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Music Technology AS & A Level at St Brendan's Sixth Form College

Course description

A-Level Music has a four-unit structure and is taken over two years.  The course does not require a great knowledge of music theory but focusses on production issues: recording techniques, mixing, sequencing, composition, sampling techniques etc.

The A-level Music Technology is based around 3 areas of study:

  1. Recording and Production Techniques for both Corrective and Creative Purposes
  2. Principles of Sound and Audio Technology
  3. The Development of Recording and Production Technology

Course content

The areas studied and the scheme of assessment is outlined below.

Component  1: Recording – coursework (20%)

  • Production tools and techniques to capture, edit, process and mix an audio recording.
  •  One recording chosen from a list of 10 songs provided by the exam board, total time between 3 – 3 ½ minutes

Component 2: Technology-based Composition - coursework (20%)

  • Creating, editing, manipulating and structuring sounds to produce a technology-based composition.
  • One technology-based composition in response to 1 of 3 briefs set by the exam board, total time 3 minutes

Component 3: Listening and Analysing – written exam (25%)

  • Knowledge and understanding of recording and production techniques and principles, in the context of a series of unfamiliar commercial recordings.
  • Includes essays where you have to analyse 3 commercial recordings.

Component 4: Producing and Analysing – written/practical exam (35%)

  • Practical elements involve correcting and mixing audio clips.
  • Written responses on producing and analysing

Entry requirements

  • Five GCSEs at grade C or above or the equivalent from four subject areas including GCSE English.
  • Music GCSE at Grade C/ point 4 is desirable but not essential.
  • Keyboard and/or other instrumental/voice skills would be useful but not essential.


The course will be assessed through a combination of coursework and written/ practical examinations.

Financial information

Students must be prepared to invest in a set of professional headphones for classroom/studio work. An appropriate set are likely to cost between £30 and £150 but staff can give advice as to which makes/models would be most suitable.

Students must provide their own USB memory sticks, stationary and print credit for handing in assignments.

Future opportunities

The A Level provides a sound basis for students wishing to proceed to Higher Education courses in Creative Music Technology and some other related courses.  It can lead to careers in composing, studio work, and teaching as well as related areas in publishing and media. It combines well with most other subjects but compliments in particular Film Studies, Media Studies, and Music or Music Performing.

Further information

St Brendan’s has a well-equipped Music Suite that includes:

  • Extended practice facilities
  • A Pro Tools 11 based recording studio and related equipment
  • A range of scores and recordings
  • Instruments including a grand piano, guitars, drums, keyboards etc.
  • Computer Suite with relevant music software for sequencing including Pro Tools 11, reaper, Ableton Live. Score production (Sibelius 7) and Ear training software (Aurelia)
  • A wide range of peripatetic support specialists
  • Fully equipped performance space including substantial sound and lighting systems for recitals and performance workshops. 

How to apply

If you want to apply for this course, you will need to contact St Brendan's Sixth Form College directly.

Last updated date: 24 October 2016

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