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Can you do music A Level if you haven't done Music GCSE?

(14 Posts)
PhyllisDoris Fri 19-Oct-12 22:04:33

DS (15) has discovered her musical side since starting her GCSEs. She's at the point where she's going to have to make A Level choices in the next few months (staying in school for 6th firm), and wants a career that has something to do with music, but didn't do the GCSE. She plays several instruments quite well.
Any music teachers here who can advise?

misstrunchball Fri 19-Oct-12 22:15:07

I have just looked at my DD1's school application form and it doesn't say you need to have done the GCSE to take Music A-Level.

I imagine it would have helped to do music GCSE but maybe talk to the schools music department to find out.

pinkteddy Fri 19-Oct-12 22:20:33

Has she done any music theory exams? Otherwise I think she will really struggle.

Ponders Fri 19-Oct-12 22:21:52

has she done Grades? what level is she at? & has she done Grade V theory? that seems to be the key to all higher level achievement

PhyllisDoris Fri 19-Oct-12 22:25:22

She's done grade 5 theory, and is working on grade 6 piano and grade 5 sax (jazz syllabus). She's also taught herself bass and electric guitar to quite a good standard.
We have a 6th form open evening in Nov, and I will ask then - just thinking ahead at the moment.

circular Fri 19-Oct-12 22:25:47

Most we have seen ask for Grade 5 Theory if no Music GCSE.
Also Grade 5 or 6 practical advisable.

Ponders Fri 19-Oct-12 22:40:52

oh well, with Grade V theory & sax (presumably by next autumn?) & Grade VI piano plus the guitars she should be OK smile

PhyllisDoris Sat 20-Oct-12 00:04:04

Thanks ponders et al. I hope she can. She's really keen and prepared to do some catch up work. Will talk to teachers.

Hornplayinggirl Sat 20-Oct-12 08:41:55

Hi there,

I am a Music teacher who teaches both GCSE and A-level Music. If we had a student wanting to take A level with out the GCSE then we would look at their theory and practical standard. Grade 5 theory would stand her in good stead and AS Music requires a Grade 6 performance standard, with A2 being Grade 7. As long as the student shows commitment to the department (usually through exta-curricular activities) and were aware that they maybe a little behind other students who had done the GCSE then we would let the student take A level at my school. It would be completely down to the department though.

To be honest GCSE doesn't really prepared a student for A level Music (as my new yeear 12's have now discovered!) A higher level of theory and practical ability is better preperation.

Hope that helps!

Sympathique Sat 20-Oct-12 09:04:51

Don't know this is needed given the expert op above, but hey ho. DC was in same position and went on to do Music at higher level.

1. Obviously, as your DD is doing, check school will wear it.

2. Check gaps between GCSE syllabus school does and what she knows (e.g. DD found that lack of compositiion experience haunted her to A level and beyond). Try and plug the gaps before she starts next Sept. Consider working towards higher grade theory exams (good back up to A level anyway if she's going to continue)

3. If one of her instruments isn't piano/keyboard, consider starting it with serious intent.

With no GCSE behind them grade at AS matters all the more, but doesn't seem to stop universities/colleges giving offers

Sympathique Sat 20-Oct-12 09:05:56

Oops just seen Gr 6 piano - easily good enough!

PhyllisDoris Sat 20-Oct-12 19:38:08

Thanks Sympathique and Hornplayinggirl. That's very encouraging.

Moominmammacat Sun 21-Oct-12 08:59:55

The only thing she might not have covered is composition so she could try doing a few pieces to see how she gets on. Theory is route to health and happiness.

PhyllisDoris Tue 23-Oct-12 14:13:11

The composition element is putting her off - but my argument with her is that she's doing a lot of improv with the sax (is following the jazz syllabus), and also composing pieces for her band in the "rock school" she goes to - so it won't be a huge step up. She'd have to write everything down using conventional music notation (ie not just guitar chords etc) - but she at least has the ideas.
6th form open eve coming up in a few weeks, so will collar the music teacher!

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