

Resources and Rooming for A Level Music

The Music School has a discrete A Level Music teaching room with a PC for each student and industry standard Sibelius software. We have a recording studio, (installed in 2017) with a vocal/ instrumental booth and connection into a larger recording space. We have a recital room with Steinway Grand piano.

 

 

 

 

 

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