• There are three sections to A Level Music – Component 1: Performing, Component 2: Composing and Component 3: Appraising. Music students studying to A Level are usually highly committed to extra-curricular music in addition to the demands of the A Level syllabus. There is some overlap with the requirements of AS Music, though the expectation at A Level is of greater rigour, understanding and skill.

    Component 1 gives students the opportunity to extend their performance skills as soloists and/or as part of an ensemble. Teachers and students can choose music in any style. Any instrument(s) and/or voice(s) are acceptable as part of a short recital to include at least 8 minutes of music. Notated and/or improvised performances may be submitted.

    Component 2 has two parts: composition and a technical study. The composition section further develops students’ composition skills, leading to the creation of a final piece lasting at least 4 minutes, which can be in response to a brief from Edexcel, or a free composition. The technical study builds on students' knowledge and awareness of harmony through the medium of pastiche studies. Students are taught how to harmonise a chorale melody in the style of J S Bach as preparation for the final technical task, set and completed in April of the examination year.

    As with AS Music, Component 3 focuses on listening to and 'understanding' a range of set works from an anthology, divided in to six Areas of Study: Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Music for Film, Popular Music and Jazz, Fusions and New Directions. Component 3 focuses on appraising music, familiar and unfamiliar, and understanding how it 'works'. A total of 18 wide-ranging set works from the anthology (including those studied for AS), across six Areas of Study, provide the focus for much of the unit. Students should also listen to a wide range of unfamiliar music related to the set works. Assessment of Component 3 takes the form of a two-hour written examination paper.

  • The skills taught in the A Level Specification build on those taught on the AS Specification listed above, with greater detail in analytical and technical work, and a more advanced level of performance and composition expected.

  • There is considerable choice regarding the music performed and the style of composition, and limited choice in the Component 3 written paper.

  • All three components are externally assessed. Component 3 takes the form of a two-hour written examination paper.

  • Many candidates choose to study music in higher education, either in a university or conservatoire, but Music is equally valid as a supporting AS or A Level qualification, most commonly with Modern Languages, English or Mathematics and a Science. In most years Latymer students have gone on to study Music at Oxford or Cambridge, or other leading universities or conservatoires, while some choose to combine music with another subject (e.g. a language). Former Latymerians are well represented in various of branches of the music profession, from performing and teaching to composition and administration.