Course title Advanced GCE in Music

Exam board AQA

Subject specific entry criteria Minimum Grade 6 in GCSE Music. Ability to play an instrument/sing to Grade 5 standard or above; Students who believe they are at this standard but have not passed the exam will be invited to an informal audition in June or July 2020; Grade 5 Music Theory (ability to read stave notation treble and/ or bass clef fluently).

Course overview

Assessment overview

Music is constantly evolving, inspiring creativity and expression in a way that no other subject can. The course is designed to be relevant and contemporary giving students the chance to study a wide range of musical genres. Students will develop their skills in listening and appraising, performance and composition.

The course is made up of three components.

Component 1 (Appraising Music) consists of a written examination lasting 2 hours 30 minutes. This takes the form of 6 sets of questions split between three sections; Section A: Listening, Section B: Analysis, Section C: Essay. Students will study music from 3 of the following areas of study; Western classical tradition 1650-1910

(compulsory); Pop music; Music for media; Music for theatre; Jazz; Contemporary traditional music; Art music since 1910.

Component 2 (Performance) requires students to perform for a minimum of 10 minutes. Students can perform as an instrumentalist/vocalist: as a soloist and/or as part of an ensemble.

Component 3 (Composing) students must compose two pieces lasting a minimum of four and a half minutes in total. One composition must be in response to an

externally set brief and the other composition is a free composition.

All three components of the course are are externally marked by an AQA examiner.  


Component 1: Appraising Music: Exam paper with listening and written questions using excerpts of music 120 marks – 40%).

Component 2: Performance

Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist, or vocalist and/or music production (via technology) (50 marks – 25%).

Component 3: Composition

Composition 1: Composition to a brief Composition 2: Free composition (50 marks – 25%).

Future progression

Music is offered at all the leading universities. There are a range of entry requirements from A*AA to BBB. Some may also require an audition or ABRSM Grade 7/8. The Music Conservatoires, such as the Royal College of Music and Royal Academy of Music admit students on the basis of an audition process. This is to provide evidence of professional performing potential in your principal study, sound general musicianship and a good aural response. Some also require additional entry requirements such as 64 pts or two A Level passes (including Music), but the main focus of admission is assessed at audition.

Potential careers

Music graduates are extremely attractive to employers and can follow a career in almost any field thanks to the transferable skills they acquire through a Music course. Career paths include: performers, composers, music teachers, music journalist, music therapist, academics, publishers, sound engineers, producers, arts administrators, law, banking, marketing, public service and the charity sector. Several universities enable you to combine a Music course with other subjects including Physics, French/German/Italian, Philosophy, Economics, Mathematics, English Literature, or History for a diverse and dynamic degree.

How to succeed in Music

In addition to the entry requirements, students need a proven record of interest in music whilst at KS3 and 4 through extra-curricular involvement in music clubs and whole school concerts, performances and/or productions. An interest and open-minded approach to all styles of music, as well as an ability to compose and write about music (to GCSE standard) would help. Students would benefit from familiarising themselves with works from the composers that we study: The Baroque solo concertos of Purcell, Vivaldi and Bach; The operas of Mozart; The piano music of Chopin, Brahms and Grieg.