Queen's College has a strong academic tradition in music and offers excellent support to those who choose it at A Level. As a subject Music not only develops specific skills but also generic skills such as problem solving, analysis, team working and lateral thinking as well as developing the creativity that is highly prized by universities and employers alike. Given the nature of the qualification, it combines well with just about any combination of other A Level subjects.
By its nature, those considering Music A Level will already be competent musician, preferably Grade 5 or above; although it is desirable for them to have taken GCSE music, this is not always a pre-requisite. Based and delivered in the extensive Music Department, students have access to a wealth of expertise and facilities, enabling them to fully realise their potential. Classes are small allowing a high degree of individual attention from staff.
There are many performance opportunities throughout the year, both internal and external which are contributed to by the A Level students, not just for course requirement but to improve and hone musical skill. It is expected that students taking A Level Music are active in this vibrant concert scene, which is also an extremely rewarding and exciting opportunity.
Both the new AS and A2 Music courses feature set works to study as well as performing and composition tasks and have the same division of marks between the sections.
For performing, there are no limits on the instruments or voices and types of repertoire which may be presented in performance, encouraging the study of the widest possible range of music from folk, popular and classical traditions of non-Western origin as well as those of jazz and the Western classical and popular traditions. This accounts for 30% of the total marks for the course.
Students also study composition and compositional techniques, producing two compositions for assessment; this accounts for a further 30% of the total marks.
The final exam (40% of the marks) offers the students the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge of 18 varied set works, as well as applying analysis skills to unknown pieces. This exam also includes melodic and rhythmic completion exercises.
The Music Department recently developed a brand new Music Technology suite and as a result, we now offer Music Technology as an option at A Level.
This practical course not only develops understanding of the use of sophisticated audio equipment but develops a high degree of creativity, patience and perfectionism. Like A Level Music, it combines well with a varied range of other A Level choices.
This A Level does not require any instrument specialism or GCSE music although some experience of music and score reading is desirable. The qualification comprises of two pieces of coursework (40% of the A level) and two exams (60% of the A level). The coursework portfolio includes a multitrack recording and a composition using technology created using our specialist Music Technology suite and its wide range of equipment.
The first exam is based on popular music and requires an overview of a range of styles, as well as the application and use of music technology. The second exam is a production exam; candidates manipulate samples and MIDI data to create a short piece as instructed; there are also some questions on the use and application of various techniques in music production.
As well as their coursework, students are actively encouraged to pursue their own music technology projects, both recording and sequenced, in order to fully develop their production skills.
Queen's College offers Music awards and scholarships to musically gifted pupils in the Sixth Form.
As a guideline, most major scholarships are worth approximately 25% of fees and minor scholarships, 10% off fees.