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It is expected that candidates will have taken Music GCSE and achieved at least a B grade. However, Grade Six on any instrument and a merit in Grade Five theory would also suffice. We study the Edexcel specification.
Unit 1: PERFORMANCE
Solo or ensemble performance of 5-6 minutes. Grade 6 level is expected.
Unit 2: COMPOSING
Section A: compose a three-minute piece of either vocal or instrumental music to a given brief.
Section B: 3 questions on the composition written for Section A, completed under controlled conditions in 1 hour.
Unit 3: DEVELOPING MUSICAL UNDERSTANDING
Section A: ‘Listening’: Questions on aural extracts based on the candidate’s study of 9 vocal and instrumental prescribed works from 1550 to the present day.
Section B: ‘Investigating Musical Styles’: more in-depth study of a selection of the prescribed works. Two questions will be asked.
Section C: ‘Understanding Chords and Lines’: candidates analyse simple harmonic and melodic features in a score and complete a simple SATB texture.
Unit 4: EXTENDED PERFORMANCE
Solo or ensemble performance of 12-15 minutes. Grade 7 level is expected.
Unit 5: COMPOSITION AND TECHNICAL STUDY
Candidates must complete two tasks from a selection of composition or technical study topics. These will be completed in controlled conditions.
Unit 6: FURTHER MUSICAL UNDERSTANDING
Section A: ‘Aural analysis’: questions on unfamiliar aural extracts from the two areas of study ‘Instrumental Music’ and ‘Applied Music’.
Section B: ‘Music in context’: questions on the set works in Area of Study 3, ‘Applied Music’.
Section C: Continuity and change in instrumental music’: questions relate to the set works in Area of Study 1, ‘Instrumental Music’: candidates study continuity and change within the group of pieces.
What could I go on to do at the end of my course?
There are many excellent traditional music courses offered at many universities around the country and there are also many courses specialising in popular music. There are also the world-renowned Conservatoires of Music which offer both Honours degrees and diplomas, whose courses are more performance based, for example, the Royal Academy of Music.
There is also the possibility of combining music with other subjects such as English or a modern language.