The GCE Music qualification is made up of two parts: AS and A2. The AS can be taken as a stand-alone qualification without progression to A2. However, to gain a full GCE, students must complete both parts of the course.
The course continues the core skills of listening, composing and performing encountered at GCSE. Pupils are free to perform and compose in any style of their choice and on any instrument. A few pupils have undertaken AS Music in the past who have not taken the GCSE course and have performed well, but these are generally pupils who are already competent performers and composers.
The minimum standard for performance is Grade 4, though there are some extra marks for pieces played well at a higher level.
The course is divided into four units. Students must study two units at AS level and a further two units at A2 level.
Examining Board: CCEA
AS 1: Performing
Students must present a balanced and varied solo performance. They must sing and/or play instruments of their own choice and engage in a meaningful viva voce about points arising from their programme with the visiting examiner.
AS 2: Composing
Assessment for this unit consists of a composition or composition using music technology, both with an accompanying written commentary.
Option A: Composing
Students must compose one piece of music and they may choose their own brief, compositional style and resources.
Option B: Composing with Technology
Students must compose one piece of music and use either sequencing or multi track recording technology to create a recorded performance of their composition.
AS 3: Responding to Music
- Music for Orchestra 1700–1900
- Sacred Vocal Music (Anthems)
- Secular Vocal Music (Musicals)
Careers and Further Study
AS level Music is very useful for anyone
considering primary teaching as pupils require musical support at key school events such as concerts and plays. AS leads naturally into A2 which is a
requirement for any third level course in Music.
Anyone interested in the world of
recording studios or writing and
performing their own music would find this course useful as an introduction to multi-track recording.