Music

The aim of the Music Department is to encourage students to discover for themselves the excitement and fulfilment gleaned from music.

The new Edexcel Advanced GCE Music course — simple in design but comprehensive — is intended to be stimulating and enriching for students and teachers alike. At both AS and A2, students experience all three main musical disciplines of performing, composing, listening and understanding. Studying Music offers students the unique opportunity to combine creativity with a strong academic focus, and is therefore accepted as an academic A Level at most universities.

Students will develop performance skills, solo and/or ensemble, compose music and learn about harmony (the basics at AS and stylistic studies at A2). They will build up their aural and analytical skills by studying selections from the New Anthology of Music and wider listening. The anthology remains the basis of historical and analytical study. Works are now grouped into three areas of study: instrumental music, vocal music and applied music. Given the wealth of musical experience in the Music Department, we are able to guide students through all three of these areas with expertise and confidence. 

Music students leaving Cokethorpe at the end of the Sixth Form have continued their studies at many top universities and conservatoires. In recent years students have gained places at Birmingham Conservatoire, Goldsmiths’ University of London and Durham.


Why Choose Music


  • The A Level course is excellent preparation for higher education courses in Music at universities and conservatoires, but is equally valuable for non-specialists as a second or third area of study. 
  • The AS units alone can offer a broad and satisfying experience for those who want to conclude their musical studies at this point.
  • Music offers career opportunities in a wide range of professions, including Performing, Composing, Music Production, Music Therapy and Education. 
  • Musicians acquire many transferable skills, the ability to communicate effectively through expression, IT skills, analytical and critical thinking and teamwork. 

Exam Board


Further information on the Music A Level can be found on the Edexcel website. 


Course Content

Unit 1 - Performing

This unit gives students the opportunity to perform as soloists and/or as part of an ensemble. Teachers and students can choose music in any style. Any instrument(s) and/or voice(s) are acceptable as part of a five to six minute assessed performance. Notated and/or improvised performances may be submitted.

Unit 2 – Composing

This unit encourages students to develop their composition skills leading to the creation of a three-minute piece in response to a chosen brief. Students also write a CD sleeve note to describe aspects of their final composition and explain how other pieces of music have influenced it.

Unit 3 – Developing Musical Understanding

This unit focuses on listening to familiar music and understanding how it works. Set works from the anthology provide the focus for the first two sections, through listening and studying scores and learning how to identify important musical features and the social and historical context. In the third section, students use a score to identify harmonic and tonal features and then apply this knowledge in the completion of a short and simple passage.

Unit 4 - Extended Performance

This unit gives students the opportunity to extend their performance skills as soloists and/or as part of an ensemble. Teachers and students can choose music in any style. Any instrument(s) and/or voice(s) are acceptable as part of a twelve to fifteen minute assessed performance of a balanced programme of music. Notated and/or improvised performances may be submitted.

Unit 5 – Composition and Technical Study

This unit has two sections: composition and technical study. The composition section leads to the creation of a final three minute piece in response to a chosen brief. The technical study section builds on the knowledge and awareness of harmony gained in Unit 3 section C through the medium of pastiche studies. Students must complete two tasks in this unit.

Unit 6 – Further Musical Understanding

This unit focuses on listening to music, familiar and unfamiliar, and understanding how it works. Set works from the anthology provide the focus for much of the unit, concentrating on important musical features, context and/or elements of continuity and change. Students listen to a wide range of unfamiliar music which relates to the two compulsory areas of study, learning how to compare and contrast pairs of excerpts, contextualise music and identify harmonic and tonal features.


Assessment

AS Unit 1: Performing Music 

30% of the total AS Level marks. 15% of the total A Level marks

AS Unit 2: Composing 

30% of the total AS Level marks. 15% of the total A Level marks

AS Unit 3: Developing Musical Understanding 

40% of the total AS Level marks. 20% of the total A Level marks

A2 Unit 4: Extended Performance 

30% of the total AS Level marks. 15% of the total A Level marks

A2 Unit 5: Composition and Technical Study

30% of the total AS Level marks. 15% of the total A Level marks

A2 Unit 6: Further Musical Understanding 

40% of the total AS Level marks. 20% of the total A Level marks

Trips, Activities and Extension

Outside the classroom pupils are encouraged to take part in a large number of instrumental and vocal groups. These ensembles perform throughout the year both inside the School as well as outside. Trips to examination conferences and music industry related centres, concerts and competitions augment learning opportunities. 

Music Technology Industry Visit to SSL

Students have the opportunity to go on a number of trips and visits, recently a group of students visited global music technology specialists, Solid State Logic. Students experienced the tools of professional sound production industries; recording studios, Broadcasters, live performance, TV and movie post-production as well as gaining an insight into what a modern manufacturing company looks like and potential careers in electronics and software development.

Gig Night

Every term the highly successful Gig Night allows musical hair to be let down and gives a chance for the thriving school rock bands to take to the stage. With an eclectic and diverse mixture of acts, Gig Night has quickly established itself as one of the most anticipated events in the Cokethorpe calendar.

Lunchtime Music Recitals

Bi-termly lunchtime music recitals are held where pupils from any age group are invited to perform to an audience. From rock bands, to vocalists, to classical musicians playing their own compositions, all are welcome and encouraged to hone their performance skills alongside fellow musicians.

Concerts, Performances and the School Choir

The School Choir perform throughout the school year, including Evensong and May Day Madrigals. The Choral Society stage a large musical venture every year where parents and staff to join the School Choir to perform together. In celebration of the Patron Saint of Music, the St Cecilia Concert is a showcase of solo and ensemble music, with performances from our Music Award Holders, who also perform another concert later in the year to showcase their talents. In the Lent Term, the Drama and Music Departments join together to produce a musical.