Performing Arts



Unit 1: Performing Music 1

Candidates will be required to perform a recital which demonstrates representative features of the repertoire for the instrument or voice presented. The programme should last no longer than eight minutes and be of varying musical styles.
There will be a five minute viva voce discussion with the student regarding their performance where they should be able to explain decisions taken in preparation for the performance.
There will follow a further performing section where students will perform a programme in an ensemble. Each candidate’s part in the ensemble must be clearly distinguishable from that of the other performers. The programme should last no longer than four minutes. This will be marked by a visiting examiner.

Composing 1

Candidates are required to submit a portfolio representative of work undertaken throughout the course.
Candidates should submit a set of seven exercises, six completed during the course and one completed under centre supervision.
They will be based on Western Tonal Harmony (Bach Chorales) and should be between eight and twenty four bars in length. The set of exercises should contain examples of major and minor keys.

Composing 2

Candidates are required to submit an arrangement of a lead sheet for between four and ten instruments lasting not more than three minutes. This must be submitted as a full score with a recording.


Candidates are required to answer questions on Popular Instrumental Music from 1900 to the present day as well as music from the 18th and early 19th century. There is a further listening section based on Jazz from 1920 to 1960 followed by an essay question based on any of the above mentioned topics. This take the form of a two hour examination.


Both years of the course include one examined unit and one coursework unit.
Examination Board – OCR


The course is suitable for any student with a love and passion for music who wishes to pursue a career in music especially if they wish to study at a higher level at either a university or music college. The broad range of areas of study offers scope to develop creativity using traditional tonal and non-tonal Western composing and performance skills.


The course is a traditional A Level favoured by many of the top universities. The study is largely practically based, learning is always achieved through doing, but the content and material is highly challenging and engaging. Written work, although academically demanding, is based on the student’s own creative and stylistic decisions. This has traditionally enabled students from all abilities to achieve the highest grades in Music


This is a fun yet rigorous course which demands the highest levels of commitment from candidates. Students will be required to balance practical solo and group work with sophisticated written and aural perception examinations. As a result, the qualification is highly regarded by universities and future employers. Previous students have gone on to pursue careers as teachers, professional musicians and theatre performers.