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Exam Board: AQA

The AQA A Level Music course seeks to inspire the next generation of students in forming personal and meaningful relationships with music through the development of musical knowledge, understanding and skills. Students will be encouraged to engage critically and creatively with a wide range of music and musical contexts, develop an understanding of the place of music in different cultures and contexts, and reflect on how music is used in the expression of personal and collective identities.

Course Overview

The A Level qualification in Music is 100% externally assessed, and the course consists of one written paper and two non-examined assessments (NEA). The outline of the course is as follows:



Component 1

Appraising Music


Exam paper with listening and written questions using excerpts of music.


 Component 2



Solo and/or ensemble performing as an instrumentalist, or vocalist and/or music production (via technology).

Non-exam assessment – externally marked by AQA.

Component 3



Composition 1: Composition to a brief (25 marks)

Composition 2: Free composition (25 marks)

A minimum of four and a half minutes of music in total is required.

Non-exam assessment – externally marked by AQA.


An engaging range of set works are studied to help nurture in-depth musical understanding, with suggested wider listening to build transferable appraising skills. Students will receive an anthology containing all of the scores, in addition to having access to audio recordings of the pieces. Clear performance and composition assessment grids are available to help track progress and individual level of attainment.

Entry requirements

Students wishing to study A Level Music at Rugby High should have achieved a pass of at least Level 6 in GCSE Music or completed Grade 5 Music Theory. It is also desirable to have reached Grade 5 or equivalent in performance. The ability to read staff notation is essential.


Mrs Rebecca D’Souza – Head of Performing Arts: r.d'