Few subjects draw on as many skills as are needed for A Level Music. A Level Music students are some of the strongest academic individuals in the College.
Students must be literate and knowledgeable enough to write critically about Music in its historical context, and must have a secure understanding of music theory and notation. They must also be confident and sensitive performers to excel in the performing component. High degrees of artistry and creativity are needed for the composition papers, and aural skills must be refined to a high degree.
The Edexcel specification provides an engaging opportunity to study European cultural heritage, as well as other cultures across the world. Accordingly, the A Level courses include an eclectic mixture of musical traditions and styles. Great emphasis is placed upon developing independence of thought and expression, a capacity for intellectual study, and greater personal awareness of the social and cultural factors that permeate the creation of music. Most students will have successfully followed the GCSE course, although gifted performers or composers, after consultation with the Head of Academic Music, could be accepted without GCSE Music.
Those taking the course must be fully involved in practical music-making within the College, and so enthusiasm and dedication are essential. Regular participation and attendance at school concerts, as well as concert trips, will be expected.
All candidates need to play (and be having regular one-to-one lessons for) at least one instrument/voice. In order for students to access the top grades for the performing element of the course, students should be able to play to a Grade 6 (or equivalent) standard by the end of Year 11. If students are not at this standard this does not necessarily exclude them from opting for Music A Level, but they should be aware of the limitations imposed on them in the performance element of the examination, and should seek advice from the Head of Academic Music.
The A Level Music course is invaluable for those wishing to prepare for a music diploma, and is highly regarded as an academic subject by all universities, including Oxbridge, for any chosen course.