This course is designed for all teachers of Edexcel A level Music who wish to ensure the high achievements of their students in the set works assessment. By providing tried and tested teaching approaches and techniques, the course aims to help teachers raise attainment in students of all abilities and experience by improving confidence, knowledge and a stronger understanding of what examiners are looking for.

This course also offers teachers the chance to deepen their knowledge of the new set works and enrich their approaches to engaging students effectively and imaginatively in the detail of the music. A course with a different, broader perspective!

Delegates will need to bring their own anthologies.


  • Gain tactics for maximising student success and for growing their general musicianship
  • Take away new methods for explaining the set works and their musical context
  • Deepen your understanding of assessment objectives and mark schemes in light of the summer 2018 examination
  • Take away suggestions for alternative wider listening
  • Explore strategies for bridging the knowledge & analytical skills gap between GCSE and A level
COURSE DATE London Friday 19 October 2018
  • Heads of Music
  • Teachers of Edexcel A level Music
  • Teachers of A level Music looking to change boards
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
  • Two course restaurant lunch
  • Refreshments throughout the day
  • Guaranteed high quality venues



10.00 – 11.00am: Key Messages from the 2018 Examination

  • Key Themes from the Principal Examiner’s Report (successes and misunderstandings)
  • Integrating Feedback and Understanding the Remit of the Appraising Paper
  • AO3 and AO4 Explored and Common Errors

11.00 – 11.15am: Developing Students’ Skills

  • The Environment • Developing Vocabulary
  • Developing Analysis Skills
  • Developing Aural Skills
  • Contextual Information and General Knowledge
  • Writing Academically
  • Promoting Deep Understanding in the Set Works

11.15 – 11.30am: Discussion: coffee break


11.30 – 12.45pm: AoS1 and AoS2: Instrumental and Vocal Music

This, and the following sessions will explore each set work, focusing on:

  • Embedding historical and contextual awareness
  • Teaching ideas and useful resources
  • Key terminology
  • Relevant wider listening
  • Common errors and misunderstandings
  • Interconnections with the wider specification

12.45 – 1.30pm: Lunch and informal discussion


    1.30 – 2.30pm: AoS3 and AoS4: Music for Film and Fusions


    2.30 – 3.30pm: AoS5 and AoS6: Popular Music and New Directions


    3.30 – 4.00pm: Questions and Summary

    Alexander Aitken

    Alexander was Head of Academic Music and Choirmaster at Stowe School until December 2017, and is an A level examiner with Edexcel. He was on the review team for Edexcel’s GCSE Music textbook, having also written the analysis of Defying Gravity. A former organ scholar of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, he has been teaching for fifteen years (in some form or other). His unique, innovative and holistic teaching approach has consistently yielded excellent A level and GCSE results across all areas of the specifications. Now a freelance conductor, pianist, organist and teacher, he is also a Musical Director at the National Youth Music Theatre, and has composed the scores to numerous short films, which have premièred at both BAFTA and the London Film Academy. He holds Licentiate diplomas in piano performance from both the Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College London, and the Associate diploma in organ performance from the Royal College of Organists.

    View all courses led by Alexander Aitken >