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Music Technology A Level

Entry requirements for AS Level Music Technology is GCSE Music at a grade C or above.  GCSE English at a grade C or above is also desirable.  

Students must have good listening and analysing skills and be competent at using Logic Pro to create music. Although not formally assessed,musical skill at instrumental playing is required for the recording unit.

Course Outline and Assessment

The Principles and Practice of Music Technology

This area of study involves study and practice of MIDI sequencing, audio sequencing and multi-track recording, using equipment and technical processes to capture sounds and manipulate them to produce musical results.

Popular Music Styles since 1910 (inc. Jazz, Rock and Pop)

Students learn about the main musical and cultural characteristics of the major styles and trends of the past 100 years, ranging from ragtime and Dixieland Jazz through to recent developments in Club Music and Electronica.

The Development of Technology-based Music

The aim of this area of study is to help students understand more about the development and influence of technology on music since 1910. Study includes instruments involving technology, recording practice, and developments in contemporary art music. In the AS year, students produce a portfolio CD – supported by an accompanying written logbook – containing the following:

  • Sequenced Realised Performance:a sequenced performance of music from a notated score
  • Multi-Track Recording: 8-12 track close-mic and direct-inject recording of a piece of the student's choice from Popular Music Styles since 1910
  • Creative Sequenced Arrangement:an arrangement of a piece of music, using computer software, showing creative development and/or manipulation of the chosen musical material.

In the A2 year, students produce a second portfolio CD, again supported by a written logbook. This contains:

  • Sequenced Integrated Performance: a sequenced performance, integrating live audio and other tracks,with sequenced tracks
  • Multi-Track Recording: a 12-24 live track recording using close-mic and direct-inject capture
  • Composing using Music Technology: a 3-4 minute composition based on a chosen task brief

Where could this take you?

Music Technology A level provides an excellent basis for lifelong learning. There are many opportunities in Higher Education, and many career possibilities for those proficient in handling music technology. GCE Music Technology has been widely accepted by Higher Education providers and it will continue to provide valuable experience and preparation for students aiming for further study in the subject. Music Technology A Level could lead to careers in the record industry, sound engineering, record producing, and music education.

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Music A Level

Students who would benefit most from studying an A Level in Music are likely to have a GCSE in Music at grades A*- B.

Students should be aware that performing skills need to be at the standard of Grade 5 for AS level, and Grade 6 for A2 at the time of assessment. It is important that you:

  • love playing an instrument and performing
  • like exploring and creating new music
  • enjoy listening to music from a range of styles
  • wonder about how and why music has developed
  • have an interest in exploring music through ICT

Course Outline and Assessment

Performing (30%) 

Students are encouraged to develop their performance skills by playing a range of styles of music as a soloist and/or an ensemble member. At AS,students present a performance of 5-6 minutes. The requirement extends to 12-15 minutes at A2, allowing for a wider and balanced programme of music. The level required at AS is ABRSM Grade 5, and at A2 it is Grade 7/8.

Composing (30%) 

Students learn how to write for instrument(s) and/or voices, and how to develop musical ideas. At AS, students create a three-minute composition based on a task of their choice, plus CD sleeve notes to accompany the composition.At A2, students compose a second three-minute composition, in addition to learning to compose using styles and techniques of other composers.

Developing Musical Understanding (40%) 

This unit focuses on listening to music and understanding how it works.At AS, students study pieces of music from the two topics: Instrumental Music and Vocal Music. At A2, students continue to study Instrumental Music, and also study Applied Music. Pieces range from Haydn Symphonies and Mozart Piano Concertos, through Gershwin, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis, to the film music of John Williams. At AS students also learn to use a musical score to identify musical features, and then apply these principles for themselves in the completion of a SATB exercise.

Where could this take you?


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The A level Music course provides an excellent basis for lifelong learning and for Higher Education courses in Music, and many students who take A level Music continue their studies at university. The three units of the course can lead to studies and careers in performance, composition, musicology, ethno musicology, sound engineering, conducting, popular music and jazz, and music education.