A Level Music Technology
Why study this subject?
Music Technology is a diverse subject area offering students the opportunity to develop skills in composition, production, sequencing and recording. Students have access to 35 iMac workstations across two well equipped Mac suites, supporting Logic Pro and Ableton Live. They will also have access to the recording studio and two separate post-production spaces.
On the course, you will develop your skills in composition, production, sequencing and recording, along with improving your IT skills, your communication skills, your attention to musical detail and your ability to create and generate musical ideas.
The course is varied and gives a thorough grounding in music production, technology-based music and acoustics. You will produce two pieces of non-examined assessment work. The first piece of work is a recording, for which you will choose a song, plan recording sessions, set up microphones, record performers and then spend time mixing and producing in class. The second is a technology-based composition, where you will blend synthesis, sampling and creative effects with the musical elements to produce a 3 minute piece of work. Alongside your practical work, you will study a variety of theoretical topics, from capture of sound to acoustics, and from effects and processing to mastering. These will be assessed via two exam papers in the summer of Year 13; assessing your listening, analysing and producing skills.
Which Music course should I choose?
Music is at the heart of college life at Greenhead and as a student, you have a huge range of opportunities available to you. As a music student at Greenhead, you have a flexible choice of courses to choose from and we boast a wide range of opportunities to get involved with a variety of enrichment ensembles and performance opportunities. There are currently over 100 students studying on music courses at Greenhead and many more involved in music enrichment.
Students have access to two Mac suites with Logic Pro, Ableton Live Lite and Sibelius Ultimate installed, along with iZotope plugins in the studios. You can also take advantage of the purpose-built college recording studio along with our practice and rehearsal facilities on the top floor of the music department. We encourage students from all three of our courses and from our enrichment programme to play, record and socialise together to create a real Greenhead Music community based around the department.
Music Technology students are strongly encouraged to participate in the extensive musical enrichment programme which encompasses a wide range of musical ensembles and performance opportunities.
You will be joining a vibrant department, supported by two full time members of experienced staff and a dedicated and specialist music technology technician. Most importantly, you will meet like-minded and enthusiastic students in an environment where you can continue to study something you’re passionate about. Music at Greenhead has something for everyone – whatever style you enjoy or instrument you play!
Topics you will cover
You will follow the Pearson specification, studying four components:
- technology-based composition
The course is 40% coursework based and 60% examination based. Students will understand the principles of sound and audio technology and how they are used in professional and creative practice.
Students will understand a wide range of production techniques as well as developing recording skills to demonstrate an understanding of sound and its capture. Alongside this, students will develop the skills to manipulate sound in imaginative ways, whilst also understanding the historical and cultural contexts of the use of technology in the creation, performance and production of music. As part of this, students will listen to and analyse a variety of different music in lots of different styles.
The course will place great importance on the activities of recording, processing, mixing, sound creation and creative music technology applications, underpinned by analytical listening. You will apply your music technology knowledge to various unfamiliar situations as part of your exams.
This course will appeal to students with more contemporary musical interests. You should be able to play an instrument to a reasonable standard and have some prior experience of working with sequencing software. Keyboard skills are desirable.
A Level Music Technology contains a topic called ‘technical numeracy’ which touches on maths and physics content with regard to acoustics, wave theory and some associated calculations. This builds on knowledge from GCSE Maths and Science, and could form part of a study programme with either A Level Maths and/or Physics.
It is possible for you to study a combination of BTEC Music, A Level Music and Music Technology at A Level. We would discuss this with you at interview to make sure it is the right choice for you.
Careers and progression in Music Technology
Music Technology is a fast-developing career path, leading to a diverse selection of careers. These might include composer, sound/audio engineer, performer, producer, teacher, acoustician, DJ or sound designer.
Recent Student Destinations
University of Surrey Tonmeister
University of Salford
University of Leeds
University of Hull
University of Huddersfield
Leeds Beckett University
Trips and Visits
The department enjoys a close working relationship with the University of Huddersfield who have previously run masterclass sessions such as deconstructing modern rock music production, modular synthesis and music mixing tools from the past, present and future. We have also run sessions in combination with Spirit Studios in Manchester and have visited local universities such as Leeds Beckett to find out more about music technology in higher education.
What the students say
Watch the longer version of the video here.
Studying Music at Greenhead was a great decision. I learnt an incredible amount in both Music and Music Technology. There is a fantastic dynamic between staff and students which facilitates everyone becoming their best musical selves. The rich extracurricular aspect of the department also means that anyone with a love for making music can get involved and perform in numerous concerts – Jack
I think I really benefitted from how wide-ranging the course at Greenhead is; you get a solid grounding in a lot of music history and theory, but the department also encourages you to combine different disciplines and be inventive with your approaches to them. I think this dual ethos—of providing the opportunity to experiment with a composition, while also offering a technical basis for making that experimentation more fruitful—is what made the course so useful and so enjoyable – Kiran
The Greenhead music staff and facilities are top notch – there is a great relationship between students and staff that is really encouraging and productive. The opportunity to play or sing in the numerous ensembles and perform in the college concerts is also a great addition – George
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