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Performing Arts - Music







Performing Arts Music Mr King Edexcel A level


Music is a two year Linear A level.  It retains its focus on performing, composing, listening and analytical skills, with technology also now a feature of some aspects of the composing units of the course.  Note that Music Technology remains as a separate A level and both subjects can be studied at A level.

Course Entrance Requirements

It is useful to have taken Music at GCSE level, but this is not essential, as long as you can already play a musical instrument and are able to read music to grade 6 or an equivalent standard.  You will need to reach a grade 7 level by the end of the two year course, in order to access the highest marks in performance.

What will I learn?

The course demands performing, composing, listening and analytical skills in almost equal measure including technology.  You will improve your skills in performing and composing in a range of styles.  You will listen to a wide variety of music and develop a more informed appreciation of how and why it was written and/or performed.


Music is fortunate to be one of the few practical subjects that has retained its 60% to 40% split of practical work to written exam.

NEA = non examined assessment – this is the new term for coursework




1 - Performing (NEA)


Total performance time of 8 minutes


Grade 7 or equivalent

Must be performed between March and May in the second year of the course.

Marked solely by the exam board.

2 - Composing (NEA)


Compose two pieces with a combined time of 6 minutes.

Compositions can be free choice or to briefs set by the exam board.

Marked solely by the exam board.

3 - Appraising Exam


Written exam sat in June of the second year of the course.

There are two sections to this part of the course.

Section A: 50 marks – short answer questions on set works and one dictation question.

Section B: 50 marks – one essay question on unfamiliar music.

One essay, from a choice of three, each on a different set work and how it relates to wider listening.

Areas of Study for Component 3

Vocal Music

Instrumental Music

Film Music

Popular Music and Jazz


New Directions

Career Possibilities

Any career to do with music, including teaching, librarian, publicity etc.  However, it is very important to realise that music is an extremely valuable and highly regarded qualification whatever your chosen vocation, particularly by universities that appreciate the intellectual, analytical, sensitive and creative qualities of musicians.

Exam board


Contact Name

For further information, please see Mr King – Head of Music.

NB: Please note this is a different course to ‘Music Technology’ and you must specify which one you are applying for on your options form.  You may study both Music A level and the Diploma in Music Technology.