Music

A Level

If you have a passion for music and wish to study it as an academic and practical subject, this course is for you. Through a diverse range of areas of study, you will learn about different historical perspectives on music, analysis skills pertaining to specific set works, aural awareness, music theory and the appreciation of different styles and genres that is so vital for any creative industry. The course also allows you to demonstrate your skill as a performer on your chosen instrument, and will allow you to explore compositional techniques in practice through your own composition work.

A Level Music is a challenging and academic subject, requiring and developing a wide variety of skills. The course is highly rewarding and the skills learned provide an excellent part of any academic portfolio for a large range of courses at university.

35% Performing
25% Composing
40% Appraising

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Course content

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS

Students come to A Level Music through a number of routes, with some indicators of eligibility being:

– GCSE Music at grade 6 or above, or

– BTEC Music (with theoretical elements) with Merit or above

– Grade 5 or above on your first study instrument

– Grade 5 theory standard

All applicants will be asked to provide an audition video prior to enrolment on the course, and will be asked to sit a theory test with questions at Grade 5 standard.

A Level Music requires you to achieve at least the minimum entry requirements for your chosen pathway plus a grade 5 or higher in a musical instrument and theory or successfully audition within the department.

EXAM BOARD

AQA

COURSE STRUCTURE

You will have four 70-minute lessons per week (three appraising and one composition). A performance seminar is also held once every fortnight, in which you take turns to perform in front of their peers to increase confident and work on performance skills. You should also be having lessons with a specialist instrumental/vocal teacher and are encouraged to arrange these through the college, thereby benefitting from the subsidy system.

Component 1: Appraising Music (40%)

2 HOUR 30 MINUTE EXAM PAPER

The specification covers a range of music from Romantic piano music to musical theatre, art music of the last 100 years, and pop icons such as Beyoncé.

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

SECTION A: Listening

Three sets of questions. One set will be linked to Area of study 1: Western classical tradition 1650-1910, one of which will require aural dictation. The remaining two sets of questions will be linked to Areas of study 2-7. Students choose two of the six question sets available.

SECTION B: Analysis

Two sets of linked questions including short answers and extended writing from Area of study 1 assessing understanding of musical elements and students’ abilities to make critical judgements.

SECTION C: Essay

One essay question from one area of study from a choice of Areas of study 2-7 referring to three of the named artists. This will assess critical understanding across genres, styles and traditions, and students’ ability to show connections between the music and its context.

Component 2: Performance (35%)

A recorded performance in front of an audience.

Students must perform for a minimum of 10 minutes, and performances must be at Grade 7 or above to have a chance of getting the top marks. Performances are graded based on the ambition of the project, technical control, expressive control and performance quality.

Performances will be submitted to the exam board by May in the second year. In the first year, a mock version of these (5 minute performance) will be marked within the college using exam board guidelines.

Component 3: Composing (25%)

Students will produce two compositions totaling a minimum of four and a half minutes. Composition for assessment must be completed under direct supervision within the college.

One composition will be in response to a brief from a choice of seven externally set briefs related to each Area of study. These may include stimuli such as a poem or piece of text, photographs, film or notation.

The second composition will be a free composition which need not reference an area of study or given brief.

TRIPS AND ENRICHMENT

In addition to the academic work, the department thrives on practical work. As an A Level Music student, you are expected to be paragons of the musical culture of the college, contributing towards performances in concerts and at events outside of normal college hours.

The current enrichment offer includes Wyke Orchestra in which instrumentalists and singers can be involved. The department also runs the college’s show choir in which you can learn and rehearse predominantly songs from musicals in preparation for concerts and events. The cross-college production is also an excellent opportunity for A Level Music students to demonstrate their talents on- and off-stage.

Music Tuition

If you are wishing to take instrumental/vocal lessons at Wyke Sixth Form College (through the Hull Music Service or our in-house staff) you will be able to fill in a form at enrolment and must move forward with this quickly in order to begin lessons in the first half term.

Below are some suggestions of things to do or read, or people to follow before beginning to study A Level Music at Wyke.

PREPARATION FOR THE COURSE

TO DO: Brush up on your music theory. Aim to undertake Grade 5 ABRSM Music Theory before you begin. Ensure that your musical literacy (reading in treble and bass clef; chord identification etc.) is up to scratch. Getting hold of a piano song book is a good way to develop these skills if you work best practically.

READING: Music: A Very Short Introduction by Nicholas Cook gives an easy-to-digest overview of the academic side of music.

TO FOLLOW: Follow @wyke_music on Instagram to keep up with any events or information. Also search for good people to follow for your instrument. Often artists will post parts of their practice sessions with playing tips. Here are some examples: (Violin – @callumsmartviolin) (Bassoon – @morganpracticesbassoon) (Viola – @thatviolakid) (Trombone – @krisgarfitt) (Cello – @emilyplayscello) (Drums – @emanuellecaplette)

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