The A-level course consists of three units: Appraising Music (listening, analysis and contextual understanding), Performing and Composing.
Listening to, analysing discussing and writing about existing music provides the basis for many of the lessons, alongside the study of theory, four-part harmony and other compositional techniques.
There are frequent opportunities for individual and group activities and research, as well as performances and composition workshops. You will also be expected to carry out regular private instrumental practice.
All Music students are expected to participate in at least one musical event at the College.
For the performance units you will give a recital on the instrument of your choice (or voice). It can be solo or ensemble, from a score or improvised.
For composition you will create two pieces of music with a combined duration of 6 minutes: one a free-choice composition, and one a briefing assessing techinique, it is submitted as coursework.
The Appraising music unit is assessed through an exam in the summer examination period, comprising listening, analysis and extended essay questions.
To enrol for an A level programme we normally expect applicants to have achieved good GCSE passes in at least six subjects, these must:
• demonstrate the suitability for Advanced Level study
• have been achieved at Grade 4/C as a minimum
• include two at Grade 5/B as a minimum
Mathematics - If not achieved within the scope of the above should normally be achieved at grade 3/D. If mathematics is not achieved at grade 4/C then it will be a requirement to continue to study at the correct level until a grade 4 is achieved. Subjects with a mathematical content will require a higher grade.
In addition to the standard College entry requirements, this particular course also requires students to have achieved grade 5 or above in GCSE Music and at least Grade 6 standard on an instrument or voice (the expected standard for the final recital is Grade 7). Students who have not taken a graded exam will be asked to perform to demonstrate their ability.
If GCSE Music has not been taken, knowledge of music theory to Grade 4 standard is essential (including a working knowledge of standard music notation - see ABRSM syllabus for further details). All Music students are expected to participate in at least one musical events at the College.
Students wishing to continue their study of music can apply for courses at music college or university, according to whether interests in the subject lean towards the practical
or the theoretical. Entry to performance courses in the music colleges is extremely competitive but students on the WQE course have a good record of success in
obtaining places on these and on university courses. Music is highly regarded by universities as an academic and rigorous A level programme of students wishing to pursue subjects in different fields. Music students from WQE have gone on to study a wide range of subjects at high-ranking universities.
What does the course combine well with?
Music can be studied alongside a range of Level 3 courses. It has strong connections with numerous other fields including Mathematics, Physics, English, History, Philosophy, Film/Media Studies, Social Sciences, Drama, the Arts and Languages.