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Course aims

The course aims to develop candidate’s knowledge of a range of musical styles, both classical and popular. Candidates will also progress their knowledge of music theory and put this into practice in compositions and analysis.

Furthermore core skills of analysis, self-discipline, essay writing, focus and creativity form a large part of study.

Entry requirements

Grade 5 standard in an instrument is required as a minimum in the first year, rising to a minimum of grade 7 in the second year.

A qualification in music is required such as grade 6 in GCSE, a distinction in BTEC level 2 (where music theory has been an element) or grade 5 in music theory.

Candidates will also be required to write essays as part of musical analysis so a grade 5 in English will be required, in addition to the general entry requirements.

Course content


Learners will study and analyse a variety of styles of music throughout the course. In the first year you will look at baroque concertos, classical opera and a variety of popular music (from Steve Wonder to Beyoncé and Daft Punk). In the second year you will study romantic piano music and jazz.


In this unit learners will develop their ability as a solo performer by improving their style of practice and building confidence when performing in front of others. It is highly recommended that learners take lessons outside of college.


Here learners will learn how to complete a Bach chorale technical exercise effectively, by developing their knowledge of music theory (specifically harmony). This leads into free composition where learners can develop their own personal style of writing.

Course assessment

The course is assessed by a combination of coursework, both composition and performance based, and an exam at the end of the year. Throughout the year progress will be checked by regular test, essays, theory worksheets as well as short performances.


You are required to bring your own instrument to lessons when requested to do so and purchase your own pieces to perform.

It is recommended that learners brush up on their music theory and we recommend The AB Guide to Music Theory (Parts 1 and 2) by Eric Taylor as a good starting point, although other music theory books will suffice. Grade 5 theory is the desired level.

Alongside this background reading on the history of western classical music would be beneficial such as The Story of Music by Howard Goodall or A Concise History of Western Music by Paul Griffiths.

Further textbooks to be advised by tutor during study.


Many of our learners progress onto Higher Education music courses, we currently have alumni studying at Keele University, Birmingham Conservatoire and the University of Wolverhampton.

However the core skills taught throughout the course would benefit anyone wanting to go to university.


0800 783 6095