Music Technology A Level at Heart of England Sixth Form
On this exciting course, you will be able to record live instruments, sequence midi and audio, produce CDs and compose using music technology. Here at Heart of England, you will make extensive use of our fully-equipped recording studio in E7 and our dedicated mac suite in the music department. You will have access to other equipment throughout the school, including PA equipment and network radio broadcast facilities. The course is set up to enable you gain a practical 'hands-on' experience with creating, capturing, shaping, developing and re-producing sounds, whilst embracing recent developments in the field. Students are also provided with a robust grounding in critical investigation and research skills, and the AS/A2 qualification is widely accepted at an increasing number of leading academic institutions.
Unit 1: Music Technology Portfolio 1 (70%)
You will create a portfolio whilst learning to use a variety of music and music technology skills. You must complete three practical tasks: a sequenced realised performance, a multi-track recording, and a creative sequenced arrangement. You will create a log-book that will provide the examiners with information about the resources that you have chosen to use in each task. You will create a CD with your work recorded on to it, and you will be able to answer two assessed questions on your creative sequenced arrangement. As with most coursework, this will be done under controlled conditions, but you will receive guidance from your teachers along every step of the way.
Unit 2: Listening and Analysing (30%)
Through taking this unit, you will study the styles most common in 'pop' music from 1910 to the present day, and you will gain an overview of the main styles and trends during its development. You will also be given two styles to focus on in much more depth, and you will specialise in understanding the music and context of these styles. At the end of the AS course, you will sit a short listening examination lasting 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Unit 3: Music Technology Portfolio 2 (60%)
This builds on skills acquired in unit 1, and you will also compose some music of your own. It focuses more on the development of technology-based music. You will create a sequenced integrated performance where you will include your own instrument as part of the recording. You will produce another multi-track recording, and you will then create your own piece using music technology. Again, you will create a logbook that will provide the examiners with information about the resources that you have chosen to use in each task, and you will create a CD with your work recorded on to it.
Unit 4: Analysing and Producing (40%)
Essentially, this is a module studied throughout your A2 year. You will learn about the science behind sound and the methods that music producers use to create really high-quality compositions and mixes. The module prepares you for a 2-hour exam taken at the end of the course. A series of tasks will test your understanding of technological processes and production methods. You will need to be ready to show that you can use music technology to import, manipulate and develop pre-recorded musical material that is provided on a CD. You will then record your outcome as a high-quality balanced stereo mix.
There is open enrolment into the Sixth Form, but there are certain entry requirements. The criteria is as follows.
Each student will need to achieve a minimum average points score of 5.3 from his or her best 8 results, at least one of which should be in Maths or English Language. This average points score is based on the QCA points system which is as follows:
- A*=8, A =7, B=6, C=5, D=4, E=3, F= 2 and G = 1
This average can be made up of different combinations of grades for example:
- 4Cs, 3Bs & 1A
- 5Cs & 3Bs
- 6Cs, 1B, 1A
- 7Cs & 1A*
These are just examples of the grade combinations that would give students an average of 5.3 or higher across their best 8 grades.
It is important to have a good understanding of Maths, English and Physics. You do not need to have studied GCSE music, but you need to be able to show us that you have acquired a good understanding of how music works (music theory), and it is important that you are able to demonstrate your practical musicianship. Experience gained through instrumental teaching will be valuable, but not essential. For A2, you will cover staff notation as part of the course, so music theory (preferably grade 3+), or GCSE music will be most useful.
About £35-40 is required for textbooks that you may choose to purchase. These aren't absolutely essential, but are highly recommended.
How to apply
If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Heart of England Sixth Form directly.