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Music: A-level

Qualification: A-level

Exam Board: AQA

Entry Requirements: Grade 6 or above in GCSE Music or a Merit or above  in BTEC Level 2 Music. If Music has not been studied at Key Stage 4 students can still access this course if they play a musical instrument to grade 5 standard or above. We also welcome students who DJ or use music technology to create performance pieces.


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Listening, performance and composition are brought to life

Music is constantly evolving, inspiring creativity and  expression in a way that no other subject can. That’s why we are offering a relevant and contemporary A-level qualification that provides students with the chance to study a wide range of musical genres. Our A-level brings listening, performance and composition to life in new and engaging ways, and links to the world around us like never before. 

We know that every student has different learning styles and musical tastes, which is why our A-level values all music styles, skills and instruments. The course can broaden you mind and foster a love of all music, with a qualification  that students of all abilities and backgrounds will enjoy.  At Silverdale we aim to offer you the best chance of  success in a supportive and creative environment. 


The course

Component 1: Appraising Music (40%) 

Students listen to a wide variety of genres and will be able to choose from a vast range of study areas from Jazz, Musical Theatre, Music in Media, Western Classical Tradition, Art Music, Pop Music and Traditional Music.

What’s assessed: 

  • Listening
  • Analysis
  • Contextual understanding

How it’s assessed:

An exam paper with listening and written questions using excerpts of music: 

  • Section A: Listening (56 marks) 
  • Section B: Analysis (34 marks) 
  • Section C: Essay (30 marks)

Component 2: Performance (35%) 

What’s assessed: 

Music performance. 

How it’s assessed: 

Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist, or vocalist and/or music production (via technology). A minimum of ten minutes of performance in total is required.

Component 3: Composition (25%) 

What’s assessed: 

  • Composition

How it’s assessed: 

  • Composition 1: Composition to a brief (25 marks) 
  • Composition 2: Free composition (25 marks)

A minimum of four and a half minutes of music in total is required.


Beyond the classroom

Students will enjoy many additional opportunities whilst studying Music at Silverdale. We perform in several concerts in the wider community and have a highly successful range of musical ensembles.  You can look forward to being able to use a variety of facilities from our recording studio through to our well-stocked practice rooms.



There are many employment opportunities for successful ensemble practitioners in the areas of live performance, session music, musical theatre, community music and commercial bands. The qualification supports entry to higher education courses in a very wide range of disciplines, depending on the subjects taken alongside. It could lead to university courses such as Performing Arts, Music Industry Management, Music Business and Arts Management, and Popular Music Performance.