Music / Music Technology

Exam board: AQA for music, Edexcel for music technology

The A level music course incorporates performance, composition, listening and appraising and studio production.

Entry Requirements

Students must have the ability to read music and ideally play an instrument to grade 5 level and ideally have GCSE music to grade 4.

Students can opt to follow a traditional A level music, an A level music via a technology route or a specialist music technology A level, or both.

The A level music concentrates on analysing and working with the music and music theory aspects of the subject. The examination questions will expect a good knowledge of the theory of music and how the musical elements combine to make a piece of music sound the way it does.

The A level technology is very much focused on the technology used to produce studio music. The examination questions will test your knowledge of production techniques.

Both specifications will be taught in one option slot. Students can choose to undertake both A levels if they wish. 

Edexcel A level music technology

AQA A level music

Component 1 : recording 20%

 Non–examined, externally assessed coursework

 Produce one song from a list of 10 provided by the Board

Song time is between 3 and 3.5 minutes

Also produce a logbook

Performance 35%

Performance on an instrument or voice for 10 minutes as a soloist and/or as part of an ensemble.

This can be examined by studio production.  Produce a recording of a pre-existing song (i.e. a cover), ensuring you are playing on a least four of the tracks

This will be recorded in school and externally marked.

Component 2 : Technology based composition 20%

Non–examined, externally assessed coursework

Produce one technology based composition from one of three briefs set by the Board

Synthesis, sampling and audio effects must be used

Total time must be 3 minutes

Also produce a log book 

Composition 25%

Composition 1 – to a brief set by AQA

Composition 2 – free composition

The compositions are produced in school and externally marked.  They can be conventionally notated and produced, or produced by studio production.

Component 3: Listening and analysing 25%

Written examination; testing knowledge and understanding of recording and production techniques using unfamiliar recordings.

Section A: listening and analysing four questions (40 marks)

Section B: extended written responses, two essay questions, a comparison question (15 marks) and an analysis question (20 marks)

Appraising music 40%

Listening, analysis and essay writing using the following topics as content:

Western classical tradition (Baroque concerto, Mozart Opera, Romantic piano music)

Pop music (Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell, Muse, Beyonce, Daft Punk, Labrinth)

Jazz (Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Miles Davies, Pat Metheny, Gwilym Simcock)

This is assessed by an externally written examination.

Section A : listening (56 marks)

Section B : analysis (34 marks)

Section C : essay (30 marks)

Component 4: Producing and analysing 35%

Written/practical examination; testing knowledge of editing, mixing and production techniques

Section A: producing and analysing, five questions that require both written and practical responses (85 marks)

Section B: extended written responses, one essay focusing on a specific mixing scenario, signal paths, effect or music technology hardware unit.

Activities to get involved in include: orchestra, Rock School, studio music, String Orchestra, choir, Brass Group, Big Band, Sax Group and Soul Band.

You will also experience visiting instrumental teachers for all instruments and attend regular concerts and rock events.

The dedicated music centre includes:

  • Three recording studios
  • Five dedicated practice rooms
  • Large teaching room/concert facility
  • Computer music teaching room with 20 digital audio work stations
  • Dedicated 6th Form teaching room with 10 digital audio work stations

For more information, please contact:

Dr N Carey or Mr C Bassett