fb-pixel A Level Music - Mill Hill Schools


Why Study Music?

Pupils opt to study Music for a variety of reasons. For some it is a prelude to the study of Music at university or music college, whilst others pursue it as a passion, knowing that music will be a part of their life whatever path they decide to take. Whatever your reason for taking Music, the course offered at Mill Hill develops a wide range of musical disciplines and complement scientific, linguistic and humanist A-level combinations. Because of the wide range of skills it requires, A-level Music is considered a highly demanding and valuable course and is therefore looked upon favourably by the most competitive universities.

Entry Requirements

Grade 6 in GCSE Music plus Grade 5 performance standard (you do not have to have taken the exam) in at least one instrument. ABRSM Grade 5 Theory is a significant advantage. The Director of Academic Music will consider applications from those who have the relevant musical experience, but have not studied GCSE Music, on an individual basis.

Course Outline

Performance (30%)

The course offers a wealth of performing opportunities in and out of School as a soloist and ensemble musician. A-level Music pupils prepare for an extended recital with regular coaching, workshops and performance opportunities.

Composition and Compositional Techniques (30%)

A-level musicians develop free compositional skills as well as honing the techniques of various historical and contemporary styles, such as song, string quartet, chorales and jazz styles. In free composition A-level pupils are free to set their own briefs and develop their own compositional language.

Listening and Appraising (40%)

At A-level, pupils study a variety of topics from the 16th Century to the present day. The topics and works studied are chosen with the interests of the particular pupils in mind. These are assessed with a written exam featuring aural questions on unfamiliar pieces and essay writing. Possible topics include:

  • Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven
  • Popular Song: Blues, Jazz, Swing and Big Band
  • Developments in Instrumental Jazz 1910 to the present day
  • Religious Music of the Baroque Period
  • Programme Music 1820–1910
  • Innovations in Music 1900 to the present day
  • Music for Stage and Screen in the Twentieth Century

Course Delivery

Lessons aim to build and develop a wide variety of skills including aural recognition, composing in a Classical vein, free composition, score reading, musical analysis, independent research, presenting, essay writing, performing, appraising, identifying differences between performances of the same piece, learning about historical, musical and social contexts and the provenance of pieces.

Higher Education and Career Opportunities

Music graduates are employed across a varied range of fields. Unsurprisingly, a large proportion (50%) work in the creative industries, but the roles performed by graduates vary greatly. Graduates work in publishing, editing, media production, broadcasting, and marketing – as well as finance and banking, legal services and consultancy. A number work with professional ensembles, but not all are performing as musicians – many work in management roles.