A Level

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If you’re passionate about music and talented with an instrument, this is the course for you. You’ll study music creatively, practically and theoretically, with an emphasis on performing and composing.

This course balances coursework with examinations, and you’ll need to assist your classwork with instrument practice and independent study on your own compositions. Throughout the course, you’ll study a range of topics including Performing Music, Composing, Developing Musical Understanding and Composition and Technical Study. This is a dynamic course, as you’ll enjoy concerts, recitals, examinations and auditions throughout your study.

You’ll have to audition for this course so, while you don’t need a practical music grade, you’ll need to perform at around the standard of grade 5 on an instrument or voice.  Music theory is important too, and you should aim to be at grade 5 theory standard at the start of the course.

This course often progresses onto further music study at university or conservatoire and into employment that includes Teaching and Performing, Music, Music Theory and into the broadcast media.

A minimum of five GCSEs at grades A*-C, including English and Mathematics at grade 4 or above. You will be around grade 5 standard on an instrument and have passed GCSE Music (although this is not essential)and/or grade 5 Theory.

On this course you will study:

  • Performing music via weekly perfromance lessons in addition to your private lessons
  • Composing
  • Developing musical understanding through studying six areas of study – vocal music, instrumental music, music for film, pop music and jazz, fusions and new directions.

You will attend classes in composition, performance, listening, understanding and harmony. In addition, you will study rudiments. All students are expected to be in the College Choir.

Assessment is by final recital performance, coursework composition to a choice of brief given by the exam board and a written paper based on the six areas of study.

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South Downs is a really good College, and it is definitely somewhere you can achieve your dreams.

Yolanda Stemp, BTEC student

My experience at South Downs has been really good, it’s been really rewarding, all the lecturers were so lovely and supportive there’s no way I could have done it without them - the teaching has been outstanding.

Lucie Brooks, A Level student

Everyone at the College was really helpful, and there’s lots of facilities, meaning it’s very easy to get your work done on time, and get good grades. The teaching and support was excellent, they were always on top of it, and made sure you got work done on time and you were challenged. Everyone is friendly and its really diverse, meaning you can get involved in lots of different things.

Conor Ward, BTEC student


Exceptional performers can continue on to a music conservatoire course, or you may study for a degree in music or other subject at university. Typical careers include teaching and performing, music theory, music and the media.

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