Useful resources for Year 11 students

Music (A Level)

Welcome to the resources to help prepare you for your further study of Music A Level at Runshaw College. We are very much looking forward to seeing you at enrolment and for you to start the course with us in September.

In Year 1 we cover three areas:

  • Performance
  • Composition
  • Listening and Appraising

In these preparation resources, you will be completing some tasks to provide you with a wider understanding of the topics that you will study with us. We’ll ask you to do some active listening, thinking about what you can hear and how the sounds are created. You’ll do some research into a particular style of music and then write (and even perform) your own music.

If you have any questions about studying Music, then please contact Lucy Myers here.

Area of Study 1 – Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven

The Classical Era is a highly expressive time in musical history between 1750 and 1820. The three main composers of the time, Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven led very different lifestyles, but had much in common in the way that they composed their music.

STEP ONE: Listen to Mozart’s Quintet in Eb major for piano, oboe, horn and bassoon and follow along on the score. Make notes about what you hear and think about the key and mood of each movement. For the A Level course, we only study the second and third movements, but it is good practice to understand the full work. The second movement begins at 10 minutes 11 seconds and the third movement at 19 minutes and 47 seconds.

Conduct research – how was this piece made? Where did Mozart draw his inspiration from and which musical devices did he use? The more you find out, the easier you will find the next stage.

STEP TWO: Download MuseScore and watch the tutorials to help you get to know the software. Now it’s your turn to write a piece of music in the style of Mozart. You can keep it simple and write for the instrument you play, or be ambitious and try writing for more instruments. Don’t be afraid to try out ideas. It doesn’t matter if your music doesn’t sound great to start with. The more you get to know the software, the easier you will find composing next year.

Area of Study 2 – Popular Song: Blues, Jazz, Swing and Big Band

This area of study covers a very specific range of vocal jazz music from around 1910 to 1940, although we do look at earlier influences.

STEP ONE: Listen to four songs by Billie Holiday  Don’t Explain   |    Good Morning Heartache   |     Solitude    |    Them There Eyes

These are taken from the album Billie Holiday: The Complete Decca Recordings. Make notes about the instruments that you hear, how they are used and any other interesting features that you notice about the music or vocals. Think about the structure of the songs and how the music reflects the meaning of the lyrics.

Conduct some research for Billie Holiday – who is she? When was she performing and recording music? What style did she capture in her recordings? How did she become famous?

STEP TWO: Have a go at composing a jazz style piece, using MuseScore. This can be for instruments only or include vocals.

Music Theory

This plays a critical role in the study of A Level Music and many Universities and Conservatoires require a minimum Grade 5 standard as part of their entry requirements. At Runshaw, we will help you achieve your ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory qualification if you do not already have this on your arrival at college. Some websites that provide free useful resources are: