Written by Alex Aitken (an A-level examiner, educator, and former Head of Music), Mastering A-level Music is a complete online resource for Edexcel’s current A-level Music specification, covering Performance, Composition, Chorales, Set Work Analyses and Essay Preparation.

Alex Aitken A Level Music Guide

Written for both students and teachers to use and work through together, the comprehensive subscription website supports students of all abilities as they navigate their way towards their final exams. Students and teachers receive one unique login for that school (or one login for an individual private student), that can be accessed anywhere. Designed to be one complete student-friendly resource, Mastering A-level Music is the result of Alex’s sustained efforts to make A-level Music infinitely more inspiring and interesting, both for those learning and those teaching. With nearly a thousand embedded audio tracks, YouTube clips and links to further resources, the website provides almost everything that students and teachers need to excel.

Created and honed over five and a half years, the full resource totals over 325,000 words of expert guidance and analysis on every aspect of the course, as well as embedded videos, explanations, clips of set work performances, links to other useful resources and practice essay questions.

The whole website is also fully audio described by Alex for those who find lots of text hard to read, or for students to use as a revision podcast in exam season. Everything is continually updated, so even whilst using it you’ll notice new helpful resources appearing. Mastering A-level Music is now used and trusted by teachers and students worldwide, and has quickly earnt a reputation for being the go-to resource for Edexcel A-level Music.

"Finally, an A-level music website which incorporates much-needed course insights in one place. Mastering A-level Music offers easy access to content, with support for students through detailed wider reading, research, set work commentaries, spoken audio material, and clear advice upon how to prepare the different course components. We plan to use this as both a preparation guide and as a revision tool in the future."
Georgie Robertson, Head of Expressive Arts/Head of Music, St Bartholomew's School
"Absolutely magnificent. Surely the most comprehensive guide to success in advanced music study. A one-stop-shop for the highest quality resources, meticulously put together and easy to navigate. This really is a work of genius!"
Sean Farrell, Assistant Director of Music (Academic), Wellington College
"An incredible website... every bit as exciting as I thought (and much more!)"
Lucy Morrell, Head of Academic Music, Dulwich College
"After attending several of Alex’s teacher training courses, and having him visit our department and work with our A-level pupils, the feedback has always been the same: amazing! His concept of 'this is two years of musicianship training plus an A-level in Music' appeals to me greatly. He has brought true meaning to the mark schemes and transformed the possibilities of the Edexcel Music A-level for me and my department. I am beyond thrilled that all this wisdom and guidance is now available on a beautifully laid out, pupil-friendly website. This is an outstanding resource for experienced Edexcel teachers, those that are teaching the course for the first time and, most importantly, the students. The Upper Sixth love it already!"
Clare Reavey, Head of Academic Music, Brighton College
"This website is a phenomenal resource; I can't imagine how long this has taken to put together. It's so thoughtfully laid out and clear for students to use, with an abundance of helpful tips towards achieving top marks."
Sophie Brack, Director of Music, Lingfield College
"Wow! What a phenomenally comprehensive resource – fantastic for students and teachers alike, with much more information, tips, tricks and resources than what is readily available anywhere else. Having attended two of Alex's training sessions, I can heartily recommend anything from him as fully backed up by practical results, fully researched, and clearly explained. The embedded content that goes beyond A-level is hugely helpful to any students who are considering Music at University, or in another Higher Education setting. Command words, exemplars, Wider Listening, and the personal touches of wit make this a must-have for anyone teaching or taking Edexcel A-level Music."
Marie-Claire Arthur, Director of Music, St Mary's Calne

Full access to the website provides:

A student-friendly overview of Edexcel’s A-level specification and what is required for the highest marks in each component.

Guidance on choosing recital repertoire, and practice tips and tricks that help conquer nerves, and help students to shine in their recital.

Summaries of the principal examiner’s reports for each year of the specification.

How examiners mark recitals and what they are looking for.

Ideas for approaching composition and boosting confidence, including guidance on researching briefs or creating your own.

Tips for planning and shaping your composition, and questions to keep considering.

Features of outstanding compositions and what examiners like to see.

Ideas and strategies for those that think they can’t compose.

Possibly the most comprehensive yet student-friendly guide to writing chorales in the style of JS Bach ever written.

Clear and concise explanations of voice leading, suspensions, principles of counterpoint and other stylistic features, explained engagingly and with audio examples.

Inspiring step-by-step explanations to help students add stylistic sparkle to chorales to make examiners bounce.

Audio examples of important ingredients of chorales, including cadences, bass lines and dissonance treatment.

How chorales are marked, and what examiners are looking for.

Thorough contextual exploration and full musical analysis of all set works and their musical worlds, with hundreds of embedded videos, often time-stamped, for students to explore (perfect also for cover lessons).

Suggested related Wider Listening examples and links to other useful resources.

Essay questions for all set works written by Alex, both of the type found on past papers, and more open style questions to push the most able students.

Subscribers receive one unique login per school (or per individual private student), which is used by both students and teachers, so everyone sees everything. There is no limit on the number of students or teachers that can use that login in that school, meaning that the resource costs the same no matter the number of students. And, because it’s a website, it can be accessed anywhere, including over school holidays, long bus trips, or unforseen surprise family holidays in the Maldives.

Each section is also audio described for the benefit of students who might struggle with reading text on screen, and the website’s design and colour scheme has been chosen to make it easier to read for those with dyslexia. Students can easily pause and replay the recordings of the text as they absorb the information.

 

To avoid sadness, the website does not include the anthology scores for copyright reasons.

In accordance with Pearson’s Examiners as Authors policy, whilst Alex is an A-level examiner with Edexcel, he is not on the senior team, has no access to confidential assessment materials, is not part of the team that write, develop, or have input on any assessment materials, and has no advanced knowledge of secure assessment materials in any given year. He is not involved in the development or production of future assessments, and this resource does not compromise the integrity or security of Pearson assessments for A-level Music. In fact Alex never sees each year’s paper until after it has been sat. Mastering A-level Music is separate to, and therefore not endorsed by, Pearson or Edexcel. Any information from the exam board has been taken from published resources, such as Principal Examiner reports, published mark schemes, or sample assessment materials. Otherwise, everything has been written by Alex for the benefit of students studying A-level Music, and their teachers. If you’ve got this far reading this, well done; celebrate with a biscuit, or a nap.

Tempted? Good! To get started, sign up for one of the subscription plans!