BTEC Extended Diploma in Music Technology

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma
2 years
Curriculum Manager: 
Andy Light

What is BTEC Extended Diploma in Music Technology?

The Music and Media industry is in a constant state of flux, with traditional record sales diminishing the live music industry has exploded into action. Live concerts are now recorded, mixed and distributed across on demand streaming services, or pay per download stores. The way in which Music is consumed is changing, the rapid growth of the Media Sector over the last ten years has created many opportunities for audio professionals from sound design and composition for moving picture, to audio technologies for games and mobile phones.

This course is designed to give you a solid grounding in the theoretical knowledge and practical skills you will need to succeed in this exciting industry.

Is the BTEC Extended Diploma in Music Technology suitable for me?

This course is unsuitable for an absolute beginner to Music, to access all aspects of the course successfully students should have previous experience of performing music both individually, and as a part of a band. This course would best suit learners who are interested in all aspects of Popular Music. If you are passionate about Music, and are interested in developing your skills as a musician and a technologist through practical study, then this course is for you!

Some of the topics you will study include:

  • Music Production 
  • Music Engineering
  • Performance Skills
  • Live Sound Engineering
  • The Music Business

How will I learn?

You will study a series of modules which require you to undertake practical projects in different areas of Music Technology. The emphasis of the course will be on your ability to apply the theory and techniques of Music Technology to your own project work. You will study both independently, and in small groups fulfilling different industry roles.

How will I be assessed?

You will study a total of 18 units during the two years of the course. All of the units are assessed by coursework – and this may include the production of portfolios, presentations, practical projects, and staff observations. None of the units require you to sit a formal examination.
For each unit you complete you will be awarded a Pass (P), Merit (M), or Distinction (D) grade. As this qualification is equivalent to 3 A Levels, you will also be awarded an overall grade consisting of three grades – such as PPP, MMP, or D*DD.
Students must complete and pass the first year to be awarded a 90 credit diploma and progress to the second year and full Extended Diploma.
We are aware that Edexcel is currently evaluating the assessment process and there may be the introduction of an examined unit. Further information is unavailable at the current time.


The two most obvious progression routes are either a Higher National Diploma in Music Production or a Foundation Degree in either Music Production or Audio Engineering; on completion you will usually have the option of a further two years of study to gain a BA or BSc respectively.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C. Alternatively if you have studied at level 2 you should have achieved a merit or above. Vocational courses are an ideal qualification for students who prefer coursework. 

You will be able to have demonstrated purposeful study of music, for example through GCSE, BTEC, NCFE Music Technology or graded exams such as Rock School or Associated Board.

Course costs

A number of CDs will be required for recording performances and compositions.
A 4-8 GB flash memory stick will be required for the storage and transfer of projects between workstations.
Whilst students will need to reference a wide range of textbooks over the course of the programme the following texts are highly reccomended:
• Sound and Recording an Introduction; Rumsey, F. McCormick, T. (2005) - Focal Press
• Sound Synthesis and Sampling; Russ, M. (2008) - Focal Press

If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Music Technology

A Level
2 years
Curriculum Manager: 
Andy Light

What is Music Technology?

The Music Technology A-Level course will give you an insight into the fascinating world of record engineers, record producers, songwriters and composers for film/ TV.
You will learn how to use professional music software, such as Logic Studio 9 and Reason 6 to achieve professional sounding recordings.
You will gain valuable production and sequencing skills whilst also learning in depth about microphones and recording techniques whilst using the recording studios and specialist music software suites.
The course is taught in our three professional recording studios and our computer music suites with professional music software. You will be taught how to record, engineer and produce a variety of music whilst also learning about the history of pop and rock music too. You will look at how music producers use technology to achieve distinctive sounds for a variety of genres and learn how to replicate them too.

Is Music Technology suitable for me?

The course is suitable for anyone who has an interest in how popular and rock music is produced and recorded, it is also for anyone who wants to develop their composing and arranging skills in modern music.
You will be committed to developing your listening and reading skills learnt at GCSE or school, you will need to be able to read traditional notation (not Guitar TAB) for both the examination and coursework.
Whilst you are not assessed on your performance skills during this course, it is helpful if you sing or play an instrument (especially popular music instruments). An ability to play keyboards/ piano is extremely beneficial, as two-thirds of the course will be spent using keyboards.

How will I learn?

Each year you will have to produce a Portfolio of coursework showcasing your production, engineering and arranging techniques. You will study both producing and engineering making use of our professional standard equipment.
You will work at your own music workstation (Apple iMac) developing your production skills and creating music. You will also get to take the lead in the recording studio, acting as a producer as you take control of a band for a recording session.
During the year you will take an in-depth look at how popular music has evolved from jazz to the present day. Famous producers and recording techniques will all be discussed and you will be taught how to listen analytically to a piece of music to be able to understand how it was recorded. We will look at effects, mix techniques, synthesizers and much more. At the end of each year you will use this knowledge during an exam on popular music and recording techniques.

How will I be assessed?

AS Portfolio – three track CD = 70% of AS Qualification.
Track 1 & 2 = You will use the College computer music suites, equipped with Logic Studio 9 and Reason, to develop your sequencing and production skills. You will produce two pieces of coursework; one showing off your production skills – a recreation of a famous tune; the other showing off your remix skills.
Track 3 = You will record a band playing a well-known song in the College recording studios using multi-track techniques. You will learn how to correctly place microphones, use audio effects and how to mix your finished recording.

AS Exam = 30% of AS Qualification
You will also learn about the development and application of music technology and popular music eventually leading to a listening examination where you analyse six famous tunes from popular music history.

A level Music Technology
A2 Portfolio – three track CD = 60% of A2 Qualification.
Track 1 & 2 = You will learn modern production techniques using the College computer music suites which will lead to two recordings. The first will be an in-depth piece of sequencing, the second piece of work will be an original composition making use of advanced production techniques.
Track 3  = In the College recording studios, you will study advanced recording techniques including the chance to make a large-scale band recording with added strings or horn section.

A2 Exam = 40% of A2 Qualification
In the exam you will answer questions on music technology techniques and theories. There is also a practical element to the exam where you will have use advanced production techniques to mix a multi-track recording under exam conditions.


Students who have taken this course have gone onto to study at Music Conservatoires, leading Universities and found work in the music industry.
Joe studied for A Levels in Maths, Music Technology and Physics as well as performing in two bands. In September 2011 he began a 3 year undergraduate programme at the School of Digital Media Technology at Birmingham Conservatoire.

Entry requirements

Students should normally have achieved an A*- C grade profile at GCSE. For GCSE English and Maths where a new grading system has been introduced, a Grade 4 is equivalent to a Grade C.

We would normally expect you to have gained a Grade C in GCSE Music or Grade V on an instrument.

Students who take A-Level Music Technology are encouraged to take our BTEC Rock & Popular Music Performance course.

Course costs

It is highly recommended (although not essential) that students buy a good pair of closed-back headphones for the course – circa £30-£40. The college will provide some headphones. Staff are more than happy to recommend headphones should they be asked.
A substantial number of recordable CDs will be required for recording coursework.
Students are encouraged to buy Music Technology from Scratch by Mortimer Rhind-Tutt (just under £16), The Student Guide to Music Technology (just over £20) and regularly read Sound on Sound (which is available in the LRC).
The department organizes a number of wide ranging trips throughout the year. Whilst it is difficult to put a price on these, students ought to set aside between £40 and £50 a year for these optional visits.
If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website.

Course Code




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