GCSE Music

A Level Music

The aim of the Academic Music Department is to broaden and deepen pupils' understanding and appreciation of music at all levels. The weekly lesson in Year 9 uses a practical approach to learning the essentials of performing, composing and listening skills.

Pupils experience a wide range of styles and genres by performing them while learning to master a variety of instruments and how to read notation.

The school plays host to the Mount Kelly Concert Society which holds regular concerts showcasing talented professional musicians and this gives the children the opportunity to begin to appreciate live music at its best.

Music becomes an optional subject in Year 10 and leads to the Edexcel GCSE qualification. By studying a number of musically varied set works, pupils learn the skills to complete a series of compositions, performances and listening tasks.

Performing with and to each other is a vital and enjoyable part of the course and pupils may contribute in any style and on any instrument including voice.  There are options to complete the performance aspect of the course exclusively using technology for those whose interests lie in that area.

Pupils learn to compose in a variety of styles using practical improvisation and also the latest computer software including Sibelius for traditional notation and Logic for technology based styles.

Pupils will need to be proficient on any instrument or voice to around Grade IV standard by the end of Year 11 in order to succeed in this course. The course will teach candidates how to prepare and record performances as soloists and members of ensembles.

In the examination, candidates’ ability to answer questions by listening to familiar excerpts is assessed through short answers as well as an extended writing question.

A Level Music equips pupils for entry into Music courses at University, but the breadth of skills, both academic and practical, that musicians learn impresses the selection boards of other university departments too, indeed Music is the only arts subject on Cambridge University's "A" list of preferred subjects.  At Mount Kelly we follow the Edexcel specification.

Music at A Level also centres around the skills of performing, listening and composing developed at GCSE and, although it is not essential to have studied Music at GCSE, pupils require strong abilities in these areas. As a guide, pupils will be able to give a recital of at least Grade VI standard to aspire to an A-C grade for the performance element of the course.

Composition is taught in a variety of genres and students will also learn the formal rules of harmony on which they will be examined.  Assessment is by way of a composition to a brief supplied by the exam board and a commentary detailing the creative process and musical influences.

Listening skills are developed through study of a very varied list of set works.