Curriculum – KS5 Music

Examination Board: Edexcel

Units Taken: Component 1 (Performing); Component 2 (Composing); Component 3 (Appraising).

Link to Specification: Click here.


Course Content

A level Music is both thoroughly practical and rigorously academic, and focuses on performing, composing, listening and appraising skills. Pupils will perform solos on an instrument/voice, compose in different styles and gain an understanding of music through analysis of set works from a range of musical eras and cultures.

Performing (30%)

Students offer a performance on one instrument (which can include voice) in any style. This will be assessed through a final recital at the end of the A level course. Students will need regular input (i.e. a weekly lesson) from a specialist instrumental teacher.

Composing (30%)

Students will produce a free composition (score and recording.) There is a good degree of flexibility in terms of style and instrumentation, so students are able to explore musical languages that interest them most. In addition, students will learn to harmonise a chorale melody in the style of J.S. Bach; this will be assessed at the end of the A level course.

Appraising Music (40%)

You will study a range of music through set works – grouped into areas of study, and get to know these very well through listening, singing, playing and score study. Your understanding of these works will be tested through an exam paper taken at the end of your A level course.


Skills Gained from Taking this Course

Creativity; analysis and problem-solving; confidence, communication and self-expression; independence and self-efficacy; collaboration and teamwork; ICT skills.


St Marylebone Entry Requirements

To gain entry into the sixth form at St Marylebone School, students must gain a minimum of five 9-6 grades at GCSE and a 5 grade in English and Maths GCSE.


Subject Specific Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in Music GCSE.
Must also be able to perform at a grade 5 level on an instrument/voice and be prepared to have regular lessons on their instrument(s).


Entry Suggestions

The A level Music course requires a sound understanding of music theory, including harmony and musical analysis using a score. In order to start the course successfully, you should be able to read treble and bass clef fluently, and have a solid understanding of keys, chords and time signatures. ABRSM Grade 5 theory is highly recommended. As part of the course, you will be required to perform regularly; success at A level means daily practice and having regular lessons with a teacher in your first instrument (or voice.)


If you are made an offer, you will be expected to complete the following before your first lesson in September:

  • Practice a solo on your instrument (or voice) so you have something to perform in the first weeks of the course
  • Brush up on your music theory with some exercises at teoria.com
  • Listen regularly to a programme on Radio 3 – e.g. Morning on 3 (classical)

Resources Needed for this Course:

  • Manuscript paper
  • Access to a piano/keyboard at home is desirable