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Music: A-level

Qualification: A-level

Exam Board: WJEC Eduqas

Entry Requirements: Grade 6 or above in GCSE Music or a Merit or above in BTEC Level 2 Music. If Music has not been studied at Key Stage 4 students can still access this course if they play a musical instrument to grade 5 standard or above. We also welcome students who DJ or use music technology to create performance pieces.


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Listening, performance and composition are brought to life

Music is constantly evolving, inspiring creativity and  expression in a way that no other subject can. That’s why we are offering a relevant and contemporary A-level qualification that provides students with the chance to study a wide range of musical genres. Our A-level brings listening, performance and composition to life in new and engaging ways, and links to the world around us like never before. This course allows students to specialise in either composition or performance, to give you the very best opportunity to succeed. 

We know that every student has different learning styles and musical tastes, which is why our A-level values all music styles, skills and instruments. The course can broaden your mind and foster a love of all music, with a qualification that students of all abilities and backgrounds will enjoy.  At Silverdale we aim to offer you the best chance of success in a supportive and creative environment. 


The course

Component 1: Performance (25% or 35%)

A minimum of 6 minutes of performance in total is required.  Performing as a solo and/or ensemble as an instrumentalist, or vocalist and/or music production (via technology).

Note: Students must choose either option A or option B in both components 1 and 2.

  • Option A (35%): total duration of performances - 10-12 minutes.
  • Option B (25%): total duration of performances - 6-8 minutes.

Component 2: Composition (25% or 35%) 

Writing a minimum of two compositions, one of which must reflect the musical language techniques and conventions of the Western Classical Tradition, and a free choice composition.  A minimum of four pieces of music in total is required.

Note: Students must choose either option A or option B in both components 1 and 2.

  • Option A (25%): total duration of compositions - 4-6 minutes.
  • Option B (35%): total duration of compositions - 8-10 minutes.

Component 3: Appraising Music (40%) 

Students listen to a wide variety of genres and will be able to choose from a vast range of study areas from jazz, musical theatre, rock, western classical tradition, 20th and 21st century orchestral music, pop music and traditional music. 

Assessment is by exam, with listening and written questions using excerpts of music lasting 2 hours 15 mins (approx.). This will assess knowledge and understanding of music through three areas of study, one of which (the Western classical tradition) is compulsory. Two further contrasting areas of study are chosen: one from rock and pop or musical theatre or jazz; the second from 'into the 20th century' or 'into the 21st century'.


Beyond the classroom

Students will enjoy many additional opportunities whilst studying Music at Silverdale. We perform in several concerts in the wider community and have a highly successful range of musical ensembles.  You can look forward to being able to use a variety of facilities from our recording studio through to our well-stocked practice rooms.



There are many employment opportunities for successful ensemble practitioners in the areas of live performance, session music, musical theatre, community music and commercial bands. The qualification supports entry to higher education courses in a very wide range of disciplines, depending on the subjects taken alongside. It could lead to university courses such as Performing Arts, Music Industry Management, Music Business and Arts Management, and Popular Music Performance.