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Music Technology A Level at Varndean College

Course description

In the friendly and focused atmosphere you can improve existing skills and develop
new ones. The department operates with industry standard equipment and all student
workstations are Apple Macintosh computers running Logic Pro X and Sibelius 8.5 software.

We also use hundreds of plugins, and have Komplete 10 by Native Instruments installed
on all computers. The department has practice rooms, is fully equipped with tracking
and mixing equipment, and has a total tracking capacity of 16 channels able to be
recorded at once on one project. Every workstation is equipped with an audio interface,
so students can record up to two channels.

Course content

Year 1    

You will cover the principles and techniques of recording ranging throughout the 20th Century and present day, sequencing and mixing techniques along with a technology
focused understanding of popular music styles from 1910 to the present day, a portfolio of work including a multi-track recording, and a creative arrangement will be achieved by the end of the year. You will also acquire technical skills for recording, working with industry standard DAWs, and develop a fundamental understanding of production methods.           

Year 2

Developing individual skills and styles as music producers through the production of a coursework portfolio and an examined commentary. A production task carried out under examination. You will also undertake an aural analysis of unfamiliar popular songs testing your historical and production knowledge.


Non-examined assessment: externally assessed, 20% of the qualification 60 marks


Technology-based composition
Non-examined assessment: externally assessed, 20% of the qualification 60 marks


Listening and analysing
Written examination: 1 hour 30 minutes, 25% of the qualification 75 marks


Producing and analysing
Written/practical examination: 2 hours 15 minutes (plus 10 minutes setting–up time)
35% of the qualification 105 marks.


Entry requirements

Standard advanced course requirements

Some basic keyboard ability, an interest in popular music and technology.  

You should also be able to competently play a musical instrument.

Science GCSE at Grade 4 is also desirable. 




60% exam at end of Year 2 and 40% coursework

Future opportunities

The Music Technology A Level gives you a solid foundation in all things production. It
will prepare you for a degree at university, or provide you with a qualification accepted
at music production educational institutes, such as the SAE Institute. Many previous
students have gone on to employment in the music and sound industry soon after
finishing their A level course.

Further information

You can take part in a broad and engaging extracurricular programme and frequent performance opportunities including Funk Band, small band sessions, and workshops. This programme is open to everyone whether you are studying Music or not.

The Music Department can also help you find instrumental tutors.

How to apply

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

Last updated date: 24 October 2018
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Key information


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    • At Varndean College our aim is to offer all our students the rich, broad and enjoyable experience they need to develop, flourish and achieve their goals in the adult world.

      Teaching and Learning is at the heart of the successful partnerships between students and staff here and we are proud of the skilled and imaginative approaches to teaching taken by our staff to make learning exciting.

      Equally important to the success of our students is the enjoyment they gain from feeling part of a community: a community that is created through the wealth of opportunities to engage with others offered by our extensive enrichment activities. From: Code-breaking to Sport; Music to Peer-mentoring; Drama to Politics Society, there really is something for everyone.