A Level Music (Reformed 2016)

What is Media?

The study of Music as a subject explores the history, function, performance and creation of an art form so integral to the world we live in. It seeks to understand the contextual and technical aspects of a range of different musical traditions and genres as well developing the key skills of performing and composing required to be a successful musician.

What sort of student does it suit and what will you get out of the course?

Potential Music students will already have a broad interest in a range of music and will have a relatively sound level of technical skill on their first instrument (roughly equivalent to grade 5 ABRSM/Trinity or another respected examination board). Students with a real interest in practical music-making and a desire to learn more about a range of musical styles and genres as well as about the mechanisms of music will benefit greatly from studying Music to A Level. Although a study of Music seeks to broaden your appreciation and understanding of music, the emphasis is on practical music-making. Students will be challenged and inspired to gain greater technical facility on their instrument and will learn to compose and perform music across a variety of styles – and enjoy the freedom to focus on a style or genre of particular interest to them. A highly respected academic subject, Music is wellrecognised amongst top higher education establishments for the transferable skills learners gain from a study of Music at A Level. Students will gain the skills required for further study or a musical career and develop self-confidence, creativity, communication skills and critical analysis and evaluation skills. Music students can access a variety of careers including law and medicine.

AS Level

MPW approach to AS study

A study of AS Level Music at MPW aims to give students a personalised course of study tailored to their individual interests and aesthetic. Students study with professional practitioners and are given the opportunity to study a wide range of musical styles, genres and traditions. Listening, analysis, performance and composition are studied in an engaging practical way. There is a focus on independence of learning and students are encourage to listen and read widely forming links with the world around us. All of this is backed up with regular homework and weekly, exam-focused timed assignments.

AS Specification Number
AQA 7271

 

Component 1: Appraising Music
There are six areas of study:

  1. Western classical tradition 1650–1910 (compulsory)
  2. Pop music
  3. Music for media
  4. Music for theatre
  5. Jazz
  6. Contemporary traditional music.

Students must study Area 1 and choose one from Areas of study 2–6. There are two strands of music represented in this Area of study which cover two key genres:

  • Baroque: the solo concerto
  • Classical: the operas of Mozart.

Students will analyse and study the context of set works as well as selected works from the chosen Areas of Study. They will also be required to listen to unfamiliar music from the above Areas of Study.

Component 2: Performance
Students must be able to perform music using one or both of the following ways:

  • instrumental/vocal: as a soloist, and/or as part of an ensemble
  • production via technology.

Students must perform for a minimum of six minutes.

Component 3: Composition
Students must learn how to develop musical ideas, including extending and manipulating musical ideas, and compose music that is musically convincing through two compositions. One must be in response to an externally set brief (Composition 1) and the other a free composition (Composition 2).

The combined duration of the compositions must be a minimum of four and a half minutes.

Assessment

Component 1

  • Assessed by Exam paper with listening and written questions using excerpts of music.
  • 40% of the total AS marks
  • 2 hours
  • 3 sections: Listening, analysis and essay. Each section is linked to the Areas of Study

Component 2

  • Assessed by a recording of six minutes duration
  • 30% of the total AS marks
  • Externally assessed
  • Performance can be on any instrument (including production via technology) and of any genre/style

Component 3

  • Assessed by composing two works (one in response to an externally set brief)
  • Must include a score, recording and programme note
  • Compositions must be a minimum of 4 and half minutes duration and the programme note must be approximately 150 words
  • Externally assessed
  • 30% of the total AS marks

Listening list

Strand A: Baroque solo concerto

  • Purcell Sonata for Trumpet and Strings in D major (complete)
  • Vivaldi Flute Concerto in D Il Gardellino op.10 no.3 RV428, movt. 1
  • Bach Violin Concerto in A minor BWV1041, movt. 1

Strand B: The operas of Mozart
Le Nozze di Figaro k.492: Act 1, focusing on:

  • No.1 Duettino (Figaro and Susanna, including following recitative)
  • No.3 Cavatina (Figaro, including the previous recitative)
  • No.4 Aria (Bartolo)
  • No.5 Duettino (Susanna and Marcellina)
  • No.6 Aria (Cherubino).

A Level

MPW approach to A level study

A study of A Level Music at MPW still provides students a personalised course of study tailored to their individual interests and aesthetic but with a greater emphasis on higher-level technical and evaluative skills. Students study a wide range of musical styles, genres and traditions and are encouraged to hone their practical skills to a higher level. A Level Music still focuses on Listening, analysis, performance and composition and these are studied in an engaging practical way. There is a focus on independence of learning and students are encouraged to listen and read widely forming links with the world around us.

A-level Specification Number
AQA 7272

 

Component 1: Appraising Music
There are seven areas of study:

  1. Western classical tradition 1650–1910 (compulsory)
  2. Pop music
  3. Music for media
  4. Music for theatre
  5. Jazz
  6. Contemporary traditional music
  7. Art music since 1910.

Students must study Area of study 1: Western classical tradition1650 – 1910 and choose two from Areas of study 2–7. There are three strands of music represented which cover three key genres:

  • Baroque: the solo concerto
  • Classical: the operas of Mozart.
  • Romantic: the piano music of Chopin, Brahms and Grieg

Students will analyse and study the context of set works as well as selected works from the chosen Areas of Study. They will also be required to listen to unfamiliar music from the above Areas of Study.

Component 2: Performance
Students must be able to perform music using one or both of the following ways:

  • instrumental/vocal: as a soloist, and/or as part of an ensemble
  • production via technology.

Students must perform for a minimum of ten minutes.

Component 3: Composition
Students must learn how to develop musical ideas, including extending and manipulating musical ideas, and compose music that is musically convincing through two compositions. One must be in response to an externally set brief (Composition 1) and the other a
free composition (Composition 2).

The combined duration of the compositions must be a minimum of four and a half minutes.

Assessment

Component 1

  • Assessed by Exam paper with listening and written questions using excerpts of music.
  • 40% of the total A-level marks
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • 3 sections: Listening, analysis and essay. Each section is linked to the Areas of Study

Component 2

  • Assessed by a recording of ten minutes duration
  • 35% of the total A-level marks
  • Externally assessed
  • Performance can be on any instrument (including production via technology) and of any genre/style

Component 3

  • Assessed by composing two works (one in response to one of seven externally set briefs)
  • Must include a score, recording and programme note
  • Compositions must be a minimum of 4 and half minutes duration and the programme note must be approximately 150 words
  • Externally assessed
  • 25% of the total A-level marks

Listening list

In addition to the AS Music listening list:

Strand C: The piano music of Chopin, Brahms and Grieg

  • Chopin Ballade no.2 in F major op.38
    • Nocturne in E minor op.72 no.1
  • Brahms Intermezzo in A major op.118. no.2
    • Ballade in G minor op.118 no.3
  • Grieg Norwegian march op.54 no.2
    • Notturno op.54 no.4

Jonathon

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
Exeter University (Business Management)

I chose MPW because of the academic support provided by the college, which was instrumental in helping me throughout the challenging nature of my one-year A level courses. The weekly Timed Assignments and assistance provided by the Personal Tutor system helped me in areas I had previously struggled. Playing for the college football team was a great release from the challenging academic nature of the year and it helped me build friendships with other students in the college.

Shivali

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
Leeds University (Dentistry)

The best part about studying at MPW is the friendly, encouraging and supportive classroom environment that MPW provides.  It makes asking for help and reaching your potential easy and enjoyable. The college really helps students to believe in themselves.  The Personal Tutor system is great because it is available for you to use to whatever extent you might need whether that be having weekly meetings or meeting every now and then for a quick catch up to analyse my current progress.  The weekly Timed Assignments have also enabled me to build my confidence in the build up to my exams.  They help you to feel comfortable in an exam environment, as well as enable you to consolidate the material you need to recall in the final exams

Annabel

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AB

Progressed to
Exeter University (International Relations and History)

“Having not achieved the grades I wanted or needed in my A levels at my previous college I decided that retaking would be the best option for me.  I have found the small classes at MPW to be a real asset, and that, coupled with the fantastic teaching, has certainly enabled me to grow academically. Further to this, both the academic support and the university guidance provided by the college have been exceptional.”

Renee

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A

Progressed to
Manchester University (Dentistry)

After failing to get into Dental School last year I lost a lot of confidence and was worried that I might never get into my dream course.  The one-to-one support you get from MPW is so much more efficient compared to the main stream schools and colleges. The individual help you get for applying to University which includes interview support is amazing. No matter if you are a resit or a first time student, no one judges you and as long as you are hardworking and want to be a success.

Jake

Grades achieved at MPW
A*A*A*A

Progressed to
Oxford University (Mathematics)

I joined MPW because I wanted to be part of a close knit community that focuses on helping students attain the grades they are really capable of.  Each student is assigned a Personal Tutor who assists them in all aspects of student life.  I would recommend the individual and personally tailored care given to any student looking to expand their academic horizons.  The encouragement and support has allowed me to aim high and achieve results that I had previously thought weren't possible. 

Cordelia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
King’s College London (Dentistry)

MPW gave me a second chance in pursuing a career in dentistry. The small class sizes and weekly timed assessments gave me and my tutors a clear indication of my progress.  The rigorous teaching schedules, structured and tailored to my personal needs, was exactly what I needed. MPW placed heavy focus on exam technique as the key to achieving the required higher grades. Being able to talk with my tutors at any time in the day was an invaluable aid. It was also clear how much the teachers took a personal interest in the development of each individual student.

Josephine

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
University of Warwick (Management)

I joined MPW having not fulfilled my academic potential during my AS level exams at my previous school. I decided to retake my AS year at MPW and it was the best decision I ever made. The tutors at MPW have pushed me to achieve my maximum potential and have greatly improved my academic performance. The best part of studying at MPW is the weekly timed assignments as they ensure that you continuously review and revise work as well as helping you to make weekly improvements on exam technique.

Olivia

Grades achieved at MPW
A*AA

Progressed to
Bristol University (Dentistry)

Throughout my time at MPW I have been provided with constant support.  The college has prepared me for not only my exams but also the university interviews I attended.  It has been an amazing experience from start to finish.  The friendly and welcoming environment created by the staff and students made it an ideal setting for me to concentrate on achieving my targets.

Alex

Grades achieved at MPW
AAA

Progressed to
University of Birmingham (Law)

I came to MPW with very low self-confidence after under-achieving at AS level at my previous school, and have left with greater confidence about my academic ability and with a definite degree of clarity about what I hope to achieve in terms of my career. My experience at my previous school was that those with Oxbridge potential receive the most support and attention. This is not the case at MPW. I have found that it does not matter about that what the student's potential may be, each student receives the same amount of help to achieve their goals.