A Level

If you have a passion for music, this course is for you.

There are various areas of study: historical perspectives on music; in-depth analysis of particular set works; individual and ensemble performance; aural awareness and appreciation of different styles and genres of music; music theory and compositional techniques. GCSE Music is not an essential requirement for entry onto this course.

Requirements for the course are:

– ABRSM Grade 5 theory, or a commitment to take it at the end of the first term;
– At least Grade 5 in any practical musical exam instrument, voice, practical musicianship and the ability to read and write traditional musical notation.

If you are Grade 5 standard in your playing /singing but have not taken an exam, there will be an opportunity to audition for a place on the course during enrolment. All students will have to take a theory test at Wyke Start.

30% Performing
30% Composing
40% Appraising

a prospectus


Who is the course for?

Exam Board


Component 1: Performing music (30%)
A public performance in front of an audience

Students performances must be a minimum of 8 minutes long, and be Grade 7 or above in order to have a chance of getting the top marks. Performances will be submitted to the exam board by May of the second year. (In the first year a mock version of these will be marked within the college using exam board guidelines).

Component 2: Composition (30%)
Supervised composition time

For A Level there will be 1 Brief on Film Music/Popular Song (40 marks) and One Bach Chorale (20 Marks). They must be a combined length of 6-8 minutes long. Students will have 15 hours for your composition and 6 hours of supervised time for their Bach Chorale.

Compositions will be submitted to the exam board by May of the second year. (In the first year a mock version of these will be within the college using exam board guidelines).

Component 3: Appraising (40%)
2 hour exam paper

Students will cover the listening/aural test examples and all of the set works before the exam.The exam is split into two parts:

  • Section A: (50 marks). Three questions relating to the set works plus one short melody/rhythm completion exercise.
  • Section B: Two essay questions (20 marks and 30 marks each).

Essay 1 makes links from the set works to an unfamiliar piece of music.

Essay 2 is a choice of three analysing the musical elements, context and language of one set work.

How the course is delivered

Students have four 70-minute lessons per week. A performance seminar is also held once a week, in which students take turns to perform in front of their peers, to increase confidence and work on performance skills. All Music students receive a fortnightly individual performance tutorial with their music teacher. Students should also be having lessons with a specialist instrumental/vocal teacher. We can organise these lessons if you so wish, or you can have a private teacher.

Departmental Enrichment

In addition to the academic courses, the department thrives on practical work. Music ensembles act as enrichment for both examination and non-examination students. Choir, ukulele band and jazz ensemble especially involve students in activity which support A Level work and also provide enjoyment and a break from academic study at lunchtimes. Rehearsals culminate in concerts at various times of the year.

The Music Department at Wyke Sixth Form College

The Music Department wishes to imbue students with a love of music, and to educate and touch the soul through the study of music as a practical and academic discipline; to cultivate an ethos of hard work, high standards and high expectations from both staff and students; to enable students to fulfil their musical potential in concert performance, academic study and public examinations, through the thorough preparation and delivery of all lessons and rehearsals; for students to experience an excellent rapport with music staff and to enjoy their musical studies; for students to experience a pleasant, disciplined and happy learning environment; for students to consider themselves improved musicians as a result of their learning at Wyke.

What can I do now that would help prepare me for this course?

Ensure that by the time you enrol at Wyke you have the necessary knowledge and understanding of music to pass the ABRSM Grade 5 theory exam. Ensure you are performing at Grade 5 level or above on your chosen instrument or voice. You will need to have skills in written English, so make sure you are reading books and articles on musical topics.

Music Tuition

Lessons need to be booked as early as possible to allow the appropriate arrangements to be made with external agencies. If you are confident that Wyke is your first choice for further study, please express your interest during the preceding Summer term at Wyke Start. Final arrangements for music tuition will be made during enrolment in September.

All formal assessments take place in the second year of the course. In the first year all assessments will be completed in house.

Course content

The course covers the following three disciplines:

A final recital at the end of Year 2.

Composing to a set brief and realising Bach Chorale Harmony techniques.

Studying set works from across different genres of music, including Western Classical Music, Music for Film and Popular Song. Students will also study listening examples and aural perception techniques.

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