Exam Board

Pearson Edexcel                            MUSIC


A-level Music is a 2-year course.

Students develop their skills in Performance, Composition, Listening and Analysis.

Course content

Component 1: Performance: Students must perform a recital, which is a minimum of 8 minutes. It can be one long piece, or several shorter selections. Any instrument or voice may be used. Recitals will be recorded in one take to be sent to the board, with no pauses or edits in the recording.

Component 2: Composition: Students must compose either a ‘free’ or a composition to one of six briefs, of at least 4 minutes duration. They must also compose a shorter piece using specific techniques set as an exam paper, at least 1 minute in duration. The compositions must be submitted as recordings with accompanying scores and detailed descriptions. Editing may be used in order to best express the composition.

Component 3: Appraisal: Students study 6 Areas of Study, each including 3 set works. Areas of Study are: Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Music for Film, Popular Music and Jazz, Fusions and New Directions. Musical works range from the Baroque Era to the present. Students must learn to listen to musical detail, be aware of the cultural and historic context of musical works and have a good understanding of musical vocabulary and techniques. Students must also complete a dictation exercise.

Students should be good performers and have a genuine curiosity about a wide range of music genres. A good knowledge of music theory would be an advantage.

Enrichment opportunities

It is expected that A-level students will take part in the musical life of Oakwood Park, including concerts, school shows, and external performance opportunities, from gigs to collaborations with other schools.


Components 1 and 2 are completed during the course and are externally assessed.

Component 3 is studied throughout the course and concludes with an externally assessed written exam at the end of the course.