This course, designed for teachers of all A level Music specifications, will demonstrate how to guide your students to achieve Grades A & A* for their choral harmonisations. Led by our highly respected and experienced presenter Miranda Francis, the course will demonstrate teaching and learning ideas which will stretch and challenge your students and develop their higher level skills. The course provides the opportunity to further explore the ideas and principles introduced in Miranda’s other Bach course: Bach to the Future – Again! By exploring sample assessment materials, mark schemes and current examiners’ reports, you will gain significant insight into what the examiners are really looking for…


  • Gain top tips to help your students create idiomatic Bach Chorales
  • Increase your knowledge and understanding of what the examiners are looking for
  • Discover the answers to the most challenging questions our students ask about Bach chorales
  • Sample chorales at Grades A & A* will be discussed and marked
DATES & LOCATION Online | Monday 14 June 2021
  • Heads of Music
  • Teachers of A Level Music
  • Tutors and teachers preparing students in Bach harmonisations
  • Teachers keen to revise their harmonic knowledge
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 – 11.30 am: What are the examiners’ looking for?

  • What are the characteristics of an A/A* Chorale?
  • Understanding the mark scheme and creating a chorale checklist
  • Analysing and marking specimen materials in detail
  • Exploring multiple harmonisations of a Bach chorale for inspiration and insight

11.30 – 11.45am: Discussion: coffee break

11.45 – 12.25pm: Creating an outstanding chorale harmonisation

  • Understanding the tonal context
  • Choosing the right chords at the right time – Bach’s harmonic style explained
  • Analysing the chorale melody in detail to maximise musical opportunities
  • Identifying the opportunity to modulate within each phrase – and making it happen!
  • Identifying and using cadential fomulae

12.25 – 1.00pm: Idiomatic Part Writing

  • Using passing notes and auxiliary notes to create elegant melodic lines
  • Understanding dissonance and creating harmonic tension
  • Introducing suspensions
  • Creating a flowing bass line to balance the soprano

1.00 – 2.00pm: Lunch and informal discussion

2.00 – 3.00pm: Advanced harmonic language

  • Identifying opportunities to use chromatic chords
  • Incorporating diminished chords to maximise marks
  • Identifying opportunities for passing chromaticism
  • Including secondary dominant chords

3.00 – 3.15pm: Discussion: afternoon tea

3.15 – 4.00pm:  The last word…

  • Making a good chorale ‘outstanding’ – the refining process
  • Considering the text…even though it not provided!
  • Choosing the tempo
  • Managing the assessment to maximise success

Miranda Francis

Miranda Francis is currently Director of the Junior Department at the RCM, where she also leads the aural training programme. Highly popular as a course leader, she is also an experienced teacher and examiner.