A-Level Music

At Haslingden High School we follow the Eduqas (WJEC) specification for A-Level Music.

The WJEC Eduqas specification is designed to allow learners to pursue their own musical interests. Learners develop skills in the three distinct but related disciplines of performing, composing and appraising, whilst having flexibility to specialise in either performing or composing. Learners may choose to apportion 10% of their assessment to either performing or composing as an in-depth study. The WJEC Eduqas specification is designed to offer contrast and breadth as well as depth of study. Learners will engage with both classical and popular music. All learners will study the development of the symphony, engaging with landmark orchestral repertoire, which is important in developing knowledge and understanding of musical elements and language in context. Learners will use the musical language of this period to compose one piece of music to a brief.

Learners will also study an area of study on Musical Theatre and one further area of study exploring the musical language and styles from the early twentieth century.

Component 1: Performing

Total duration for performances: 10 – 12 minutes
Non-exam assessment: Externally assessed by a visiting examiner 35% of qualification

A performance consisting of a minimum of three pieces. At least one of these pieces must be as a soloist. The other may be either as a soloist or as part of an ensemble or a combination of both.

One piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one area if study. At least one other piece must reflect the musical characteristics of one other, different area of study.

Component 2: Composing

Total duration of compositions: 4 – 6 minutes Non-exam assessment: externally assessed by Eduqas 25% of qualification

Two compositions, one of which must reflect the musical techniques and conventions associated with the Western Classical Tradition and be in response to a brief set by Eduqas.

The second composition is a free composition.

Component 3: Appraising

Written examination: 2 hours 15 minutes 40% of qualification

This component is assessed via a listening examination

Area of Study A - The Western Classical Tradition

The Development of the Symphony 1750– 1900

This area of study focuses on the development of the symphony through the Classical and Romantic eras. The symphony, as it developed, was considered to be the most important instrumental genre of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and contains some of the most exciting orchestral repertoire of the period. The development of the symphony went hand in hand with the development of the orchestra into a grand and powerful force. Equally grand forms and structures were needed to allow the instruments to demonstrate their full potential and with this we see the emergence of sonata form.

Two set works

- Symphony No. 104 in D major, ‘London’ – Haydn
- Symphony No. 4 in A major, ‘Italian’ – Mendelssohn

Area of Study C - Musical Theatre

This area of study focuses on the work of six musical theatre composers:

Richard Rodgers | Leonard Bernstein | Stephen Sondheim | Claude-Michel Schönberg | Andrew Lloyd Webber | Stephen Schwartz

Musical theatre is a diverse art form as it encompasses many different genres and styles of music. However, all musicals contain spectacle, drama and music including integrated musical numbers which propel the action of the story forward. The 1950s and early 1960s were considered the golden age of musical theatre with book musicals establishing the importance of music and story as an integrated art form. Throughout the 1970s the rock musical grew in popularity. Often composers worked in partnership with the same lyricist over many years, for example, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. This highlights the importance of the relationship between lyrics and music.

Area of Study E - Into the Twentieth Century

This area of study focuses on the distinct musical styles of the early twentieth century, which was a time of change and experimentation in music. Both the symphony and the orchestra had reached considerable proportions by the end of the nineteenth century and many composers such as Debussy, Ravel, Schoenberg and Stravinsky were starting to look for new ways to create music, often preferring clarity and sparseness of timbre and texture over late Romantic indulgence. This resulted in the emergence of several diverse schools of composition during the period, including Impressionism, Expressionism and Neo- classicism.

Two set works:

- Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, Movement II: Poulenc
- Three Nocturnes, Number 1, Nuages: Debussy

The WJEC Eduqas A-Level in Music encourages learners to:

  • engage actively in the process of music study
  • develop performing skills individually and in groups to communicate musically with fluency and control of the resources used
  • develop composing skills to organise musical ideas and make use of appropriate resources
  • recognise links between the integrated activities of performing, composing and appraising and how this informs the development of music
  • broaden musical experience and interests, develop imagination and foster creativity
  • develop knowledge, understanding and skills needed to communicate effectively as musicians
  • develop awareness of a variety of instruments, styles and approaches to performing and composing
  • develop awareness of music technologies and their use in the creation and presentation of music
  • recognise contrasting genres, styles and traditions of music, and develop some awareness of musical chronology
  • develop as effective and independent learners with enquiring minds
  • reflect upon and evaluate their own and others’ music
  • engage with and appreciate the diverse heritage of music, in order to promote personal, social, intellectual and cultural development.