Music A Level

(equivalent to one A Level)


Music A level will allow you to develop as a performer and a composer of any style of music, whilst also giving you the skills you need to analyse existing pieces in depth.

The Music course introduces you to some of the disciplines involved in an academic study of the subject. It develops the skills, knowledge and understanding needed to communicate through music and to take part in music-making, whether as a composer, a performer or a listener.

Course details

What are the entry requirements?

A minimum of five GCSE subjects at grade 4 or above including a 4 in English and Maths. Music performance standard of at least grade 6 is required, the exam does not have to have been taken. Students should also have an understanding of Music Theory to grade 5 level.

Private theory lessons are available through the College and will need to be taken if your ability is slightly below this level at enrolment. Music GCSE can be beneficial but is not essential.

How will I be assessed?

Unit Topic Explanation % Assessment

Unit 1

Performing You will perform a recital of at least 8 minutes of continuous performance that will be recorded. The minimum standard of playing should be Grade 7. 30% Non-examined assessment
Unit 2 Composing You will complete one composition. This can be a free choice or chosen from a list of briefs. You will also complete one technical study. Combined, these compositions must total at least 6 minutes. 30% Non-examined assessment
Unit 3 Appraising You will study the following types of music: vocal, instrumental, film, pop and jazz, fusions and new directions. The exam will contain listening tests and essays on the set works and associated music. 40% Examination over 2 hours 10 minutes

What extra work can I do?

Immerse yourself in as many different styles and genres of music as possible. Try watching the BBC Proms or going to a Music Festival over the summer. There are also lots of interesting documentaries available on BBC 4 via the iPlayer. Ensure that you have theory skills to grade 5 levels and practice your instrument/singing at least 5 times a week.

What skills will I learn?

Aural awareness is encouraged through singing activities, dictation and listening exercises, both in and out of the classroom. Your study of harmony and compositional techniques involves weekly exercises which can be completed with the aid of a keyboard instrument, as well as longer composition assignments that involve the use of computer software.

In analysis, you are given short written tasks, arising from classwork, or as preparation for lessons. You should expect to write a short essay most weeks. Performing skills are developed throughout the course. Students regularly perform in the classroom or in College concerts.

What is the department like?


  • Two Yamaha grand pianos
  • Baby grand piano
  • Four acoustic drum kits
  • One electric drum kit
  • Six practice rooms, each with an upright piano
  • 80 seat recital room
  • Two well-equipped recording studios
  • A mastering suite
  • Two computer suites, each with 16 networked PCs and iMacs offering a variety of music software including Sibelius and Logic, and independent workstations for composing and performing. 


In addition to academic work, Music students would be involved in solo and ensemble performing and contribute to some of the department’s ensembles which include Concert Orchestra, Jazz Band, Funk Band, The Godalming College Singers, Chamber Choir, String Ensemble and various chamber ensembles (such as harp quartet, flute choir, string quartet). Music students perform in regular internal and external college concerts and at local music festivals.

Future Careers and Progression

What are the progression routes for this qualification?

Music A Level is a comprehensive qualification that offers you the development of a wide range of skills including analysis, criticism, creative expression, verbal, written and musical communication, discipline, initiative, teamwork and the application of ICT. 

Few other subjects cover such a range of disciplines, so Music is recognised as excellent preparation not only for music-related careers but also for progression into other fields. 

Music can be studied for single honours at university or conservatoire, but there are also many joint honours courses. 

The majority of our Music students progress to studying Music at Russell Group universities or conservatoires, some receiving scholarships.

Recent University Offers:

  • University of Oxford
  • University of Birmingham
  • University of Durham
  • University of Manchester
  • University of Southampton

Recent Conservatoire Offers:

  • Birmingham Conservatoire
  • Royal Academy of Music
  • Royal College of Music
Case studies
Related Courses

"Where words fail, music speaks" ~ Hans Christian Anderson

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