Overview

What is this subject about?

BTEC Music Technology is a nationally recognised vocational subject. This subject provides the opportunity to build understanding of the technical processes and principles that underpin eff ective use of music technology in creating, performing, recording and producing contemporary music. This is a two year course equivalent to one full A Level.

What will I study in the first year?

In the first year students will cover three units. Studio Recording Techniques, DAW Production teaches students to create a musical product using studio recording facilities (which includes Pro Tools software), taking on the roles of performer, producer, engineer and assistant and learning to edit and mix on Cubase or Abelton Live software. Live Sound involves students working with performers and ensemble groups using speakers, monitors, microphones and mixing desks.

What will I study in the second year?

Students will cover another three units in the second year. Studio Design and Acoustics covers specific acoustic properties of live room, recording, studio and concert hall spaces. Students will undertake a design project and will present to an audience. Students will continue to work with solo and ensemble performers in a production team. Working as part of the team will involve them in roles such as arranging, mixing, recording, engineering, producing, sampling and synthesis and mastering techniques.

How is the course assessed?

The course has one externally assessed exam. The rest of the course is internally assessed, with each unit and series of assignments within 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 for 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. Some experience of using a recording studio would also be beneficial.

Careers

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 marketing. 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, instrumental design, commercial music and contemporary or popular performance.

Entry Requirements

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 the course.

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.

Extra Support

What extra support/enrichment activities are on offer?

There are regular concerts and open mic events, facilitating both solo and ensemble performance, Choir, College Band, Jazz groups, College Production, contemporary bands, and the opportunity to form smaller ensembles. Music Technology students are encouraged to work with those students writing their own music on the complementary study Song Writing course, to facilitate recording and to manage the mixing and producing of the final CD and performances. Students have individual access to computers running Sibelius and Cubase software to assist with composition and sequencing coursework completion, and Logic and Pro Tools to support multi-track recording. There are also workshops on music technology, composition and performance techniques, which are led by professionals in their field. There are a number of trips including the chance to attend opera, symphony concerts, musicals and jazz events. Additionally, we aim to take students on a Music tour abroad during Wider Skills Week.

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 Media Studies.

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 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 two externally marked practical units. 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.