This NEW course, for all teachers of A Level Music, will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve Grades A & A* in future A level exams. Led by our highly respected and successful presenter Andrew Williams the course will demonstrate teaching and learning ideas for all three components which will stretch and challenge able students and develop their higher level skills. Using feedback from 2019’s examination, the course will outline what is expected of high ability students and explore ways to build your teaching practice around this. This course is broadly based on the Edexcel specification, but will be of benefit to teachers teaching all major exam boards.


  • Focused on identifying the demands of Grades A & A* and providing approaches and techniques to help teachers prepare students effectively
  • Help to ensure your good students do attain the top grades they can achieve
  • A detailed look at the different demands of questions in the Listening and Appraising sections
  • Gain strategies and techniques for developing high level skills and techniques for outstanding compositions
  • Mark schemes will be analysed to identify and clarify the requirements of the highest levels
  • Sample answers at Grades A & A* will be discussed and marked
  • Materials will be provided that will allow teachers  to cover the content effectively in innovative and student-friendly ways that push the highest ability students
COURSE DATE Online | Monday 21 June 2021
  • All teachers of A-Level Music
  • Heads of Music
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


10.00 – 10.40am
Grades A & A*: what do they involve?

  • Reviewing the skills required to achieve an A or A* grade in the new A Level specifications
  • Feedback and grading analysis from the 2019 papers: What does this tells us about the standards that our top students are expected to meet?
  • Grades A & A*: what are the differences between these?
  • Key attributes of Grade A & A* students in the classroom

10.40 – 11.20am
Preparing for an A*/A Performance

  • What makes an A*/ A performance at A Level?
  • Avoiding potential hazards: what can cost an able student their A grade in the performance component?
  • Analysis of mark schemes – what are the examiners listening for?
  • Exploring performance in the classroom to prepare for success: both on and off instrument


11.40 – 12.40pm
Teaching Appraising: key challenges for A/A* students

  • Analysing listening questions: where is an A/A* achieved or lost?
  • Building vocabulary and developing skills for short answer responses
  • Tackling harmonic analysis: developing the aural skills needed to identify more complex progressions and chromatic chords
  • Stretching able students with your choice of wider listening
  • Teaching and learning ideas to ensure top level students succeed in the listening questions

12.40 – 1.40pm


1:40 – 2:40pm
Teaching The Set Works: stretching and challenging able students

  • Deep analysis and examination of the set works – using who?/why?/impact? Questions to push students
  •  Methods and practical strategies to help students apply acquired knowledge to unfamiliar music
  •  Engaging and interesting ways of building students up to unfamiliar music questions
  • What makes a strong A level set works essay response? How can we build up to this?
  • Working to the A*/A standard: reviewing and marking specimen answers.
  • Moving on from GCSE approaches: using wider listening to prepare for and complement prescribed works


2.45 – 3.40pm
Teaching Composition and Compositional Techniques: key challenges for Grade A/A* students

  • Developing high level skills and techniques for outstanding compositions
  • Achieving compositions with a convincing sense of wholeness
  • Appraising compositions, meeting mark schemes
  • Focus on the key features of an A*/A composition
  • Teaching inspiring harmony lessons that provide opportunities to stretch your top students
  • Composing approaches and teachings ideas that will inspire your top students

Andrew Williams

Andrew Williams is currently Head of Aural and Musicianship at the RCM Junior Department, and teaches at the Purcell School, where he works with all 80 A level music students, teaching harmony, listening and analysis. Each year, his students achieve some of the highest grades in the country and go on to study Music at both conservatoires and universities.

View all courses led by Andrew Williams >