A Level Music is suitable for all instrumentalists or vocalists who have already achieved a standard equivalent to at least ABRSM Grade 4 (or other recognised examination body). The course focuses on the disciplines of Performing, Listening and Analysis. Any musical style is suitable for performing, but the course includes a core study of Western classical music. Confident musical literacy skills are essential, as is a willingness to be creative and involved with the musical activities of the Department.

Take a look at some students’ recent performances in the Performing Arts Photo Gallery.

What goes well with this course?

Many of our students opt to study both Music and Music Technology. This course will combine well with almost any other subject; in the past students have also studied:

  • English
  • Psychology
  • History
  • Mathematics
  • Performing Arts
  • Photography
  • Media Studies
  • Film Studies
  • Business 

Students considering taking Music at university would benefit from taking subjects with a focus on analytical writing, such as English or History.


A Level Music is a requirement if students wish to study for a specialist Music degree or undertake a professional training course at one of the Conservatoires. Music can be studied as a single honours degree as well as part of a combined honours course, with a wide range of subjects (for example Business, English, Languages, Mathematics, etc.) A good pass at A Level Music makes a positive impression on university admissions for most degree programmes.

Course Content

The course covers three broad areas:

  • Performing Music – Students prepare for a final recital which must be of Grade 6 standard or above on their chosen instrument(s) and/or voice.
  • Composing – this is a specialist study of key compositional techniques from the Western Classical Tradition, Music of the twentieth century and the candidates own interests.
  • Understanding Musical Style – in which students study the development of symphonic music through the classical and romantic eras, music of the twentieth century and jazz between 1920 and 1960.

Educational Experiences

Course Specific Trips, Visits & Experiences

Music A Level students have the opportunity to take part in a variety of course related experiences. In the last couple of years, these have included:

  • Music videos such as Times Like These  and Don’t Go Out
  • Concert trips
  • Composition workshops with professional ensembles, most recently the Camilli String Quartet and also the Yehudi Menuhin School
  • A chance to perform in the College’s Winter and Spring Concerts and the annual Battle of the Bands as well as regular lunchtime recitals
  • A chance to perform at the College’s annual Leavers’ Festival
  • The opportunity to take part in Reigate’s New Music Fest – both behind the scenes and on the stage
  • Participation in lectures and study days led by leading specialists and academics.

Activities Programme

Music students will be required to participate in at least one College music group throughout the duration of their studies and can select from: Chamber Ensemble, Choir or Band. In addition to course specific experiences, students also have the opportunity to get involved in the College’s Activities Programme.

Work Experience

All students need to gain an experience of the work place during their time at College and for students studying vocational courses it should ideally be linked to one of their subject areas.


The course is assessed through a formal examination in June and externally assessed coursework, both for Composition and Performance.

The exam board for this A level is Eduqas.

Entry Requirements

All students need to have at least five GCSEs at Grade 4 or above (and a satisfactory school reference) in order to be accepted on an A Level/BTEC Level 3 Programme. 

Students will need at least one of the following qualifications to be considered:  

  • Grade 6 or above in GCSE Music
  • Grade 4 ABRSM Instrument – pass or above
  • Grade 5 ABRSM Theory – Students must either have Grade 5 Theory on entry or commit to passing it in the November of their Lower Sixth year.  Students without the grade 5 will be given support sessions to help them achieve it in November.

In addition, all students will be invited to attend an audition and an interview with the Music staff.

Suitability for the course can be discussed with the department should alternative qualifications or experience be presented.

Students will do well on the course if they are:

  • Creative
  • Confident
  • Natural performers
  • Fascinated by the workings of music
  • Good with IT
  • A team player
  • Keen to develop their instrumental or vocal technique to a high standard

Students should be enthusiastic performers and active listeners. Students will have the opportunity to develop their key skills generally as well as sharing their enthusiasm and interests with other specialist musicians.

How to Apply

Applications for entry September 2020

Students from partner schools (Reigate, Warwick, de Stafford and Oakwood) should complete an online application under the guidance of their school.

All other applicants should download and return the 2020 application form.

All applications will be considered according to the College’s Admissions Policy.

Please see the Admissions timetable for information about the College’s enrolment process.

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