AS/ A Level Music Online Course

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Music AS and A Level Online Course
LIVE interactive weekly lessons with exceptionally qualified teachers!

The AQA AS and A Level Music qualification provides a contemporary, accessible, and creative education in music with an integrated approach to the three main elements – performing, composing, and appraising. The OCR GCSE Music qualification is designed to appeal to, and cater for a wide range of interests, instruments, personalities and directions. The specification offers a range of opportunities to study diverse and traditional fields, and encourages learners to experiment in their own performing, composing and listening as well as develop interest in and enthusiasm for all aspects of their musical heritage.

The AQA AS and A Level Music syllabus enables pupils to progress on to BA (Hons) courses at University and/or develop their skills as a performer or composer.

The TeacherS

Patrick Gazard: BA Hons, PGCE, LLCM, DipABRSM is a freelance musician and teacher who has been closely involved with music education for over 25 years. He is a former secondary school music teacher, including 12 years as Head of Music in a Performing Arts Specialist school, and has also been the Secondary Curriculum Excellence Advisor for Buckinghamshire. Patrick is a pianist, singer and percussionist, and is currently the Operational Lead for High Wycombe Music Centre, where he directs three groups: Senior Big Band, Junior Orchestra and Stage Voices. He has taught GCSE and A level music for many years and across a number of different boards both in schools and as a private tutor. He prides himself on his eclectic approach to music, being equally happy in Bach or Bacharach: his specialisms are jazz and musical theatre.

Patrick is an award-winning music education author having written three books, the most recent of which is ‘Being a Head of Music: a Survival Guide’ which was nominated for ‘Best Music Education Product’ at the Music Teacher Magazine Awards 2018. He is also a professional composer and
arranger, currently working for Glee Club UK as a vocal and track arranger.

Patrick is based in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and is married with two teenage children.

Jane Werry,  BA Hons, MA (Cantab), PGCE

Jane has taught music in secondary schools since 1993, and for the last 20 years has been Director of Music and a Specialist Leader in Education at a large secondary school in London. As well as school teaching, Jane has been a senior moderator for AS and A level harmony and composition. She is also Senior Trainer for Musical Futures, providing professional development for music teachers across the UK.

Writing credits include a Diary of a HoD (Head of Department), a bi-monthly column for Music Teacher Magazine, and regular items for the magazine’s online resource collection. Jane has co-written A level study guides and revision guides, and two books for music teachers: Teaching Music: Practical Strategies for KS3 and Being a Head of Music: a Survival Guide.

Jane also has a busy performing schedule as a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and actor.


Course Overview

  • Entry Requirements: 16 years or over. Must have studied music at GCSE or equivalent level. Must be able to play an instrument with a degree of confidence (intermediate to advanced level – Grade 6 preferably).
  • Duration: 2 years typically but can be extended for additional annual fee: available all year around – enrolling now. One year Intensive course available to capable musicians who have studied AS music or similar course before (same fee as two year course).
  • Requirements: broadband connection / Instrument or other means of performance (sequencer, decks, etc.). Means of recording performances (the recording function on smart phones/tablets should suffice but a microphone or recording device would be even better). Means of recording composition e.g. manuscript paper, music software (notation software / DAW / sequencer, etc.), audio recording accompanied by written account
  • Progression: to BA Hons Degree in Music at University
  • Accreditation:  Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (OCR).
  • Tuition: Weekly online classes in small groups or self-paced tutor supported option

How It Works

Students attend weekly LIVE interactive music classes with a qualified and experienced teacher. All lessons are video-recorded and provide an invaluable resource for revision and catch up. Additionally, students receive access to their own online studio where they can work through their course. Units and assignments are listed along with supporting resources, video tutorials for skills development, step by step guides etc. Audio, video and Word files of students’ completed work are uploaded to their college e portfolio for assessment and constructive, friendly written feedback on how to progress. Additionally students are invited to attend optional LIVE interactive online lessons at timetabled times. If students can’t make the lessons they can watch them in their own time so they won’t miss any of the course content. The fully qualified and experienced school music teacher is available for feedback via email and messager. Students are invited to discuss their progress and receive face to face verbal feedback, encouragement and support. Students may also benefit from relationships with their fellow online students as they can view profiles and comment on each others’ art work if they wish.


Homework will be given each lesson, and will usually consist of music analysis, composition, and performance practice.


Teacher assessments are continuous during LIVE TAUGHT lessons, monitoring and marking of non-exam assessments, and summative tests.


Parents and students have 24/7 access to all coursework and teacher grades and feedback. Additionally, the school holds 3 optional parent consultations per year – one each term.

Structure Of The Course

The course will follow the current AQA AS and A Level specification.

The course will be based on the textbook recommended for the AQA AS and A Level – see below.

This specification is well-regarded among colleges and universities due to its integrated structure allowing learners to grasp the interconnection of all aspects of Music practice and appreciation, and thereby giving a firm basis from which to springboard into A-level and beyond.

Two compositions are required – one of the candidate’s own choice and another to a brief released by the exam board on September 1st of the year the candidate is to take their assessment. Compositions need to be submitted as a recording accompanied by a score, lead sheet, or written
account. This recording can be done live (carried out by the student and accompanied by other musicians if necessary, who do not need to be following the course) or electronically produced (for which there is plenty of free or cheap software available).

Performances must total a minimum of 4 minutes including at least 1 minute of ensemble work. Ideally, students study these pieces with their instrumental teachers with guidance by their GCSE music teacher on piece selection. For those students without teachers, we are able and happy to
provide instruction on performance throughout the course, including regular assessments. All students need to be aware that they will be responsible for finding someone else to perform alongside for the ensemble aspect of the course. This should not be a major issue as instrumental
teachers often have other students who could participate in a duo/ trio or the teachers themselves can perform with the candidates (the other performers in the ensemble need not be GCSE candidates). Alternatively, candidates could find people to perform with through their local music
centre or even through advertising online.

To ensure all the submitted exam performances are the candidates’ own, the teacher will observe over Skype whilst they are recording their performance. Listening and Appraising

Within classes, students will learn how to aurally analyse each of the musical elements and compositional devices listed within the specification. To help expand the number of pieces studied, students would then apply such analysis to different pieces within the same Area of Study. Allowing
for peer review, the teacher may ask students to mark each other's work, which would also ensure they are encountering a greater number of pieces.

Homework will be given most lessons, and much of it will be further listening in addition to musical analysis, composition, and performance practice.

Teacher assessments are continuous during the live taught lessons, monitoring and marking of non-exam assessments, and summative tests. Both performance and composition are non-examined assessments. (The teacher has confirmed with AQA that it is acceptable for him to carry out these assessments and sign the authentication forms). The listening and appraising component is externally assessed at the end of the course and thus will need to take place at a centre.

Course Units:

AS Units

Unit 1: Performing Music 1 120 marks AQA -assessed Practical Examination (visiting examiner)

Section A: Recital: solo (maximum 8 minutes) 60 marks

Section B: Discussion (Viva voce) (approximately 5 minutes) 20 marks

Section C: Further Performing: one of

• performing on a second instrument (maximum 4 minutes)

• further performance on the recital instrument in an ensemble or duet or as an accompaniment (maximum 4 minutes)

• performing own composition (maximum 4 minutes)

• improvisation (maximum 2 minutes plus 10 minutes preparation time). 40 marks

Unit 2: Composing 1 90 marks Teacher-assessed portfolio

Section A: The Language of Western Tonal Harmony: exercises (maximum seven) 45 marks

Section B: Instrumental Techniques (maximum length 3 minutes). 45 marks

Unit 3: Introduction to Historical Study in Music 90 marks Timed Examination Paper (1 hour 45 minutes + 15 minutes preparation time)

Section A: Aural Extract: one of • solo instrumental chamber or orchestral repertoire from the period 1700 to 1830 • popular instrumental music from 1900 to the present day 30 marks

Section B: Prescribed Works: two extracts • 18th/early 19th century Orchestra • Jazz 1920 to 1960. 40 marks

Section C: Contextual Awareness: one question from three 20 marks 10

A2 Units

Unit 4: Performing Music 2 (Interpretation) 120 marks OCR-assessed Practical Examination (visiting examiner)

Section A: Recital: solo, ensemble or accompanying (maximum 15 minutes) 100 marks Section B: Viva voce: interpretative understanding (approximately 5 minutes) 20 marks

Unit 5: Composing 2 90 marks Teacher-assessed portfolio

Section A: Stylistic Techniques: exercises (maximum 8) based on one of: • two-part counterpoint of the late 16th century

• two-part Baroque counterpoint • chorale harmonisations in the style of J.S. Bach

• string quartets in the Classical style

• keyboard accompaniments in early Romantic style

• popular song

• serialism

• minimalism

45 marks

Section B: Composition: one of:

• vocal setting of a text (maximum 120 words or 4 stanzas)

• instrumental interpretation of a programme (maximum 4 minutes)

• music for film/TV (maximum 4 minutes) 45 marks

Unit 6: Historical and Analytical Studies in Music 90 marks Timed Examination Paper (1 hour 45 minutes + 15 minutes preparation time)

Section A: Aural extract: accompanied vocal music 1900 to 1945 40 marks

Section B: Historical Topics: two questions from three on one of six topics:

• Song

• Programme Music

• Music for Screen

• Music and Belief

• Music for the Stage

• Post-1945 Popular Music. 50 marks

Download Syllabus – Here
Recommended textbook
Huw Ellis-Williams, Maria Johnson & Susan Roberts. OCR AS and A Level Music Study Guide. Rhinegold Education, 2017 – ISBN: 9781785581625.



£1999 GBP / approx. $2900 USD – Monthly payment plan available – £99 GBP over 20 months.

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