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Music Technology: Sound Engineering (Level 3) at Access Creative College

Course description

If you love the science of sound and mixing, manipulating and mastering music in recording studios and live venues, then this course is the perfect way to develop your skills to the next level. The course is:

  • For those looking to get into live and studio sound based around audio mixing and processing in recording studios and live venues.
  • Ideal for young technicians aged 16+ looking to gain skills in audio environments such as recording studios, live venues and festivals.
  • Based around real-world projects with opportunities to work with music artists and producers both in the studio and in professional venues.
  • Integrated into the industry. Through our partnership with Focusrite, you will have the opportunity to get over £500 worth of FREE plug-ins, including the Scarlett compressor, EQ and reverb, the classic Midnight and Red Suites with their iconic compressors and equalisers, and the Softube bundle with reverb, delay and distortion.
  • Designed to give you more than music in that you will also gain valuable job skills and life skills.
  • Linked to nationally-recognised music qualifications.
  • Taught by sound engineers at Birmingham, Bristol, Lincoln, London (Stratford), Manchester, Norwich and York,
  • Graded ‘Good’ by Ofsted in 2016.

Course content

This Music Technology course offers progression from Music Technology at Level 2 and is for sound/audio engineers with more experience, but who are looking to refine their skills.The course covers acoustics, micing and levels, mixing, processing, sound reinforcement, mastering, business awareness and promotion.

Delivery is focused around practical sound engineering sessions in in digital studios, technology suites and venues.

You will focus on developing the skills needed for operating studio and live sound equipment. On the Level 3 course you will be doing in-depth work in the following areas:

  • Acoustics: underpinning your work will be gaining a core understanding of the science of sound. This will include looking at the characteristics of sound and sound waves as well as the acoustic properties of spaces such as venues and studios.
  • Inputs and Levels: one of the most important parts of the sound engineering process is gaining the best quality signal from instruments and voices. This is the art of miking up drum kits, guitar cabinets, acoustic instruments and vocals in both live and studio situations. It requires an understanding of different types of microphone and their properties and of the acoustic nature of instruments.
  • Mixing & Production: the mixing desk is at the heart of the sound engineering process, the place where the balance of instruments and voices is achieved. Mixing desks can look daunting to the novice, but we will help you to understand how they operate, examining aspects such as level, EQ, pan, buss routing etc. You will have the opportunity to gain an understanding of both analogue and digital desks. You will also work extensively with production software on digital audio workstations using programmes such as Logic Pro and Pro Tools.
  • Manipulation: sound can be manipulated in lots of ways to achieve different results. You will explore things such as compression, limiters, reverb, delays, phasing, distortion etc.
  • Realization: this is the process of creating the final product, whether that is a recorded track or a live sound application. For recorded works it is looking at the mastering and final production of the track for the intended media. This may differ depending on whether it is an MP3 for digital use or a CD/vinyl quality track. In live sound it is working with sound reinforcement systems. These can vary from small venue PA systems up to the flown concert systems used at venues and large arenas.

Entry requirements

Our main criteria are an ability and passion for all aspects of sound engineering and a dedication to gaining skills. You will also need to demonstrate that you are able to work at your chosen level. For school leavers we will require evidence of your predicted and actual grades, backed up by a school reference.

This Music Technology course is for more experienced sound engineers with more knowledge of live and recorded sound. You should already be familiar with aspects of live and studio sound and be able to use at least one or two software platforms such as Logic Pro or Pro Tools.

You will be invited to an interview where you will be expected to give a demonstration of your skills in using a mixing desk/live sound equipment and/or a discussion of your skills and experience to date.

Please note you will not be able to enrol if you will be under the age of 16 on 31st August. Applications from people under this age are still welcome, but will be deferred to the following year.


Music Technology courses are assessed through nationally-recognised RSL qualifications with assessment based on course work rather than exams. From 2017 all qualifications will have an element of external assessment and these units must be passed to successfully complete the course.

The Level 3 Music Technology: Sound Engineering  course has the following options:

  • One year RSL Level 3 Subsidiary Diploma for Music Practitioners. This can generate up to 86 UCAS points on the 2017 tariff. If you are successful in this you can progress to
  • One year RSL Level 3 Extended Diploma for Music Practitioners. This can generate up to 168 UCAS points on the 2017 tariff.
  • Please note these UCAS points are for a Distinction* and lower grades generate less points.

The Subsidiary Diploma and Extended Diploma together:

  • are equivalent to three A Levels or a BTEC Level 3 Diploma;
  • provide progression to university degrees.

Other Qualifications
Access to Music is committed to providing you with the best opportunities and so delivers wider life and employability skills alongside music. Students aged 16-18 with a GCSE grade D in either English and Maths will be given support to improve their grade. Students with lower than a grade D will do Functional Skills and then potentially move on to do GCSEs. Both options include exams.

Financial information

All ages for September 2017 entry are based on how old you are on 31 August 2017, and/or at the start of your course.

If you are aged 16 to 18 on 31st August 2017, you will not have to pay any fees. There is voluntary Enrichment Contribution of £95 which can be paid before starting the course and contributes towards enrichment activities provided by Access to Music, such as music opportunities, masterclasses etc.

Enrolment is based on payment of fees and acceptance of an offer is not a guarantee of your place on the course.
Fees for Level 3 courses per year are:
> £4000

You can now apply for an Advanced Learner Loan to cover the cost of this course. You will only have to repay the loan when you start to earn over £21,000 per year.


Future opportunities

Progression from Extended Diploma course can be to undergraduate study, including Access to Music's new degree courses:

You may also progress into employment in the creative industries or into an apprenticehship.


How to apply

You can apply for this course through UCAS Progress. Add this course to your favourites so you can start making an application.

Last updated date: 17 October 2016
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Key information


  • More information
    • Access to Music London runs from the British Academy of New Music, a dedicated music education facility adjacent to the Three Mills Island television and film studios.

      Our staff are all experienced musicians and they get to know who you are and what you want to be. We have a proven track record of students going on to university and into the industry (Rita Ora, Ed Sheeran, Vanessa from The Saturdays, DJ Ironik and Baby Cakes).

      Access to Music London also benefits from being part of the UK’s leading popular music college which has pioneered popular music education in this country for 20 years. This means your education and training is quality-assured by our national team. Access to Music designs is own music qualifications in partnership with Rockschool, so our courses are the most up-to-date and relevant for 16-18s looking to get into the music industry.

      Finally, London is a great place to study music with a world-class reputation for music-making and we offer plenty of opportunities to get out and perform or work at venues and festivals.