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AQA A-Level Music: Achieving Success In The Appraising Paper

Course Code:


This course is designed for teachers looking to raise student attainment levels in listening, appraising, and extended analytical writing. The focus of the day will be on the AQA listening paper. You will explore what the key skills are that students need to develop in order to work sections A, B and C effectively, how to help students to develop strategies to respond to questions on set works and unprepared extract and how to give them the contextual knowledge needed to effectively respond to wider listening.


  • Gain an ‘insider knowledge’ into what examiners are looking for in successful responses to the A and B section questions
  • Explore the key skills students will need to be successful in their listening, including programmes of work to help them develop these skills
  • Develop strategies to help weaker students improve their marks and stretch the most able students
  • Discover creative ways of incorporating wider repertoire into your teaching
  • Explore the ‘key themes’ of Area of Study 1 repertoire
  • Gain a portfolio of resources to help with your own teaching and planning
  • Consider the different types of question in Section C and use these to build schemes of work


Listening and appraising: Key Skills and Achievement Levels

10.00 – 10.30am
  • Examiner feedback from recent examinations – and key considerations for future exams
  • Considering the questions – how can we use this to create a list of ‘core skills’ that students need to succeed?
  • Providing context – how wider listening can help students to appreciate key features and develop strategies for working the questions
  • Moving towards top band essay writing – what skills are needed and what areas need most improvement?

Section A: Tackling the Short Listening questions

10.30 – 11.15am
  • Exploring the skillset required for success in the short listening questions
  • Understanding harmony – approaches to building harmonic vocabulary
  • Technical vocabulary – applying it accurately l Creating contextual appreciation

Morning break

11.15 – 11.30am

Section A: Approaching the Unfamiliar Listening Question

12.00 – 12.45pm
  • Studying modulations in Bach chorales
  • Identifying modulations from analysis of the chorale melody alone
  • Managing modulations in a complete


12.45- 1.45pm

Using chromatic chords effectively

11.30 – 12.15pm
  • Preparing students to tackle the different types of questions in this Area of Study
  • Providing students with a ‘framework’ for their listening
  • Exploring student responses, applying the marking criteria l Stretching the more able students – what is required for top band marks?

The B Section Analysis Question – Exploring Contextual Angles

12.15 – 1.00pm
  • Techniques for guiding students tackling Section B questions most effectively
  • Examining the key challenges for students and exploring ways of overcoming these
  • Exploring the idea of ‘typicality’
  • Question types and typical ‘themes’ – developing key points of focus for each strand and using these to guide students


1.00 – 2.00pm

The longer Section B analysis questions

2.00 – 2.45pm
  • Analysing typical questions types – practical teaching methods and approaches to help students apply and demonstrate their knowledge, critical thinking, analysis appropriately
  • Preparing students for answering analysis questions in the three different strands – what are the different approaches needed for success?
  • What is the examiner looking to see? Creating a detailed analytical response to an extract

Section C: Preparing For The Essay

2.45 – 3.15pm
  • Examining the wider context of each area
  • Considering the different types of question that are typical for each area of study
  • Selecting repertoire

Engaging with the question – how to build effective responses and prepare students for exam success

3.15 – 3.45pm
  • Deconstructing essay questions l Writing about music analytically – building technical vocabulary and applying it to chosen works
  • Guiding students in preparing repertoire and examples to support particular questions and arguments
  • Constructing a coherent essay plan – techniques and strategies for structured writing
  • Considering top band essays – examples and discussion
Afternoon Tea will be provided during the afternoon


London | Monday 13 November 2023

Please select your preferred date

London | Monday 13 November 2023

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


Sarah Murphy is currently a teacher of academic music at Chetham’s School of Music, where she works with A-Level students teaching harmony, composition and analysis. She is also responsible for preparing A-Level students for Oxbridge interviews and for higher level study in the form of the AMusTCL examination.


  • Teachers of the AQA specification at Music A level
  • Teachers of A-Level Music of other exam boards
  • Heads of Music
  • Heads of Performing Arts


  • A Specially prepared notes, practical advice and guidance by the course leader
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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