“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything” – Plato

It is the perfect subject for students who have a passion for music and understand how crucial music is in our world. Musicians are always highly desirable in the workplace in all global careers/industries because of their transferable skills – performance, creativity, self-motivation, initiative, innovation, teamwork, analytical skills and commitment. We ensure that students develop all of these skills and grow into confident performers. We encourage all A level musicians to make a significant contribution to the wider life of the school, by performing in concerts and musical events and leading or supporting enrichment groups. Sixth form musicians enjoy working both independently as a soloist and also in small and large ensembles and they work very closely with their teachers. We aim to culturally enrich all of our students so that they attend a wide range of  local and national musical concerts and events. Ultimately, students find music rewarding because they develop their musicianship and a wealth of transferable skills and consequently this opens doors to a range of opportunities.


A level Music

Awarding body Eduqas

Entry requirements

Music GCSE Grade 7 or equivalent as well as a sound knowledge of music theory and the ability to perform on an instrument or sing to a Grade 4-5 standard.

Course content

There are three components in both Year 12 and Year 13: Performing, Composing and Appraising.

Component 1: Performing

A level musicians will continue to develop their instrumental/vocal skills, in preparation for final performance recitals (6-12 minutes depending upon which option decided). At least one piece must be a solo, while the other pieces may be as a soloist or as part of an ensemble or a combination of both.


Component 2: Composing

Learners will develop their composition skills and produce a portfolio of compositions. One is a free choice whereas the other is in response to an exam board brief.


Component 3: Appraising

Learners will explore music from three areas of study, developing detailed knowledge of musical elements, musical contexts and musical language. The areas of study include western classical music, musical theatre and styles from the twentieth century.

Detailed analysis of the following set works is included :

Symphony No.104 in D major, ‘London’, movements 1 and 2: Haydn

Trio for Oboe, Bassoon and Piano, Movement II: Poulenc

Three Nocturnes, Number 1, Nuages: Debussy


The A level music course offers two options, giving a 25% / 35% weighting to performance and composition. These two components are externally assessed and performance is assessed by a visiting examiner. The remaining 40% of the course takes the form of a listening and appraising exam. Exam questions will cover set work analysis questions with a score, extended responses around a wider context, unprepared listening/appraising work and comparison questions.

Studying at Hermitage Academy not only made me a good musician but also helped my passion for music thrive. I can happily and confidently move on into the world with everything I learned there.
Julia Smith, former student

Why study music?

Music is a pre-requisite for those wishing to pursue a professional music career as a teacher, performer or composer for higher education courses including Oxbridge and Russell Groups universities as well as specialist music conservatoires. It also creates a practical and creative balance for those studying all classroom/lab-based subjects. It can lead to careers in Teaching, Music Therapy, Music Technology, Media, Theatre, Arts Administration, Human Resources and the Entertainment Industry.