We study music to appreciate the ways in which human beings have forged creative responses to their environments and to the situations they find themselves in. We study it to appreciate patterns and forms and to experience the highest forms of creativity as well as teaching us discipline, self-confidence and the value of practice and skill.
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
To study Music is to engage more deeply with its composition and performance, both by striving to understand its great creators, and by attempting to become the next one. The study of Music at A Level requires candidates to perform, compose and listen to music, demonstrating knowledge and understanding of a range of musical styles. Through these activities the students will develop a more informed appreciation of how and why a very wide variety of music was written and/or performed, and improve their skills in performing and composing.
Students are expected to reach at least a Grade 6 standard of performance and to take part in a wide range of extra-curricular music: performing in groups during the course is a requirement of the syllabus. Students will be assessed on all elements of the course but there are opportunities to focus on areas of strength: strong performers can increase the performing component of their studies, and those with a special interest in composing can concentrate on this component. There are many opportunities to compose and perform in an unrestricted range of styles and genres.
Music A Level is respected as a challenging course, even by the most demanding of universities, due to the wide range of skills it demands of students. In addition to being a pre-requisite for Music-based degree courses, an A Level in Music is a valuable addition to most combinations of subjects, demonstrating both creative and analytical skills.
A short introduction to the course is followed by classes in Baroque Figured Bass, Harmony and Counterpoint, Composition, Aural Skills, Improvisation, Repertoire, Analysis and History, Musicianship Skills and Instrumental Studies. Visits to operas and concerts are arranged and participation in a range of performance groups and school events is expected.