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Newstead Wood School

Newstead Wood School

Music - AS and A Level

Key Stage 5 (Years 12 & 13)

Course Title: Music
Exam Board: Edexcel
Qualification: GCE AS and A level

About the course
Students develop performance skills, compose music and learn about harmony. They build up their aural and analytical skills by studying set works from the Edexcel AS/A level Anthology of Music (Edited by J. Winterson, Peters, 2016) and wider listening.

The full A level course is excellent preparation for higher education courses in music, but is equally valuable for students wishing to study other subjects at university. The AS units alone can offer a broad and satisfying experience for those students who want to conclude their musical studies at this point.

AS Level

Component 1: Performing (externally assessed) - 30% of the qualification.
● A public performance of one or more pieces, performed as a recital.

  • Performance can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology.
  • The total performance time across all pieces must be a minimum of 6 minutes.
  • Performances must be recorded after 1 March in the year of certification.

Component 2: Composing (externally assessed) - 30% of the qualification.
Total of two compositions, one to a brief set by Pearson and one either free composition or also to a brief.

  • Each composition must be at least 2 minutes in duration.
  • Total time across both submissions must be a minimum of four minutes and 30 seconds.
  • Each composition carries 50% of the marks available for this component.

Component 3: Appraising (1 ½ hour external examination) - 40% of the qualification.

Knowledge and understanding of musical elements, contexts and language.

  • Application of knowledge through the context of six areas of study, each with two set works.

o Vocal Music,

o Instrumental Music,

o Music for Film,

o Popular Music and Jazz,

o Fusions,

o New Directions.

  • Application of knowledge to unfamiliar works.

Section A: Areas of study and dictation (45 marks)

  • Three questions related to the set works (audio and skeleton score provided).
  • One short melody/rhythm completion exercise.

Section B: Extended response

  • Two essay questions – essay one (15 marks) and essay two (20 marks)
  • Essay one asks students to draw links from their study of the set works to the music heard as an unfamiliar extract.
  • Essay two gives a choice of three questions that ask students to evaluate the musical elements, context and language of one set work. Each option will be from a different area of study.

A Level

Component 1: Performing (externally assessed) - 30% of the qualification.

  • A public performance of one or more pieces, performed as a recital.
  • Performance can be playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology.
  • The total performance time across all pieces must be a minimum of 8 minutes.
  • Performances must be recorded after 1 March in the year of certification.

Component 2: Composing (externally assessed) - 30% of the qualification.

  • Total of two compositions, one to a brief set by Pearson and one either free composition or also to a brief.
  • One composition must be from either a list of briefs related to the areas of study, or a free composition, carrying 40 marks for this component. This composition must be at least 4 minutes in duration.
  • One composition must be from a list of briefs assessing compositional technique, carrying 20 marks for this component. This composition must be at least 1 minute in duration, unless the brief specifies a longer minimum duration.
  • Total time across both submissions must be a minimum of 6 minutes.

Component 3: Appraising (2 hour external examination) - 40% of the qualification.

Knowledge and understanding of musical elements, contexts and language.

  • Application of knowledge through the context of six areas of study, each with three set works.

o Vocal Music,

o Instrumental Music,

o Music for Film,

o Popular Music and Jazz,

o Fusions,

o New Directions.

  • Application of knowledge to unfamiliar works.

Section A: Areas of study and dictation (50 marks)

  • Three questions related to the set works (audio and skeleton score provided).
  • One short melody/rhythm completion exercise.

Section B: Extended response

  • Two essay questions – essay one (20 marks) and essay two (30 marks)
  • Essay one asks students to draw links from their study of the set works to the music heard as an unfamiliar extract.
  • Essay two gives a choice of three questions that ask students to evaluate the musical elements, context and language of one set work. Each option will be from a different area of study.