What is Music?
This course allows you to study music in an integrated way. Both AS and A2 courses allow you to study music as a practical, intellectual and creative subject, exploring Performing and Composing. The courses also recognise that we live in an age of cultural diversity and the Areas of Study reflect this with a wide range of music studied.
Is Music suitable for me?
Past experience suggests that those with an interest in the subject outside of College – jazz band, youth orchestra, church choir, rock band etc - are more likely to be successful. The better students tend to have an interest in, and perform, a wide variety of music.
Current students tend to find performing the most enjoyable part of the course (there are monthly student recitals, three end of term concerts, and numerous external concerts/jazz band gigs), closely followed by composing (during the AS course, students have the opportunity to write a number of short exercises - in many styles, for themselves and their friends to play).
When asked about the toughest part of the course, students were equally divided between written work (in which analysing music is completely new to most students, as it is not undertaken at GCSE) and aural (which is much more in depth than at GCSE).
How will I learn?
Aural: classroom lessons to involve singing, listening to music in a structured way, writing down melodies and listening to harmonies. Some private study using Aurelia on the College music computers;
Developing Musical Understanding: classroom lessons to involve analyses and how to listen perceptively to works from the Anthology of Music. Written work will be set after each lesson;
Composing: after analysing some of the pieces from the Anthology of Music, short compositional exercises will be set, imitating the pieces analysed. These may be written using Sibelius software. Composition work will be set each week;
Performing: offers you the opportunity to perform as a soloist and/or in ensembles. You are free to choose music in any style, and any instruments and/or voices are acceptable.
How will I be assessed?
- Performing (30%): perform one or more solo pieces lasting 5/6 minutes either as a soloist and/or as part of an ensemble; recorded, internally assessed and externally moderated;
- Composing (30%): a) produce a three minute piece to a chosen brief during a 15 hour period; and b) in a 1 hour exam, answer three questions to provide information that could be used for a CD sleeve note to accompany your composition - externally assessed;
- Developing Musical Understanding (40%): a 2 hour listening paper – externally assessed, divided into three sections; a) listening; b) investigating musical styles and c) understanding chords and lines.
- Extended Performance (30%): perform as a soloist and/or as part of an ensemble. Any instruments and/or voices are acceptable as part of a 12-15 minute performance of a balanced programme of music; recorded, internally assessed and externally moderated;
- Composition and Technical Study (30%): complete i) a composition to a chosen brief during a 15 hour period and ii) a technical study during a 3 hour period. Externally assessed;
- Further Musical Understanding (40%): a 2 hour listening paper – externally assessed, divided into three sections; a) aural analysis; b) music in context and c) continuity and change in instrumental and applied music.
Richard studied A Levels in Drama, Music and Philosophy, as well as for a RSL Level 3 Extended Certificate in Composition. As well as being a member of the Composers Ensemble, he was also a member of the College’s Chamber Orchestra, Choral Society and Jazz Band, whilst outside College he was composer in residence for the National Youth Orchestra. Whilst at Alton College Richard had the opportunity to write music for projects involving the art and media departments, The Smith Quartet, the Alton Area Wind Orchestra, Saxofonquadrat of Berlin and the Composers Ensemble. From September 2011, he began a 4 year undergraduate programme – studying composition, at the Royal Academy of Music.
Hannah studied A Levels in Music and English Language. as well as for a RSL Level 3 Extended Certificate in Composition. As a member of The Jazz Factory she also studied for a RSL Level 3 Certificate in Jazz. During her time at college, Hannah was also a member of the College’s Brass Ensemble, Big Band, Choral Society, Composers Ensemble, New Music Ensemble and Jazz Band, whilst outside College she was a member of Surrey Brass and the Surrey County Youth Orchestra. In college Hannah had the opportunity to write music for projects involving the art and media departments, The Smith Quartet, the Alton Area Wind Orchestra, Saxofonquadrat of Berlin and the Composers Ensemble. From September 201, Hannah began a 4 year undergraduate programme, studying composition and trombone at Trinity Laban Conservatoire.
Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels. You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.
Whilst there is no prescribed knowledge for this course, it is recommended that students should have shown themselves capable of a level of practice and understanding equivalent to that of a grade C or above in GCSE Music. However, we are happy to accept Grade V Theory PLUS Grade V on an instrument in lieu of a C grade in GCSE Music.
A number of CDs will be required for recording performances and compositions.
The Anthology of Music (about £25), an Aural Workbook (just under £10) and the Student Guide to AS Music (about £20) is recommended.
The department organizes a number of wide ranging trips throughout the year. Whilst it is difficult to put a price on these, students ought to set aside between £40 and £50 a year for these optional visits.
While all students studying AS and A Level Music will be provided with a weekly free of charge instrumental lesson, the College does not have a supply of musical instruments.
If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.
- Sixth Form Course: