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Music A-Level

Music A-Level at The Bedford Sixth Form (Stock Image)

Music courses bring together listening, performance and composition skills, valuing all music styles and instruments.

You will study a broad range of musical styles but will also focus on your own areas of interest. You will develop skills in analysis and music appraisal which can be used for personal expression, you will also gain the necessary skills in being critical, needed for future musical study and careers.

Music A-Level at The Bedford Sixth Form 2020

Year one content

Year one aims to develop knowledge and skills in music appraisal so that you can demonstrate an in-depth knowledge and understanding of musical elements, musical contexts and musical language. This also provides the basis of rich resource material to be used when developing performance and composition skills.

Component 1: Appraising Music

You will study the area of Western classical tradition (1650-1910) and then two further areas from:

  • Pop music
  • Music for media
  • Music for theatre
  • Jazz
  • Contemporary traditional music
  • Art music since 1910

Component 2: Performance

In year one you will also begin to develop performance skills and will start to practice by performing with an instrument or as a vocalist. You will learn how to interpret musical elements and use various resources and techniques to communicate musical ideas.

Music A-Level at The Bedford Sixth Form 2020

Year two content

In the second year of study you will revisit the core knowledge of component 1 and continue to develop skills and experience in performance (component 2).

Component 3: Composition

You will learn how to develop, extend and manipulate musical ideas, composing your own music to both set briefs and your own compositions.

You will learn how to demonstrate technical control in using musical elements and will compose music using an instrument, vocals or by digital production methods.

Additional information

What does this course prepare me for?

This course suits someone who is already an established musician with graded awards for playing an instrument or with active experience as a vocalist.

Course support and enrichment

You may have the opportunity to take part in performances or to visit concerts and see live performances.


Students will be assessed internally on a regular basis, including through formal mock exams. There are final exams at the end of the course in Year two.

You will be assessed in each of the 3 components:

Component 1: This is an externally marked exam in three sections lasting 2 hours and 30 minutes (40% of qualification). The written exam is split into listening, analysis and essay sections.

Component 2: This is externally marked by AQA (35% of qualification). Each student will select three pieces which they will perform and these performances will be recorded.

Component 3: This is externally marked by AQA (25% of qualification). Each student must compose 2 pieces; one to a set brief and one free composition. Students will have a choice of the set brief and must compose pieces of at least 4-and-a-half-minutes in length each. The compositions will be recorded for assessment.

Entry requirements

Some of our subjects are subject to standard entry requirement and some have additional requirements. Please see below:

Subject specific entry requirements

  • 4 in Music GCSE & at least a 4 ABRSM in an instrument. You should also be currently practicing and may be asked to attend an audition.

Standard entry requirements

  • At least five GCSEs at grades 9-4 including English Language and Maths (one Vocational or Technical qualification at Merit or above may be counted)


  • At least grade 4 (or Merit for Vocational or Technical qualifications) in any subject(s) that you have taken at GCSE and wish to continue studying at Level 3


  • Average GCSE (best 8) of at least 4 (38 on the old points table)


  • Grade 4 (or Merit), at least, in any subject previously studied
  • Students will take either 3 A-Level subjects or 1 Diploma subject with 1 A-Level

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