A future less ordinary



Our Subject

To take Music at Bilborough Sixth Form College you must have strong performing skills at or above Grade 5. ABRSM, Trinity and Rockschool grades are all acceptable. If you have not taken formal graded exams, but can confidently perform to a Grade 5 level, you are welcome to participate on the course. An understanding of music theory is also essential. The course demands performing, composing, listening and analytical skills in almost equal measure. You will listen to a wide variety of music and develop a more informed appreciation of how and why it was written and performed. All our Music students are expected to take an active role in the musical life of the college, getting involved in concerts, productions and ensembles.

To study Music at Bilborough, you need a minimum grade C/4 or above in English GCSE, and if you have taken Music at GCSE, a minimum grade C/4 in that subject.  You will also need performance skills at at least grade 5 level or the equivalent level of experience.  You should ideally have a grade 5 standard in Music Theory too or have the equivalent experience.


Our links with HE

Some of our students opt to take both Music and Music Technology. This is a sensible choice for able students who intend to continue studying music in higher education, although you are always well advised to consult the specific entry requirements of individual universities. If in doubt, please ask us. An A-level in Music can lead to further study in Music, Music Technology or Performing Arts at Higher National or degree level. It may also help you on your way to a career in the music industry. Musically gifted students can also progress to performance-based courses at music conservatoires after their time at Bilborough.

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.
Victor Hugo

Course Structure

Some of the information here comes from Edexcel’s student guides. These, together with the full specifications, are available from the Edexcel website. In your first (AS) year you will take three modules: ‘Performing’, ‘Composing’ and ‘Developing Musical Understanding’. For the performance unit you can play any musical instrument or you can sing. You will take part in ensemble performances as well as performing solo, and be assessed through recordings of your performances. For the composition module you will learn the craft of composing, developing musical ideas in the form of a three-minute original composition in response to a brief. Finally, ‘Developing Musical Understanding’ tests your growing ability to understand set musical works and develop your analytical and listening skills.

If you decide to continue with the full A-level you will take three further units. You will be expected to continue performing during the second year of the course and work on original compositions and compositional exercises. You will perform a short public recital and offer a portfolio of composition work. You will take a written paper on ‘Musical Understanding’, similar to the AS paper but with more demanding questions.


Bilborough Sixth Form College’s gifted musicians have won places at the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music & Dance, the Royal Northern College of Music, Birmingham Conservatoire, Leeds College of Music, the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts. Our students have also progressed to Music degrees at Oxbridge, the University of York, Durham University, the University of Nottingham, the University of Leeds and the University of Sheffield.

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