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Music Technology AS/A2 Level at Alton College

Course description

The Music Technology A-Level course will give you an insight into the fascinating world of record engineers, record producers, songwriters and composers for film/ TV.

You will learn how to use professional music software, such as Logic Studio 9 and Reason 6 to achieve professional sounding recordings.You will gain valuable production and sequencing skills whilst also learning in depth about microphones and recording techniques whilst using the recording studios and specialist music software suites.

The course is taught in our three professional recording studios and our computer music suites with professional music software. You will be taught how to record, engineer and produce a variety of music whilst also learning about the history of pop and rock music too. You will look at how music producers use technology to achieve distinctive sounds for a variety of genres and learn how to replicate them too.

Course content

Each year you will have to produce a Portfolio of coursework showcasing your production, engineering and arranging techniques. You will study both producing and engineering making use of our professional standard equipment. 
You will work at your own music workstation (Apple iMac) developing your production skills and creating music. You will also get to take the lead in the recording studio, acting as a producer as you take control of a band for a recording session.
During the year you will take an in-depth look at how popular music has evolved from jazz to the present day. Famous producers and recording techniques will all be discussed and you will be taught how to listen analytically to a piece of music to be able to understand how it was recorded. We will look at effects, mix techniques, synthesizers and much more. At the end of each year you will use this knowledge during an exam on popular music and recording techniques.

Entry requirements

Students studying a 3 or 4 AS level programme should normally have achieved an average GCSE point score of 5.5 or above and at least a grade C in Maths and/or English (unless specified otherwise). Students with a point score between 4.5 - 5.5 will normally take a mixture of Subsidiary Diplomas and AS levels.

You will need at least a grade C in GCSE music, or a pass in BTEC Music/Music Technology - including a PASS in the theory module, and/or grade 5 theory and grade 5 performance. An ability to read music (not Guitar TAB) is highly encouraged (although not essential) as reading music is a skill needed for the AS examination.

Students who take A Level Music Technology are encouraged to take our BTEC Rock and Popular Music Performance course.

Students who take A-Level Music Technology are encouraged to take our BTEC Rock & Popular Music Performance course.


AS Portfolio – three track CD = 70% of AS Qualification.
Track 1 & 2 = You will use the College computer music suites, equipped with Logic Studio 9 and Reason, to develop your sequencing and production skills. You will produce two pieces of coursework; one showing off your production skills – a recreation of a famous tune; the other showing off your remix skills.
Track 3 = You will record a band playing a well-known song in the College recording studios using multi-track techniques. You will learn how to correctly place microphones, use audio effects and how to mix your finished recording.

AS Exam = 30% of AS Qualification
You will also learn about the development and application of music technology and popular music eventually leading to a listening examination where you analyse six famous tunes from popular music history.

A level Music Technology
A2 Portfolio – three track CD = 60% of A2 Qualification.
Track 1 & 2 = You will learn modern production techniques using the College computer music suites which will lead to two recordings. The first will be an in-depth piece of sequencing, the second piece of work will be an original composition making use of advanced production techniques.
Track 3  = In the College recording studios, you will study advanced recording techniques including the chance to make a large-scale band recording with added strings or horn section.

A2 Exam = 40% of A2 Qualification
In the exam you will answer questions on music technology techniques and theories. There is also a practical element to the exam where you will have use advanced production techniques to mix a multi-track recording under exam conditions.

Financial information

It is highly recommended (although not essential) that students buy a good pair of closed-back headphones for the course – circa £30-£40. The college will provide some headphones. Staff are more than happy to recommend headphones should they be asked.
A substantial number of recordable CDs will be required for recording coursework.
Students are encouraged to buy Music Technology from Scratch by Mortimer Rhind-Tutt (just under £16), The Student Guide to Music Technology (just over £20) and regularly read Sound on Sound (which is available in the LRC).
The department organizes a number of wide ranging trips throughout the year. Whilst it is difficult to put a price on these, students ought to set aside between £40 and £50 a year for these optional visits.
If the costs of equipment, materials and trips may cause you financial hardship, you may wish to read through details of our financial support scheme on our website

Future opportunities

Students who have taken this course have gone onto to study at Music Conservatoires, leading Universities and found work in the music industry.
Joe studied for A Levels in Maths, Music Technology and Physics as well as performing in two bands. In September 2011 he began a 3 year undergraduate programme at the School of Digital Media Technology at Birmingham Conservatoire.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 08 August 2016

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