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Carshalton High School for Girls

Carshalton High School for Girls

Carshalton High School for Girls is a highly successful school, judged by Ofsted in January 2023 as ‘Good’ in all categories.

Music A Level KS5

What will students study in Music this year?

Students will follow the Eduqas A Level Music course. The course is divided into three strands: Performance, Composition and Listening. Students can choose to specialise in Performance or Composition according to their interests. All elements of the course are taught throughout Years 12 and 13. 

Performance (25% or 35% depending on specialism) 

Students will perform live in front of a visiting examiner in the spring term of Year 13. The performance will 8-12 minutes long depending on the student’s specialism. The expected standard for A-Level performance is Grade 6 by the time of the Year 13 exam. Students will do regular mock recitals in class throughout Year 12 and 13 to prepare them for this. 

Composition (25% or 35% depending on specialism) 

Students will write two or three pieces of music lasting between 6-10 minutes depending on their specialism. One of these compositions will be completed in Year 13 to a brief set by the exam board. Students will receive regular composition lessons and guidance throughout the course. 

Listening and Appraising (40%) 

Students will sit one exam in the summer of Year 13. The exam content will be taught over the two year course and covers the following topics: 

AoS A – The Development of the Symphony- students will study the symphony from 1750-1900, including one set work, Haydn’s Symphony No.104. 

AoS C – Musical Theatre- students will study a range of musicals focussing on the development of the genre and the works of six key composers.  

AoS E – Into the Twentieth Century- students will study music from the years 1900-1930, including one set work, Poulenc’s Trio for Piano, Oboe and Bassoon. 

What are the major assessments this year? 

Students will sit a listening exam each term in line with school examination timetables testing their appraising skills on music they have studied that term. Students submit termly compositions and performances and receive written feedback on how to improve these 

What do assessments test?

Practical assessments will test pupils’ skills in either performance or composition. The listening and written assessments will test pupils’ ability to identify features in music, key features of genres of music and music theory. These will by the end of the Summer term cover all the topics the pupil has discovered that academic year.

What do we expect of A-Level music students? 

It is expected that students will be regularly practicing their instruments outside of lessons. Students should be proactive and take up opportunities to perform in ensembles and individually. Across the course students will gain a critical understanding of music throughout a variety of genres and time periods and will find a love for music and styles which they may not have come across before. They are expected to read and listen around their subject. A range of trips and events will be organised by the Music department and it is highly recommended that students participate in these.  

What should my child do if they feel like they are struggling in Music?

In the first instance, your child should talk to their music teacher about how we can support them further. Their music teacher will offer them targeted advice and may suggest extra resources or KS5 support sessions that they could attend. Students need to remember that music is not an easy subject and they have to be resilient and keep working hard, even when it gets difficult.  

How can I best support my child in Music?

Ask your child about what they have discovered or learnt in their music lessons and if they feel there is an area in particular in music they are struggling with. Encourage your child to practice their instrument or singing as much as they can. It really is as simple as students who practice more score more highly in the performance component. We also offer peripatetic lessons through The Surrey Sound of Music and if your child is interested, please get her to speak to her music teacher or you can email for more information. 

For the Listening and Appraising component the best thing students can do to improve is to listen widely to music across all the genres studied. Having discussions with your child about what they are listening to can be a really useful way to further their learning. Class teachers will make past papers available to students near exam times, so do encourage your child to make use of those. To boost their notation skills your child can access for free. The school has also bought a subscription to Auralia for KS5. This is an online programme that boosts listening skills and can be accessed here using the login information given to your child by their teacher.  

Whom should I contact for further advice or information?

Miss Gravenor, Lead Teacher of Music, for any further queries.