At GCSE music contains, both practical and theoretical components. Students will be expected to listen to, perform and compose pieces of music on the practical side.
Read 'GCSE Music' for the full guide to this subject at GCSE.
Why Study Music?
There are various A level music courses set by a plethora of exam boards. Whilst they tend to differ on a number of levels there are elements that are at least similar in each course. The mainstay of A level harmony is harmonisation of chorale melodies in the style of Bach, though this is not always compulsory. This standard musical task requires an elementary understanding of voice-leading principles, tonality, cadence, and idiomatic style. Most A level courses will also require students to present compositions (for a variety of instruments and often in traditional forms) as well as performance (at approximately Grade VIII ABRSM standard; slightly below this for AS, roughly Grade VI). Further to this, there are generally historical (art music), analytic, and aural components to the course.
The Rhinegold listening books are really helpful. They're in the style of the actual exams (Edexcel), and have answers at the back as well.