Music

Content

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.

Entry

Please see the John of Gaunt 6th Form 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.

Attendance

This is a two year A Level course.

Assessment 

MODULE MODULE TITLE MODE OF ASSESSMENT OVERVIEW OF UNIT BRIEF OUTLINE OF MODULE
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.
  • Option A: Performing (35%) A performance consisting of a minimum of three pieces. At least one of these pieces must be as a soloist. The other pieces may be either as a soloist or as part of an ensemble or a combination of both. One piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one area of study. At least one other piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one other, different area of study.
  • Option B: Performing (25%) A performance consisting of a minimum of two pieces either as a soloist or as part of an ensemble or a combination of both. One piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one area of study.
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.

Option A: Composing (25%) Two compositions (4-6 minutes in total), one of which must reflect the musical techniques and conventions associated with the Western Classical Tradition and be in response to a brief set by WJEC. Learners will have a choice of four set briefs, released during the first week of September in the academic year in which the assessment is to be taken. The second composition is a free composition.

Option B: Composing (35%) Three compositions (8-3 minutes in total), one of which must reflect the musical techniques and conventions associated with the Western Classical Tradition and be in response to a brief set by WJEC. Learners will have a choice of four set briefs, released during the first week of September in the academic year in which the assessment is to be taken. The second composition must reflect the musical characteristics of one different area of study (i.e. not the Western Classical Tradition) while the third composition is a free composition.

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.

Three areas of study:

– Area of study A: The Western Classical Tradition (The Development of the Symphony 1750-1900) which includes two set works. Choose one set work for detailed analysis and the other for general study.

o   Symphony No. 104 in D major, ‘London’: Haydn
o   Symphony No. 4 in A major, ‘Italian’: Mendelssohn

– A choice of one area of study from:

o   Area of study B: Rock and Pop
o   Area of study C: Musical Theatre
o   Area of study D: Jazz

– A choice of one area of study from:

o Area of study E: Into the Twentieth Century including two set works:

  • Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, Movement II: Poulenc
  • Three Nocturnes, Number 1, Nuages: Debussy

o Area of study F: Area of study F: Into the Twenty-first Century including two set works:

  • Asyla, Movement 3, Ecstasio: Thomas Adès
  • String Quartet No. 2 (Opus California) Movements 1 (Boardwalk) and 4
  • (Natural Bridges): Sally Beamish

Questions:

1. Set work analysis with a score
2. Extended responses on wider context
3. Unprepared extracts of music with and without a score
4. Comparison questions

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.