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Exam Board - Edexcel

Course Content

COMPONENT 1:  Performing Music
Students are required to perform as soloists and/or as part of an ensemble.  The repertoire can be chosen from any style and can be performed on any instrument.  The expected standard of performance is around grade 7 and must be a minimum of eight minutes of material which will be recorded.  Commitment to extra-curricular activities in school is essential.
COMPONENT 2:  Composing
For the composition unit students are required to compose two pieces of music.  One composition must be from either a list of briefs related to the areas of study, or a free composition.  This composition carries 40 marks and must be at least four minutes in duration.  The second composition must be from a list of briefs assessing compositional technique.  It carries 20 marks and must be at least one minute in duration, unless the brief specifies a longer minimum duration. The total time across both submissions must be a minimum of six minutes.  The briefs set by the exam board cover a spectrum of style and cater for all tastes in music.  The composition is to be completed in controlled, supervised conditions over the autumn and spring term and the technical study must be completed in April/early May.
COMPONENT 3:  Developing Musical Understanding
This unit includes a written and a listening paper.  It develops students understanding of how Music works through a study of 18 set works as well as unfamiliar pieces.  This is the only end of unit exam in the A-level course and is two hours long.  There is a mixture of short answer questions, essay and musical dictation questions.  Each candidate is given their own copy of the CD for the exam.

Methods of Assessment

Component 1:       The performance work is recorded and is externally assessed
Component 2:       The composing unit requires a score and a recording to be sent for external assessment.  The technical paper does not necessarily require the recording, depending on what has been chosen.
Component 3:       The listening paper is externally assessed.
Component 1
An uninterrupted public performance of one or more pieces, performed as a recital
Performance can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology
Standard level: Grade 7
• Minimum total 8 minutes
• 30 marks each
• Total of 60 marks
Component 2
2 compositions:
  • 1 free OR another set to a brief lasting at least 4 minutes in duration
  • 1 set to a brief assessing compositional technique, at least 1 minute in duration (unless the brief specifies a longer minimum duration). Controlled conditions.
Total time must be a minimum of 6 minutes
• 2 pieces
• 40 marks (free comp)
• 20 marks (set brief)
• Total of 60 marks
Component 3
40% Exam
Knowledge and understanding of musical elements, contexts and language.
Application of knowledge through the context of six areas of study, each with three set works.
Vocal Music
Instrumental Music
Music for Film
Popular Music and Jazz
New Directions
Application of knowledge to unfamiliar works.
• Exam 2 hours
• Total of 100 marks
• One audio CD per student.
• Comprises two sections: A and B.
Component 3: Appraising 40% Exam
Application of knowledge to unfamiliar works
Section A:
Areas of study and dictation (50 marks)
Three questions related to the set works (audio and skeleton score provided)
One short melody/rhythm completion exercise
Section B: Extended response
Two essay questions
Essay 1 (20 marks)
Students must draw links from their study of the set works to the music heard as an unfamiliar extract.
Essay 2 (30 marks)
A choice of three questions that ask students to evaluate the musical elements, context and language of one set work. Each option will be from a different area of study

Other Information

A degree of competency on your instrument is essential as you will need to reach grade 7 by the end of the Spring term of Year 13.  The school will contribute a proportion of instrumental tuition fees for those students studying A-level Music.  In order to develop your skills in this area, you must be prepared to commit to weekly lessons, daily practise at home/school and participation in extra-curricular activities in school.  A basic knowledge of the theory of music and music reading is also essential if you are to do well on this course.  The music course is varied, interesting and enjoyable but requires full commitment from students.  Meeting all deadlines is essential.
Grade 5 and 6 theory lessons are also available as an after school private session which students are encouraged to attend in order to support all aspects of their A-level.

Entry Requirements

GCSE 6 in Music.