rose_berelowitz
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So I have a question about taking A-Level music. I'm currently in year 11 and I'm not taking GCSE music, but I have a distinction in both my grade 5 singing and theory and I'm about to take my grade 6. Is it too much of a jump? How different is it? I'm worried that I would fall behind with all the composition sides of things and although I haven't done any analytical listening of pieces, I've been told I have a very good 'ear' for music, so hopefully that wouldn't be so bad. So, I'm just wandering if anyone can shed a light on this and if anyone else is in or has been in a similar position? And just a side note, is voice enough for A-Level music? Or should I start to play something else? I know the basics of piano, I'm self taught. Anyway, any help would be much appreciated. 😊
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lucyereade
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I'd say that voice would be enough for A level as you can record with just one instrument. However, when I decided to do music A level it was advised that you were already at a grade 6 standard. Luckily I was grade 8 but a distinction at grade 5 sounds promising. I'd also say that it's a really good thing that you know the basics of the piano as this helps when working in the bass clef and chordal writing in the compositions. The only problem I have is memorising all the information about the set pieces. At AS I had to learn all about Haydn's symphony 104 and about Baroque choral music. There's a lot of information to remember for these and it only increases when you get to A level.
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rose_berelowitz
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(Original post by lucyereade)
I'd say that voice would be enough for A level as you can record with just one instrument. However, when I decided to do music A level it was advised that you were already at a grade 6 standard. Luckily I was grade 8 but a distinction at grade 5 sounds promising. I'd also say that it's a really good thing that you know the basics of the piano as this helps when working in the bass clef and chordal writing in the compositions. The only problem I have is memorising all the information about the set pieces. At AS I had to learn all about Haydn's symphony 104 and about Baroque choral music. There's a lot of information to remember for these and it only increases when you get to A level.
thank you so much for all your help
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auburnstar
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Voice is fine and distinction at grade 5 is good also (that's what I started with at AS and I'm now Grade 7/8 standard)! Generally, the course is divided into 3 sections: performance, technical tasks/composition and a written exam. Performance shouldn't be an issue provided you can get some grade 6-7 level pieces up to excellent standard in a couple months (this is easier at A2 as you have the whole summer!!).

For my spec at least (idk about new spec) you can choose to do two technical tasks (chorale or counterpoint) or two compositions, or one of each. Technical tasks are easier in the sense that they are more prescriptive but it might be more difficult to get absolute top marks versus composition. However, the composition is more vaguely graded and often where people lose out significant marks (eg average A but composition a C/D) because of the disparity in teaching quality and the fact some centres "help out" their students a lot :eek: .

The written exam involves learning about the features of six instrumental set pieces and 5 applied music pieces (again at least for my spec). The applied music questions ask you about the style of the music and you give features with references to bar numbers/locations (two of those both out of 13). The instrumental question is a 3-three comparison so you compare say structure and harmony in [piece 1], [piece 2] and [piece 3], using comparative words (similarly, in contrast etc) and musical features with bar numbers/locations. The amount of info for the applied music isn't too bad and the essays for those are straightforward - the instrumental music has a lot of content to remember but the structure is also straightforward.
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