Award Crest
York College


Entry requirements

A minimum of 2 grade Bs and 4 grade Cs at GCSE including English Language (grade 4).
You should be able to play an instrument (including voice) to grade 5 standard and be at or working towards grade 5 standard in Theory. (If you have not followed the grading route, applications will still be considered based on merit). You will be required to do an audition/workshop as well as an interview.


Two years.

What will I study?

If you have a keen interest in music or are looking to pursue a career in music, A Level Music teaches students to develop performance and composition skills.

The course is designed to extend the GCSE skills of performing, composing and listening. Students are encouraged to study classical traditions of western music and musical theatre in their first year. 

The course is aimed at those who have previously attained some knowledge in music or aspects relating to it, either through a GCSE qualification or equivalent. Students may have also acquired suitable experience through less formal means as a performer or as an attentive listener.

music a level WEB


There is a small materials contribution applied to this course which will be confirmed at interview.

Students are also encouraged to take instrumental lessons from our team of peripatetic music teachers charged at £150 per term for ten individual lessons.

How will I be assessed?

Year 1

Performing (30%)

Students have to perform a 6-8 minute recital made up of playing or singing solo, in an ensemble, improvising, or realising music using music technology.

Composition (30%)

Students will demonstrate their ability to create and develop musical ideas with technical control and expressive understanding, making creative use of musical devices, conventions and resources by creating two compositions. One will be set to a brief and one will be a free composition.

Listening Exam – 90 mins (40%)

This will be based on both familiar and unfamiliar music. Students will study 12 set works within the following 6 areas of study; Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Music for Film, Popular Music and Jazz, Fusions, New Directions.

The exam structure is as follows;

Section A: Areas of study and dictation (45 marks)

  • Three questions related to the set works (audio and skeleton score provided).
  • One short melody/rhythm completion exercise.

Section B: Extended response

  • Two essay questions – essay one (15 marks) and essay two (20 marks)
  • Essay one asks students to draw links from their study of the set works to the music heard as an unfamiliar extract.
  • Essay two gives a choice of three questions that ask students to evaluate the musical elements, context and language of one set work. Each option will be from a different area of study.

The second year follows a similar pattern to the first year, including performing, composing and a listening exam based on general listening skills, the six areas of study, the set works studied in the first year and an additional six pieces of music.

Good course combinations

Music Technology, Media Studies, Film Studies, Dance, Drama and Theatre Studies and Maths.

What could it lead to?

The course provides a sound foundation for music courses in higher education with students progressing on to study at university and some of the country's top conservatoires. Employment possibilities include the music industry, teaching and other related careers.

Need some help?

If you have any further questions about this course, or would like us to help you with your application, please contact the Schools Liaison team on 01904 770239 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this webpage, the content is subject to change where necessary.

100% Achievement in 2016.



Nathan Steele - Music Case Study

Mark Leighton

Previously of Selby High School
A Level Music and Music Technology and Music Development Centre

“The music facilities are great, especially the computers for Music Technology. Highlights of my music courses include performing in the College’s Christmas concert and the excellent teaching I received in the Music Development Centre. One of the best things I’ve done is visit a nursing home and in order to help the residents become involved in music.”

Music 103

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