Music Technology A Level
Why choose Music Technology?
Music Technology will appeal to students who have an interest in how professional music is written and produced, how recording studios work and how to gain employment working within the music industry. The course is grounded in Popular Music covering all styles from Rock and Soul to EDM and Commercial Pop.
A minimum of 4 subjects at grade 5 or above at GCSE plus English Language at grade 4 or above.
Additionally, it would be beneficial if you could play an instrument (or voice) to a competent standard and have a keen interest in how music is recorded and produced. Basic keyboard skills are also strongly encouraged but no official grades are necessary.
What will I study?
The course follows several areas of study which are assessed through coursework projects, practical and written exam questions.
Main areas of focus:
- Operating a professional recording studio and learning all associated techniques
- Capturing, producing and mixing recordings
- Composing with music technology
- Sampling, synthesis and effects
- The principles of sound and audio technology
- The development of popular music styles
- The history and development of recording and production technology
Method of delivery
You will typically be in College four days per week, with lesson style varying according to subject. In-College delivery is supported by online resources, and students develop strong independent learning skills to equip them for their next steps.
How will I be assessed?
Students will learn to use a professional level recording studio to capture audio, learning how to use a range of microphones and capture techniques, use processing techniques effectively to produce a balanced final mix and develop competence as a music producer and sound engineer.
Technology Based Composition (20%)
Students will develop skills in creating, editing and structuring sounds with increased sensitivity and control to develop a technology-based composition. Students will cultivate the skills to create and manipulate sounds in imaginative and creative ways in order to communicate effectively with listeners. Methods will include sampling, synthesis, sequencing, drum programming, a range of audio manipulation techniques and an exploration of more traditional music composition skills.
Listening and Analysing (25%)
Students’ knowledge and understanding of recording and production techniques will be assessed in the context of a series of commercial recordings which students will have individual access to in timed conditions. Questions will focus on all areas of study and will require a combination of short and long written responses.
Analysing and Producing (35%)
A practical exam where students are required to use their knowledge of recording and production techniques to edit, mix and produce material set by the exam board. This will include a written response where students will focus on a specific signal process, hardware unit or effect.
The second year follows a similar pattern to the first year, including recording, composing, written and practical exams at a higher level.
Good course combinations
Good course combinations for Music Technology are Music, Maths, Physics, Media Studies, Film Studies, Drama and Theatre Studies.
Your next steps
The Music Technology course is suitable for students who have an interest in building a career in music production including writing music, recording, mixing and mastering, composition for film and video games, broadcasting, live sound and sound design. It is also very suitable for those wanting work as a performing musician, session musician or develop a career as an independent artist.
Many students use their qualification to gain entry to university where they may study a wide range of Music Technology based subjects and further specialise in their chosen area of the industry. The course provides a solid foundation for Music Technology, Music Production and Popular Music courses in higher education, which are numerous, locally and nationally.
Employment possibilities include working in recording studios, in broadcasting (e.g. BBC), as a composer for film and video games, working in the live entertainments industry and as a freelance musician.
“I have always been interested in music. I really enjoy how diverse the course is and how you get an in depth insight into so many genres and styles. I particularly enjoy the performance and set works aspect. I chose York College because it had the best music courses in my area with high quality facilities. All the tutors are very supportive and welcoming and are always there to help solve an issue and/or give you extra information. I enjoy how they get to know us personally. After College I plan to go into higher education and study music of some sort, moving into the music and music technology industry.”