St. Mary's


Is this course for me?

The A Level Music course explores all three main musical disciplines of performing, composing and appraising. It is an exciting, rewarding and stimulating course that helps create well-rounded musicians.

This course is suitable for those who…

  • Love playing an instrument and performing
  • Like exploring and creating new music
  • Enjoy listening to music from a range of styles
  • Want to pursue a career in music
  • Want to pursue a career in something other than music, but wish to gain the wide ranging life skills that music can help develop.

Through studying A Level Music, you are able to develop your performance skills and explore your creativity through composing. You will build up your aural and analytical skills by studying set pieces of music from a variety of periods. A Level Music is excellent preparation for higher education courses in music, but the skills learnt can be equally valuable for those that want to pursue alternative paths.

Areas of Study

Component 1: Performing – 35% or 25% (

Opportunities to perform as a soloist and/ or as part of an ensemble. You can choose music in any style. Most instruments (including voice) are accepted.

Component 2: Composing – 25% or 35% (

Compose two pieces of music (25%), one to a brief and one free composition or…

Compose three pieces of music (35%), one to a brief, one that reflects the style of another area of study and one free composition.

Component 3: Appraising – 40% (Exam) Analyse set musical pieces through listening and studying scores. Develop theoretical knowledge and explore the detailed inner workings of well-known musical pieces in a range of musical styles.

Future Opportunities

There are endless opportunities for you after studying A Level Music. Students often go on to study music at degree level undertaking courses such as Classical Music, Jazz Music, Popular Music Studies, Music Performance, Song-writing, Music Production, Music Journalism, Music Business and Film Music. There are also alternative pathways such as studying to be a music teacher, music therapist, sound technician, community arts worker, event manager, theatre stage manager, radio producer or arts administrator. Studying music doesn’t mean you have to be limited to a career in music. Studying music develops a variety of skills and allows you to explore your creativity. You can study a varied A Level curriculum if you are thinking about studying other academic courses such as maths or the sciences with music. Music is looked upon favourably by universities and employers as it demonstrates that you…

  • Can think creatively and solve problems.
  • Have high standards and stretch your inner resources.
  • Are willing to show sustained effort to achieve excellence.
  • Are disciplined.
  • Can work effectively as a member of a team.
  • Are flexible and can be a multi-dimensional worker.
  • Can communicate & cooperate with others.
  • Are willing to conquer fear and take risks.