A-Level Music Watch

manningA15
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I'm starting music AS in September (exam board: edexcel/ocr) and I just wondered if there is anything I could do to prepare over the summer? Any specific advice on either of the exam boards mentioned?
Also should I consider Grade 8 Theory for the upcoming year? Or is it best to start at 6 (I have already done 5) and work way up through the exams to 8? Are there any books people would recommend to help learn the content?
Thanks
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leahdw
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(Original post by manningA15)
I'm starting music AS in September (exam board: edexcel/ocr) and I just wondered if there is anything I could do to prepare over the summer? Any specific advice on either of the exam boards mentioned?
Also should I consider Grade 8 Theory for the upcoming year? Or is it best to start at 6 (I have already done 5) and work way up through the exams to 8? Are there any books people would recommend to help learn the content?
Thanks
I've been doing Edexcel music.

If you want to do anything to prepare over the summer, you could start thinking about a performance (you don't necessarily need to start working on it right now, but having an idea of what you could do might help).

Also if you're planning on carrying on music to A2, just get listening! Because the more you listen to the music, the better it will be in 2 years' time when you get to the unprepared listening in the A2 exam.

If you want to do theory, by all means do it, but you don't have to. I haven't actually done any music exams (practical or theory) apart from GCSE, AS and A Level exams, coursework and performances.

You could also try finding and listening to next year's set works (I've just looked at the list and some of them look disgusting, although there are also some nice ones scattered in there)

Good luck and enjoy the summer!
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manningA15
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(Original post by leahdw)
I've been doing Edexcel music.

If you want to do anything to prepare over the summer, you could start thinking about a performance (you don't necessarily need to start working on it right now, but having an idea of what you could do might help).

Also if you're planning on carrying on music to A2, just get listening! Because the more you listen to the music, the better it will be in 2 years' time when you get to the unprepared listening in the A2 exam.

If you want to do theory, by all means do it, but you don't have to. I haven't actually done any music exams (practical or theory) apart from GCSE, AS and A Level exams, coursework and performances.

You could also try finding and listening to next year's set works (I've just looked at the list and some of them look disgusting, although there are also some nice ones scattered in there)

Good luck and enjoy the summer!
Thanks for the advice What sort of questions are there for the set works? I've never had to study any before
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leahdw
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(Original post by manningA15)
Thanks for the advice What sort of questions are there for the set works? I've never had to study any before
For AS, there will be two unprepared listening questions based on extracts from the set works (one instrumental and one vocal). Then there are two possible options for question 3; a stylistic features essay and compare and contrast, either for instrumental or vocal set works.

After this there is a short (8-mark) theory question (identifying chords/cadences etc in a printed piece of music) and a 12-mark harmony question (filling in 5 chords for SATB).

For A2, you don't have any listening for the set works (instead the listening is other music, supposedly in some way related to the set works. However these relations are so tenuous it could literally be any piece of music). The set works are again split into two sections, this time Instrumental and Applied. There are 3 possible essays on applied set works (which could be stylistic features, or why is it appropriate for a certain situation, etc) of which you write 2, and for the instrumental set works, there are 2 possible compare and contrast essays, of which you choose 1.

In AS, the compare and contrast essays are for two features of two set works, in A2, they're two features of three set works.
So for example, in AS they might ask you to compare texture and melody in Tippett and Webern, and in A2 they might ask you to compare structure and harmony in Berlioz, Shostakovich and Corelli.

There are a lot of set works to study and learn, but (quoting my music teacher)
"You will love some of them, you will hate some of them, but you will know every single one of them backwards."

Sorry this reply is so long!
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manningA15
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(Original post by leahdw)
For AS, there will be two unprepared listening questions based on extracts from the set works (one instrumental and one vocal). Then there are two possible options for question 3; a stylistic features essay and compare and contrast, either for instrumental or vocal set works.

After this there is a short (8-mark) theory question (identifying chords/cadences etc in a printed piece of music) and a 12-mark harmony question (filling in 5 chords for SATB).

For A2, you don't have any listening for the set works (instead the listening is other music, supposedly in some way related to the set works. However these relations are so tenuous it could literally be any piece of music). The set works are again split into two sections, this time Instrumental and Applied. There are 3 possible essays on applied set works (which could be stylistic features, or why is it appropriate for a certain situation, etc) of which you write 2, and for the instrumental set works, there are 2 possible compare and contrast essays, of which you choose 1.

In AS, the compare and contrast essays are for two features of two set works, in A2, they're two features of three set works.
So for example, in AS they might ask you to compare texture and melody in Tippett and Webern, and in A2 they might ask you to compare structure and harmony in Berlioz, Shostakovich and Corelli.

There are a lot of set works to study and learn, but (quoting my music teacher)
"You will love some of them, you will hate some of them, but you will know every single one of them backwards."

Sorry this reply is so long!
Nah don't worry about it thank you for being so helpful
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erincutiez08
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I've been studying AS music with the exam board AQA, and my advice to you is to start listening to different genres of music, so that you have a greater understanding and skill in noticing the different aspects of the music, as the listening side is 50% of the paper! Also try to find a repertoire of grade 5 and/or above stuff for your performance. And learn lots about harmonies!
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