What is Music Technology?
The role that technology plays in everyday experience is now so pervasive that most of the music people hear comes via loudspeakers; even an ‘acoustic’ recording or broadcast of live performers in a concert hall has been shaped by ‘studio musicians’ before reaching our ears. The syllabus recognises this new and important phenomenon within the musical world, and is designed to develop the knowledge, understanding, practical skills and aural perception that are needed to employ audio and computer technology for musical ends.
Is Music Technology suitable for me?
Past experience suggests that those with an interest in music outside of College – jazz band, youth orchestra, church choir, rock band etc, are more likely to be successful. The better students tend to have an interest in, and perform, a wide variety of music and have some experience of sequencing and/or multi track recording.
Current students divide 50/50 over the great/difficult parts of the course. Those with keyboard skills find the sequencing part of the course relatively simple, whilst those with little or no keyboard skills, prefer the recording part of the course.
However, all agree that listening and analysing is the toughest part of the course. Even if students have studied GCSE Music, this is an aspect of music that is completely new, as it is not undertaken at GCSE.
How will I learn?
Sequencing: classroom lessons using Cubase on the College music computers. 3/4 week projects
Recording: taught sessions using the College’s three studios. 3/4 week projects
Areas of Study: classroom lessons to involve a) in AS the analyses of pop music and jazz, and b) in A2 – the technical processes and principals that underpin effective use of music technology. Written work will be set. iii) Compositional Techniques (A2 only) – taught lessons based on compositional techniques, each employing different aspects of music technology. 4/5 week projects.
How will I be assessed?
AS Music Technology
Music Technology Portfolio (70%) – externally assessed and to include:
- Sequencing Realised Performance – based on a recording of a piece of music specified by the board
- Multi track recording– record a piece of own choice (any Popular Music Style since 1910), lasting between 2 and 4 minutes, using between 8 and 12 live tracks
- Creative Sequenced Arrangement - an arrangement showing creative development in one of two prescribed styles lasting between 2 and 3 minutes
- Logbook – to detail equipment used and answer questions of their Creative Sequenced Arrangement
Listening & Analysing (30%) - 1 hour 45 minutes listening examination –externally assessed.
A2 Music Technology
Music Technology Portfolio (60%) - externally assessed and to include:
- Sequencing Integrated Performance: a sequenced integrated performance containing a live audio recording of the vocals – together with other live tracks, selected from a choice of two pieces specified by the board
- Multi track recording: students will select one recording topic from a choice of two, and will record a piece lasting between 3 and 5 minutes using between 12 and 24 live tracks
- composing using technology: based on one of three prescribed briefs set by the board and lasting between 3 and 4 minutes
- Logbook to detail equipment used
Analysing & Producing (40%) – a two hour examination in two parts; i) testing students’ musical understanding, their ability to manipulate and correct recorded music and their ability to comment on technological processes; and ii) their ability to interpret music file data.
Joe studied for A Levels in Maths, Music Technology and Physics, as well as for a RSL Level 3 Rock Award – in which he performed in two bands. In September 2011 he began a 3 year undergraduate programme at the School of Digital Media Technology at Birmingham Conservatoire.
Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 – 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels. You can check your likely GCSE point score by going to 'Choosing the Right Course' on the website and entering your predicted grades.
You will need at least a grade C in GCSE music, or a pass in BTEC Music/Music Technology - including a PASS in the theory module, and/or grade 5 theory and grade 5 performance. If you study A level Music Technology, you will be expected to take part in the Band Workshop programme and take part in many of the concerts as well as attend professional concerts – both in and out of college.
A substantial number of CDs will be required for recording coursework.
Students are required to buy Music Technology from Scratch by Mortimer Rhind-Tutt (just under £16), are recommended to buy The Student Guide to Music Technology (just over £20) and regularly read Sound on Sound and/or Music Tech magazine (both of which are 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.
Whilst all students studying AS and A Level Music will be provided with a weekly free of charge instrumental lesson, the College does not have a supply of musical instruments.
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.