What topics are Covered?

Performing – Composition – Historical Study (to include Western classical music – 1700 to present day, Jazz and musical theatre).

Why study music at SGS?

The A-Level course enables our pupils to study varied musical genres in depth, whilst continuing to develop their performing and composing skills. Studying music at Stafford Grammar School also affords pupils the opportunity to be taught by one of our experienced instrumental staff and competing in our annual Music Festival. In addition to this pupils perform with our highly respected ensembles that regularly perform in concerts in school, around the county of Staffordshire and even on foreign tours.

What skills will I gain from studying the subject?

As all three components (performing, composing and historical study) are assessed, it allows pupils to gain more experience in their favourite discipline at a much deeper level and explore areas of the subject that may have previously gone undiscovered at GCSE. From harmonising melodies and writing for large ensemble, to in-depth harmonic analysis and contextual study, a variety of skills are developed. There is also a strong emphasis on performance and pupils are expected to develop their performance practice improving their stage presence and awareness of period performance as much as their own technical capabilities.

What career paths would this subject be suitable for?

Music A-Level is particularly suitable for those who wish to go into Music performance, teaching or composing. It is also suitable to therapists, dramatists and primary school teachers. It should also be noted that Universities admire the skills that are developed through studying music. The discipline, dedication and ability to work as part of a team are skills which are beneficial in all careers.

What trips occur during the course?

Sixth Form students have attended concerts including trips to orchestral concerts, the Opera, and Musical Theatre. The department also have strong links with professional orchestras and theatres and often secure opportunities for students to “sit in” on rehearsals or performances with musicians in professional ensembles.

Outside Guests and Speakers?

Our annual music festival is adjudicated by well known musicians and over the last few years we have had Alan Thomas (Principal Trumpet of City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra) and Chris Gumbley (Jazz Saxophonist, Professor of Saxophone at Birmingham Conservatoire, Composer for ABRSM Examination Syllabus). We also invite professional musicians in to play with our A-Level musicians for their recital (if appropriate) and give our pupils the invaluable opportunity to do a mock examination with an OCR examiner every year.

Frequently asked questions:

What grade do I need to be?

In order to access the upper marks in the Performance element you need to perform to approximately Grade 7 standard.

Do I need to have done GCSE music?

Whilst it will be an advantage, it is not a necessity. If you have considerable musical experience and have passed Grade 5 theory of music you should cope with the demands of A-Level Music.