Edexcel A Level Music


This qualification will support students in forming personal and meaningful relationships with music through the development of musical knowledge, understanding and skills, including performing, composing and appraising. Students will be encouraged to engage critically and creatively with a wide range of music and musical contexts, develop an understanding of the place of music in different cultures and contexts, and reflect on how music is used in the expression of personal and collective identities. This qualification will also allow students to develop particular strengths and interests, encourage lifelong learning and provide access to higher education and university degree courses in music and music-related subjects, as well as music-related and other careers.


Please see the 2018 entry requirements.  You should also have good practical skills on an instrument or voice and be able to read music notation.  Students of Grade 5 standard plus can tackle performance coursework with confidence.


This is a two year A Level course.


Unit 1 Performing Practical Coursework The purpose of this component is to assess students’ performing skills in a solo and/or ensemble context. They will be given the opportunity to rehearse and refine performances on their chosen instrument or voice, developing technical control, expression and interpretative skills.

Students must perform:

A minimum of one piece, performed live and uninterrupted as a recital

Performance can be solo, as part of an ensemble, improvisation, realisation using music technology, or a combination of these

Total performance time across the recital must be a minimum of 8 minutes of music Timing does not include the time taken to tune the instrument or any gaps between pieces.

Unit 2 Composing Practical Coursework The purpose of this component is to assess students’ skills in composing music. Students will learn more of the processes involved in creating music through developing the technical and expressive skills needed by a composer. Students will be encouraged to explore a range of compositional starting points, investigate a range of techniques for developing and manipulating ideas. They will then turn their ideas into completed pieces of music.

Students must submit two compositions, of a combined duration of at least 6 minutes:

One composition (Free choice composition) can be chosen from six briefs relating to areas of study, or free composition, carrying 40 of the marks for the composing assessment. This composition must be at least 4 minutes in duration.

One composition must be from a list of four briefs assessing technique, carrying 20 of the marks for the composing assessment. This composition must be at least 1 minute in duration.

Unit 3 Appraising External Exam The purpose of this component is for students to develop their listening and appraising skills through the study of music across a variety of styles and genres. The content is grouped into six areas of study, each of which contains three set works. Students will reflect on, analyse and evaluate music in aural and/or written form.

The assessment is 2 hours.

There are two sections in the examination:  Section A: four questions – three questions, based on extracts from the set works and one question on dictation

Section B: one essay question on an unfamiliar piece of music and one essay chosen from three optional questions on a set work.

Students must answer all questions, with the exception of Question 6 which will give a choice of three options, of which students must answer one.

The paper will include multiple-choice, short open and extended writing questions.

Each student will have a CD containing the extracts of music relating to the exam, and will be in control of listening to the extracts relating to each question.

Moving On

There are many courses that A Level Music can feed in to; these are just a number of them: Music, Media and technology, sound engineering, theatre, music industry, professional performing, teaching, music promotions and management and composing. Students have gone on to perform as professional musicians, be composers, teach both at primary and secondary level and work in the Media. Being a musician gives any employer evidence of commitment, self-improvement as well as your ability to be a team player, meet deadlines and work under pressure.