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Key Stage 5

KS5 Curriculum Overview:

At KS5, there are both Music & Music Technology A Level Courses on offer which are currently delivered at Rochester Grammar School.

The A Level Music course is split into the same 3 core skills as the GCSE Course (Listening & Appraising, Performance and Composition) however in much more depth and at a greater level of difficulty. The performance component consists of an 8-12 minute solo recital. The composition component is split into 2 modules: Free/Set Brief composition of their own choice which must be between 4-6 minutes long and a technical exam of harmonic writing in the style of J.S Bach (Chorale). The Listening & Appraising component of the course culminates in a 2 hour exam looking at the 6 areas of study which includes both set works and some unfamiliar listening. The areas of study are: Vocal Music, Instrumental Music, Music for Film, Popular Music and Jazz, Fusions and New Directions.

The A Level Music Technology course is also split into 3 sections: Recording & production techniques for both corrective and creative purposes; Principles of Sound & Audio Technology and Development of Recording & Production Technology. This is assessed in 4 ways: Recording (from a list of 10 songs set by the exam board), Technology based Composition (using a variety of technologies to a set brief), Listening & Analysing (through a written examination) and Producing & Analysis (both in a written and practical examination).

Why study Music?

You will enjoy this course if you want to study a subject that

·         Involves performing as a soloist and/or ensemble member

·         Involves composing, by exploring and applying those elements in your own works

·         Involves listening to all kinds of music, developing an open mind to a wide range of styles, and understanding the inner workings of the elements of music


How will you be assessed?

Unit 01 Performing – externally marked course work – 30%

Unit 02 Composing – externally marked course work – 30%

Unit 03 Appraising – externally marked examination – 40%

What will you study?  
Unit 01 Performing Total performance time of 8 minutes

Performance can be solo and/or ensemble

Students should be having regular individual lessons with a specialist tutor for an instrument/singing – preferably at least 30 minutes per week.

Total of 60 marks (12 marks available for difficulty of pieces)

Unit 02 Composing Having been introduced to various compositional techniques you will then produce 2 compositions of your own

1 free or free choice brief – min 4 min     (40 marks)

1 brief assessing technique – min 1 min   (20 marks)

Together total minimum of 6 minutes

 Unit 03 Appraising 6 Areas of Study with 3 set works in each

• Vocal Music

• Instrumental Music

• Music for Film

• Popular Music and Jazz

• Fusions

• New Directions


Examination 2 hours   Total 100 marks

What will Music offer you in the future?

You may wish to take a GCE in Music for its own sake, perhaps to form the basis of a future interest or academic study at university or conservatoire.

Music related careers are numerous and include performing, composing/arranging, publishing, entertainment, teaching (instrumental and classroom), promoting, television, radio, recording technician, music therapy, concert management, or any job which involves communication and expressive skills.


Music Technology

Why study Music Technology?

Advanced skills in music technology are developed through the use of sequencing, recording techniques and listening and analysing. Students will have the opportunity to perform and arrange music and to record their work on a regular basis.

How will you be assessed?

Unit 1 – Recording –  A controlled coursework module, externally examined – 20%

Unit 2 – Technology – based composition, externally examined – 20%

Unit 3 – Listening and Analysing – 25%

Unit 4 – Producing and Analysing – 35%

What will you study?  
Unit 1 – Recording ·         One recording, chosen from a list of 10 songs, consisting of 5 compulsory instruments.

·         Keyboard tracks may be sequenced

·         Total time – between 3 and 3 ½ minutes

·         Logbook

Unit 2 – Technology – based composition


·         One technology-based composition chosen from 3 briefs

·         Synthesis and sampling/audio manipulation and creative effects use must be included

·         Total time must be 3 minutes

·         Logbook

Unit 3 – Listening and Analysing


·         Knowledge and understanding of recording and production techniques and principles

·         Application of knowledge related to all 3 areas of study:

–       Recording and production techniques

–       Principles in sound and audio technology

–       The development of recording and production technology

Examination 1 hours  30 minutes

Unit 4 – Producing and Analysing ·         Knowledge and understanding of editing, mixing and production techniques

·         Application of knowledge related to 2 of the areas of study:

–       Recording and production techniques for both corrective and creative purposes

–       Principles of sound and audio technology

Examination 2 hours   15 minutes

What will Music Technology offer you in the future?

Music Technology is an excellent course for those wishing to work in the music business or study different aspects of Performing Arts.  It can lead to further study of Music Technology or Recording, as well as being an excellent course for those who wish to further study music (in addition to a Music A Level).  The job market for music technology is huge from sound engineering, producer, recording engineer, composer (film music and music for video games), performer, teaching, entertainment, television, radio, concert management and many more.