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Music Technology AS/A Level at Brockenhurst College

Course description

Technology is increasingly fundamental to the way music is written, performed, recorded and distributed. As the tools of the trade become cheaper and more sophisticated, there are more opportunities than ever for people to produce music of professional quality without spending a fortune. It’s true to say that musicians are now only limited by their imaginations and their motivation to learn!

This course looks at how various kinds of technology are used in the creation and production of popular music. Students with a good understanding of music (both theory and practice) will be able to develop their skills in Arranging (Year 1) and Composing (Year 2); whilst acquiring technical skills in Sequencing, Synthesis, Recording and Mixing. Most importantly, students will learn to listen analytically: this skill underpins all practical activities.

Course content

In this course there are three Areas of Study:

The Principles and Practice of Music Technology: the study and practice of MIDI sequencing, audio sequencing, synthesis, sampling, recording and mixing. This involves using appropriate equipment to develop an understanding of the processes that achieve musical results.

 The Development of Popular Music Styles since 1910: the study of many styles and genres of Popular Music, including jazz as well as pop and rock. You will be learn about the main developments in these styles and will be able to recognise and write about key features. Each year there are two Special Focus styles, which students study in greater detail.

The Development of Technology-based Music: you will learn about the main developments in music technology over the last 100 years. This includes both the equipment itself, and how it has been put to use in various styles of music. Study for this element includes the development of electric and electronic instruments, recording technology and processing/effects.

Entry requirements

This course is suited to students with an ACTIVE interest in music: in particular, those who may already be performing, writing or producing music independently.

Students must be willing to listen objectively to music from a broad range of styles.
GCSE Music at Grade C or above.  However, if you have chosen not to take GCSE Music this is not usually a problem.

Although performance skills are not directly assessed on this course, an ability to perform is essential for all practical tasks.

Students must have a basic level of keyboard skill.

Students must have the ability to read music using conventional, 5 line stave notation in treble and bass clefs (this does NOT include drum or guitar tab notation).

A good understanding of traditional music theory is essential; ideally students should have passed the Grade III Music Theory examination (Associated Board).

There is no requirement for any previous experience with technology hardware or software.


In both years you will put together a portfolio of three pieces of practical work,
You will also sit an examination at the end of each year.
In the AS year 70% is awarded to practical work, 30% to the examination
In the A2 year 60% is awarded to practical work and 40% examination.

Financial information

You will need to buy textbook(s) for the course. The texts for AS and A2 will cost approximately £25. While the college has headphones available, it is recommended as good practice that students bring their own. You will also need to pay for blank CDRs as required.

Future opportunities

Many students progress to a wide range of degree courses in Sound Recording and/or Music Technology, and this course is good preparation for these kinds of programme.

There are also a growing number of university courses which incorporate music technology in a number of ways, and also, a wider range of courses (e.g. in Media or Design) which recognise and value the computer and technical skills you will have learnt during this course.

In recent years, students have gone on to study at: The Academy of Popular Music, The Guildhall School of Music & Drama, The Trinity School of Music, The Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts.

Degree courses in Sound Engineering or Acoustics, such as the prestigious Tonmeister Course at the University of Surrey, will require students to have Maths and Physics A-Levels alongside Music Technology in addition to a strong understanding of the rudiments and theory of music.

Further information

There is a significant amount of practical work and research with this subject. You must be able to organise your time efficiently. In addition, you must be prepared to work in the recording studio after the end of the college day.

You will be encouraged to join in the various musical ensembles which run at the college - this type of activity is the best way to develop your musicianship!

There is a choir, a chamber orchestra, music theatre orchestra, percussion ensemble & samba band, jazz band and brass ensemble.

The college also has its own record label which organises regular gigs and releases throughout the year.

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact Brockenhurst College directly.

Last updated date: 18 February 2016

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