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The three main components of the course are Performing, Composing (both coursework and worth 30% each), and Listening/Analysing (examined and worth 40%).

Pupils submit two recordings for their Performing: one solo, and one ensemble (typically a duet); these can be on an instrument or voice.

The Composition component is taught in academic lesson time and there is no necessity for any composing experience prior to taking the course.

The Listening/Analysing component is taught through four set Areas of Study, (Classical Music to 1910; Popular Music; Traditional Music; and Classical Music since 1910), and includes a number of set works.