GCSE & A LEVEL
We offer face-to-face and online (via Skype) GCSE and A level music tuition and can facilitate private GCSE and A level exam entry for students able to fulfil the non-examined-assessment requirements. The NEA basically involves being able to attend a private exam centre in Hampshire, UK. One trip for the exam itself and two further trips for composition in centre. The assessor must also be present for the recordings of performances.
Perhaps these national qualifications are not offered at your school or college or you are an advanced musician who would prefer to take these qualifications earlier privately as an extra subject? Perhaps you are home-educated or a mature student wanting to learn new skills or add to your portfolio of formal qualifications? Both courses involve music performance and the standard expected for GCSE is grade 4/5 and A level is grades 6-8.
We use the Edexcel specification for GCSE and AQA for A level.
Edexcel GCSE Music
Why Edexcel? This is a specification that prepares students thoroughly for A level music through the study of set works. It rewards able instrumentalists and singers significantly for submitting Grade 5 performances, unlike some other specifications. For example, a raw mark of 20/24 gets bumped up to 30/30. It is therefore common for advanced musicians to gain full marks for performances with Edexcel. The structured course suits independent learners.
AQA A Level Music
Why AQA? There are several reasons we no longer continue with Edexcel for A level and made the switch to AQA.
The main reason is students enjoy AQA more than Edexcel.
AQA suits our advanced instrumentalists and singers with 35% performance. Presenting Grade 8 material students are automatically awarded 5/5 for ambition of project. Grade 7 material would be 4/5, Grade 6 3/5 and so on. Therefore it is clear presenting Grade 6 material is just a two mark deduction.
AQA has some wonderful set works. For detailed analysis we cover Purcell (three short movements), Vivaldi (three relatively short movements) and Bach (three more substantial movements). Then Romantic piano music and Chopin (two works), Brahms (two works) and Grieg (two works). In total fifteen movements. Edexcel have 50 plus set work movements and we find this impacts on the quality of learning and in fact the delivery because everything can end up being very rushed. With 50 plus set works there is no time to get into the detail and gain a more in depth understanding. All exam boards thereafter have further wider listening on top.
AQA composition involves two submissions completed as coursework with sufficient direct supervision. We deal with many home-educated private students, therefore this suits our situation best. We generally advice the Bach Chorale and a free composition. Edexcel require completion of technical studies (i.e. Bach Chorale and Figured Bass etc) under exam/controlled conditions, plus a free composition.
AQA is a specification that prepares students fully for further study or is an excellent facilitating subject students will enjoy. It allows musicians to develop their skills and gain a really in depth understanding of the subject with an interesting and manageable selection of set work movements for detailed analysis.
Other exam boards
Additionally we can support the composition and Bach Chorale requirements for all specifications.