Awarding Body:EdexcelCourse Duration:2 Years


The music department is situated in beautiful grounds on the college site in a three-storey Victorian house. Facilities include practice rooms, a room for private study, computer rooms for composition with Sibelius and three recording studios, as well as the Recital Room and more practice rooms in College Centre.

Course Content

This course is designed for students who enjoy music and want to develop their skills in performing, composing, listening and writing about music. Students can pursue their preferred style in performing and free composition, while the written paper is based on a range of set works selected from classical, pop and jazz, film and world music.

Year 1

  • Performing (solo recital of at least 6 minutes at Grade 5 level or above)

  • Composition (one to a brief set by the board, one free composition, each at least 2 minutes long)

  • Written examination (essay questions and listening questions on set works, and melodic dictation exercises)

Year 2

The three units are developed further in the second year, with more choice of options.

Methods of Teaching

There are lots of opportunities to play and sing in orchestras, jazz bands and choirs. Many smaller groups (like classical ensembles and rock bands) get a chance to showcase their work in our weekly lunch time concerts. The college provides 30 minutes’ weekly free instrumental/vocal tuition to A level music students with our team of visiting music teachers. There are master classes and workshops given by professional performers, plus trips to a range of live music events.

Methods & Patterns of Assessment

Performing: performances are non-examined assessment, monitored by teachers and externally assessed by the board.

Composing: all composing is non-examined assessment, monitored by teachers and externally assessed by the board.

Written paper: one exam in May/June

Financial Implications

Students will be required to pay a £10 contribution towards photocopying.  There is one obligatory concert trip for AS music students in the Autumn term – approximate cost £15:00 – and other music trips are optional.  Students will be required to buy the New A level Anthology of Music, but these will be available from the music office at a subsidised rate of £35. The College has a Student Support Fund for those students who have difficulty meeting these costs.

Where Could It Take Me?

Going on to study music at university or at a conservatoire can lead to a career in performing, composing, conducting or teaching. Music can also lead to careers in the recording industry, publishing, arts management and the media.

Entry Requirements

5 GCSEs at grade 4 or above, including Maths and English, plus Grade 5 in performance, or the equivalent.

You will need the ability to read music scores confidently and therefore we prefer students to have passed Grade 5 Theory. If you do not have this qualification we will ask you to pass a simple notation test at enrolment and take an extra theory class in September. (You will have to pass Grade 5 Theory to progress to year 2).  It is also preferable to have taken GCSE music, but you may still apply without it if you are an experienced musician.


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