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Music (A Level)

Why study Music at Tapton?

Music is part of the fabric of the school and over 150 musicians take part in our weekly ensembles. We have proven exam success and we work hard to deliver a rigorous learning experience and ensure you achieve your best. We have a huge number of ensembles you can join and our students regularly progress to studying music performance, music production and music composition at top conservatoires and universities.

The course is designed to encourage students to appreciate all styles and genres, skills and instruments, catering for different learning styles and musical tastes.

Enrichment Activities
Supporting learning in Lower School Music Classes. Performing within one of the many ensembles, such as Senior Orchestra, Jazz Band, Brass Band, Wind Band, String Groups, Staff/Student Choir, Rock Groups and Flute Choir. There may also be other enrichment opportunities, such as performing in Musical Productions, either as an actor, singer or as part of the Band, working with visiting musicians, community days, and the A Level Performance Weekend at Thornbridge Lodge. Follow the sound - there’s always live music taking place in the department!

Music is a language and the skills you learn through studying music are relevant to all careers. Universities value and recognise that musical training has huge benefits for achieving success in other subjects. Music offers many areas of employment and is continually growing and changing, from Performing, Sound Production or Music Engineering, to Musical Theatre, Music in Advertising and Composing for Film, TV and Game, as well as arranging.

What are the entry requirements?
  • Route 1: GCSE grade 6 in Music
  • Route 2: To have passed both Grade 5 Theory and Grade 5 in an instrument/voice.
What else is required? 

You are enthusiastic, open-minded and willing to learn new skills and techniques. You are inquisitive and enjoy listening to music from all eras and genres. You enjoy working as part of a group, but can work independently. You are determined and will work to ensure you succeed. You understand the need for resilience and have high aspirations.

What other subjects link well?

Music involves many transferable skills, not least problem solving, communicating ideas and concepts, discipline and self-motivation, team work, developing creative audio ideas and realising those ideas.

Exam Board


How will I be assessed?

Throughout the course students will take part in peer-group and self-assessment in order to familiarise themselves with the Assessment Objectives, and become more objective in their skills of critique. 

Staff review work with students on a one-to-one basis regularly, giving support, feedback, and set targets for improvement and progression. 

All units are externally assessed at the end of the course.

A level 
  • Component 1: Appraising Music (40%) - An exam comprising of three sections: Listening (56 marks); Analysis (34 marks); Essay (30 marks). At Tapton we focus on the following areas of study: Baroque Solo Concerto, Romantic Piano Music, Music for Theatre, and 20th Century Art Music.
  • Component 2: Performance (35%) - Solo and/or ensemble performing on an instrument, voice or through the use of music technology. Pupils record a total of 10-12 minutes’ worth of music.
  • Component 3: Composition (25%) - Pupils complete 2 compositions. Composition 1 is a composition to a brief and at Tapton we explore advanced harmonic techniques through the study of Bach Chorales, and composition 2  is a free Composition.