Key Stage 5 Music

‘Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.’

At KS5, students have the opportunity to take Music and Music Technology as individual subjects, furthering the skills they have developed throughout the GCSE course, as well as through their own musical experiences outside of the classroom setting.

Music A Level (traditional)

Music focuses on the more traditional musical components of performance, composing, listening and appraising, working as a direct continuation of the skills developed at GCSE level. As with the GCSE, the externally assessed A Level qualification is comprised of performance and composing (60% in total) and a written examination (40% of the qualification). The course covers a wide-range of musical styles and genres, including instrumental and vocal music, music for film, popular music, jazz and fusions. The written examination gives students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the set works they will have studied in depth over the two-year course, as well as asking questions related to more unfamiliar pieces.

The composing element of the qualification is very similar to that of the GCSE, with one piece being chosen from a brief set by the exam board, and a second “free” composition of the individual student’s choosing. These compositions allow students to truly explore their creativity across both new and familiar genres, and may be completed at any time.

Students demonstrate their performing talents by giving a public recital towards the end of their two-year course, lasting at least eight minutes. Again, as with the GCSE, this may be either sung or instrumental and may be from any music genre or style.

We follow the Edexcel specification:


Music Technology A Level

Music technology allows musicians to gain knowledge and understanding of the history of popular music and the use, development and impact of music technology across a wide range of musical styles and genres.

The majority of both the AS and A Level courses focus on completing externally assessed coursework, which develops students’ skills as musical creators, listeners, technicians and producers.

In both years, students complete a variety of sequencing tasks, using music technology software to accurately re-create existing pieces. Students must complete a multi-track recording for both AS and A Level, allowing for them to expand their knowledge of recording equipment and software, whilst furthering their listening and production skills. The final coursework tasks involve more musical creativity, being asked to arrange a given track in a completely different musical style for the AS qualification, and using music technology to compose an entirely original piece for the A2.

As well as the practical coursework, students must complete a written examination in both years of the A Level course. For the AS, this consists of general listening and technology specific questions, building on the GCSE listening paper and covering a variety of popular music styles from 1900 to the present day. For the A2 exam, students will be given a CD of Audio material which they must review, commenting on musical elements and technological processes, identifying mistakes and discrepancies and correcting them.

Outside of the classroom setting, all sixth form students are welcome to pre-book and use any one of our practise spaces, including our designated sixth form rehearsal and recording area, regardless of whether or not they study Music or Music Technology formally at MGS. Sixth formers are encouraged to take part in our annual school production and various musical ensembles within school, as well as having the opportunity to become a “Music Mentor” to one of our KS3 students wishing to receive instrumental or vocal tuition.

We follow the Pearson Edexcel specification