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Music A Level supports students in forming personal and meaningful relationships with music through the development of musical knowledge, understanding and skills including performing, composing and appraising. Students are encouraged to engage critically and creatively with a wide range of music and musical contexts. This qualification also allows students to develop particular strengths and interests, and inspires students to look at music holistically.

Qualifications & Assessments

Exam Board EDUQAS
Level Level 3
Qualification A Level
Assessment Method 35% Performing, 25% Composing. 40% Appraising
Entry Requirements Entry Requirements

A Level Music is assessed in three units:

A Level Music is assessed in three units:

Performing 35%

Students perform a recital of 10 minutes on an instrument or voice to a visiting examiner. Students must perform three pieces of music and demonstrate an understanding of different styles of music.

Composing 25%

Students compose two pieces of music, one to a given brief and one ‘free choice’ work totalling a minimum of 4 minutes. The piece to a given brief must be in the Western Classical Tradition and students learn the building bricks of Western music, an essential skill to facilitate further study of Music. The free choice composition allows students to explore their own passions and can be written in any style and for any instrument/ensemble.

Appraising 40%

Students develop their listening and appraising skills through the study of music across a diverse range of styles and genres. Students analyse and evaluate music in aural and written form and develop the specific musical vocabulary associated with a particular style or genre. The areas of study are:

  • The Western Classical Tradition, with a focus on symphonies from 1750 – 1900
  • Rock and Pop, exploring Pop, Rock, Soul, Funk and Folk from 1960 – 2000
  • Into the Twentieth Century focusing on Impressionism, Neo-Classicism and Expressionism 1895 – 1935


Music at Aquinas has a long tradition of a large percentage of students studying the subject in Higher Education. We currently have students studying at the most prestigious institutions in the UK including: Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Royal Northern College of Music, Leeds College of Music, Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, Universities of Manchester, Bath, Birmingham, Cambridge, Newcastle and Surrey.

Students are encouraged to forge their own interests and are supported in their decisions post Aquinas in whichever field they choose. Music A Level not only supports the study of music on practical and academic Music courses but is also a very well respected academic A Level supporting applications for all manner of courses in Higher Education. Past students have moved into varied music careers including: professional musician (performing classical and popular music), composer (specialising in opera), composer for computer games, travelling workshop provider, music therapy, sound engineer, teaching and conducting.

We have close links with the Royal Northern College of Music and regularly attend concerts. Recent trips have included Media City to watch BBC Philharmonic and take part in Q&A sessions with the conductor and performers; the Beatles Story in Liverpool; Halle St Peters to play the Halle Gamelan; Bridgewater Hall to watch Halle concerts. Aquinas College Music Department hosts masterclasses from visiting virtuosi and open rehearsals from professional performers.

We offer a wide range of peripatetic instrumental lessons from highly experienced and qualified staff and students have the opportunity to be involved in extra-curricular groups and activities.

There is also an optional trip to London for all students studying subjects within the Performing Arts department. For more information about this trip please see the Trips and Travel page


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