What is this subject about?
BTEC Music Technology is a nationally recognised and respected applied learning qualification. This subject provides the opportunity to build understanding of the technical processes and principles that underpin effective use of music technology in creating, performing, recording and producing contemporary music. The course has been refreshed and is closely aligned with employers and higher education needs for a skilled workforce. This is a two year course is equivalent to one A Level.
What will I study in the first year?
In the first year students will cover three units. ‘Music Production Techniques’ teaches students to create a musical product using studio recording facilities (including Pro Tools software), taking on the roles of performer, producer, engineer and assistant and learning to edit and mix on Cubase. ‘Sequencing Systems and Techniques’ involves students working with both MIDI and audio to create sequencing projects on Cubase. Recognising and describing qualities in recorded and live sounds is essential in this subject, and ‘Listening Skills for Music Technologists’ will engage students in active listening practice and teach them to be able to hear and correct errors in performances and recordings.
What will I study in the second year?
Students will cover another three units in the second
year. ’Delivering a Music Product’ will extend and
develop recording studio skills, but with a focus on
working to a deadline and, in performance ensembles
and production teams, to simulate the real-world
environment of the music industry. ‘Music and Sound
for the Moving Image’ builds
on sequencing software skills with the addition of
mapping created sound to movie clips. This unit
involves using VST instruments as well as recorded
audio to create score and sound design. ‘Special
Subject Investigation’ allows students to undertake an
in-depth exploration of a chosen area before
presenting their findings in a written report,
presentation, video clip or blog etc. and has links to
areas of employment including journalism,
promotion, active research and marketing.
How is the course assessed?
The course is internally assessed, with each unit graded as pass, merit or distinction. Students will achieve a pass, merit or distinction overall depending on their results across all units.
What skills will I need and develop on this course?
You must have the ability to play an instrument or
sing. An existing ability to read notation is desirable
but will also be taught as part of the course (reading
Guitar TAB will also be useful). You will be required to
develop proficiency in sound engineering so will need
to have a good ear and ideally a working knowledge of
pulse, rhythm, keys and chords. Some experience of
music notation software and recording/sequencing
software will be useful.
What can the course lead to in terms of higher education and future careers?
There are many opportunities for further study at
higher education institutions, and many career
possibilities for those proficient in handling music
technology. Level 3 BTEC in Music Technology is
widely accepted by higher education providers and
continues to provide valuable experience and
preparation for students aiming for higher education
in the subject. Music technology careers could include
work as sound engineers, record producers and
teachers. Many employers are interested in Music for
its artistic and creative aspects, which can also lead
potential employees into fields such as media and
The Music Department enjoys a progression
agreement with a local Music Technology higher
education provider. Music at degree level is incredibly
varied from institution to institution, so it is necessary
to consider which element of music you want to
pursue. There are courses in sound design, audio
engineering, creative digital arts, production,
contemporary music and performance.
What are the formal entry requirements for this course?
Aside from the general entry criteria that the College
requires, the ability to read standard music notation
and have a good ear is very important. If you are
concerned that your music theory is weak then you
will be offered the opportunity to take extra lessons
to improve this in order to support your progress on
Do I need Music Technology GCSE to Study BTEC Music Technology?
It is advisable to have studied Music or Music
Technology at GCSE/BTEC Level 2. You must have
some performance skills and the ability to play an
instrument or sing. Aural skills are very important.
Most importantly you must be able to hear what is
accurate musically and what is not.
Subject combination advice
Subject combination advice:
BTEC Music Technology combines well with Music
A Level as skills learnt in both subjects are very
complementary. It can also work well alongside
Maths and Physics, or Performing Arts and
What is the difference between Music and Music Technology?
BTEC Music Technology is very different from Music
A Level. Music Technology involves the study of
software such as Cubase, Logic, Sibelius and Pro
Tools 10, sound recording equipment and methods of
studio production used in the popular music industry;
whereas in Music we study music from all periods
of history, perform using studio equipment to record
performances, and compose with software
programmes such as Sibelius and Cubase.
Both courses are made up of three Units in each year
which are assessed internally at regular intervals.
A Level Music has a formal written exam and an
externally marked unit. Both courses are practical in
their approach, but also include some written work,
research, reading, and presentation-type
assignments. Music A Level and BTEC Music
Technology can be taken together as they offer a
broad spectrum of musical study which would
support any career in Music.