A Level Music is a challenging and varied course, well respected academically by all Universities.
The Edexcel AS and A2 specifications aim to extend skills in performing, composing and aural understanding as well as developing analytical and theoretical knowledge. However, there is also scope for the development of individual interests and aptitudes within the subject. There will be opportunity to use the Music Technology facilities available at the Academy throughout the course.
As 30% of both the AS and A2 course is concerned with practical performance, you will need to be a relatively advanced instrumentalist or singer, but you must also be a creative composer and understand and use standard music notation to create your final score and complete a formal harmony exercise. You will also study a series of set work recordings in order to develop your understanding of how music has developed over time.
In addition, you will be able to develop your performing and ensemble skills through involvement in the Academy’s extensive extra-curricular programme. Ensembles appropriate to advanced level students include the Ossett Academy Orchestra, Ossett Academy Senior Choir and Ossett Jazz Orchestra.
The AS and A2 courses build upon the knowledge gained at GCSE, and continue to develop a much wider range of skills in Performing, Composing, and Historical and Analytical studies. The course is designed to give students the opportunity to express their musical skills at a much higher level to GCSE, focussing on preparing students for opportunities at high level Universities or a more vocational direction should they choose. The course will assist students to further their own instrumental studies and promote sophisticated composition and listening and analysis skills, to further their understanding of all aspects of music.
The course is suitable for students who have gained at least Grade B at GCSE level Music. Keyboard skills are an advantage but not essential.
For AS level, a minimum of Grade 5 Associated Board grade standard on at least one instrument is required to access the higher grades in Performance.
For A2 level a minimum of Grade 6 Associated Board grade standard on an instrument is required to access the higher grades in Performance.
The AS forms 50% of the assessment weighting of the full A2 course.
AS candidates take Units 1, 2 and 3 (Unit 1 Performing 30%, Unit 2 Composing 30%, Unit 3 Written Exam 40%).
Unit 1: Performing 1: a five-six minute recital on any instrument (including voice).
Unit 2: Composing 1: a three minute composition based on one of four briefs issued by the exam board, accompanied by a CD sleeve note.
Unit 3: Developing Musical Understanding -Aural and Historical Studies exam (2 hours).
A2 candidates take Units 4, 5, and 6 (Unit 4 Performing 30%, Unit 5 Composing 30%, Unit 6 Written Exam 40% of available A2 marks.
Unit 4: Extended Performance: a twelve-fifteen minute recital on any instrument (including voice)
Unit 5: Composition & Technical Study: a three minute composition based on one of four briefs issued by the exam board and a completion of a stylistic pastiche.
Unit 6: Further Musical Understanding: Aural and Historical Studies exam (2 hours)
Instrumental lessons taught by the Wakefield Music Service staff will be paid for by Ossett Academy. Students in receipt of free instrumental tuition are expected to attend weekly extra-curricular weekly rehearsals appropriate to their own instrument and to participate in public performances given by their chosen ensemble.
The Academy will not charge for books, materials, equipment and instruction in connection with the National Curriculum or Statutory Religious Education taught at school, except where parents have indicated in advance their wish to purchase the product.
Exam Charging Policy
• Students with less than 85% attendance may, under the discretion of the Sixth Form Office, be asked to pay for their exam entry.
• Students who fail to complete their Progression Module will also be charged for the cost of their entry.
• Exam resits that are made at the request of the post 16 students will be charged at full price.
• When it is not possible to obtain a refund, full price will be charged to students for:
o the January exam entry, if they withdraw from the subject after 20 November.
o the Summer Exam entry, if they withdraw from the subject after 20 April.
o non-attendance at an exam without good reason.
• BTEC students, who leave the Academy prior to the conclusion of the course, will be charged £50.
• Re-marking – please see Examinations Policy.
AS and A2 level Music prepares students for an extensive range of courses in Higher Education with emphasis on either classical, jazz or pop styles in performance, composition and musical technology and/or Historical aspects.
Performing is coached mainly by individual instrumental teachers and monitored regularly by music teachers within the department.
Students will be expected to participate in at least one of the many varied Extra Curricular activities on offer in the Music Department. In addition, participation in the Ossett Academy Senior Choir is highly recommended as it is an excellent support in further developing the required aural and analysis skills needed for this course.
Composing encompasses working in free style and making a study of certain established styles. Any work can be undertaken using the Cubase 5 and/or Sibelius music software available in the Department.