A Level music is a rigorous academic subject which sets students up well for university study, and universities are aware of this.

What’s it about?

Why study Music?

Entry requirements

What you learn

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A number of studies have shown that music benefits learning by activating all areas of the brain: auditory (sound processing); motor (rhythm processing); limbic (emotions). A Level music will provide transferable skills such as written, analytical, practical and social/personal skills.

It shows:

  • independent learning; having to be disciplined about practise.
  • team working: particularly if you’re involved in weekly groups or ensembles, concerts and performances;
  • performance and presentation skills: which are useful for any job/career
  • listening: these are highly developed in musicians and it is an important part of the course
  • analytical and essay-writing skills
  • confidence and self-esteem: which has a knock-on effect in all areas of life and learning
  • creativity and self-expression: helping young people to think differently and harness the power of their imagination.

Research has shown that music can improve mood and prompt creative flow, which helps with anxiety. There only one exam – the rest is course work. This takes the pressure off during those critical weeks where you will have many other exams. Finally and perhaps most importantly: you are more likely to succeed and achieve a higher grade if you study something you are good at and enjoy.

The Course Structure

 Component 1: Appraising Music

 What’s assessed

  • Listening
  • Analysis
  • Contextual understanding

 How it’s assessed

Exam paper with listening and written questions using excerpts of music.


  • Section A: Listening
  • Section B: Analysis
  • Section C: Essay

This component is worth 40% of the marks.

Component 2: Performance

 What’s assessed

  • Music performance

How it’s assessed

Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist and/or vocalist and/or music production.

A minimum of ten minutes of performance in total is required. This component is worth 35%.

Component 3: Composition

 What’s assessed

  • Composition

 How it’s assessed

  • Composition 1: Composition to a brief
  • Composition 2: Free composition

A minimum of four and a half minutes of music in total is required (no more than six minutes).

This component is worth 25%.

Additional Information

Students will study, perform and compose music in a variety of genres from classical to pop. Techniques studied should be reflected in the students’ compositions and performances.


Potential Careers

  • Music: Being a musician isn’t the only career in music
    • Community musician
    • Concert hall or music venue manager
    • Music therapist
    • Private tutor
    • Sound technician
    • Teacher
  • The arts/creative industries
    • Arts administration
    • Creative education
    • Work in film/TV/theatre/radio
  • Professional career:
    • Medicine/law/accountancy

 Why Study Music?

 Entry Requirements

Subject Qualification (Level 3) Required GCSE Grades
(in addition to Sixth Form entry requirements)
Additional Information
Music A Level 6+ Music

What You Learn

Our Learning Journeys have been created to give you a flavour for the types of topics students study in each year at our school. They show what will be covered throughout the year and during each half-term, but please note there is some flexibility to what is taught when. We hope you find them helpful.