A level music develops the skills and techniques of performing, composing and musical analysis and understanding.

Entry requirements

• Grade B and above in Music GCSE required.

• Students should be beyond Grade 5 (ABRSM or Trinity Guildhall) on their first instrument.

• Grade 5 in music theory is beneficial. Students who have not achieved it at the start of the course will be encouraged to do so in the first term.


The performance unit gives students the opportunity to develop their technical and performing skills as a soloist. Students can choose music in any style on any instrument(s) and/or voices(s) for their assessed performance.

Through composition, students develop their understanding of the principles of rhythmic, melodic and harmonic construction and musical forms, leading to the creation of a piece in response to a chosen brief, covering a wide range of musical styles and genres. A score and recoding of the composition is submitted. Students also write a CD sleeve note at AS, to describe aspects of their final composition and explain how other pieces of music have influenced it. At A2 students have the option of completing a technical study, writing for either popular song, string quartet, Bach choral or figured bass.

Pupils develop musical understanding through: listening to and analysing set works from the Edexcel Anthology of Music; exploring the important musical features, and the social and historical context of a variety of composers and musical genres.


Students are assessed through written and practical exams covering musical understanding, performing and composition.

“The performance unit gives students the opportunities to perform as a soloist.”


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