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Canon Slade School

Canon Slade School As a Church of England School, we seek to provide
an excellent education within a Christian environment
to fulfil individual potential and to prepare pupils
for life and service in a rapidly changing world. Ora et Labora
Pray and Work

Music Technology - A Level

What does the course aim to do?

The course primarily practical, focussing on recording techniques and composition using technology. As part of the course you will learn how to:

  1. Record music using our purpose built recording studio.
  2. Produce popular music, including editing and adding effects.
  3. Compose music for film, T.V. and adverts
  4. Learn about music history and the development of music technology.

What will I be studying?

There are four areas of study:

Component 1: Recording

Students will use technology to explore a range of techniques for capturing, editing and manipulating sound which will help them understand the impact of music technology on creative processes in the studio. They will then produce a completed mix.

Component 2: Technology Based Composition

Students will develop the skills to create and manipulate sounds in imaginative and creative ways in order to communicate effectively with listeners. This can be through the form of composing soundscapes as well as music for film and TV.

Component 3: Listening and Analysing

The purpose of this component is for students to develop listening and analysing skills through the study of a range of music production techniques used in unfamiliar commercial recordings. The production stages of capture and creating sounds, editing and arranging sounds and mixing will be covered in the examination.

Component 4: Producing and Analysing

This component assesses students’ knowledge of the techniques and principles of music technology through a series of written and practical tasks, in the context of provided audio and MIDI materials. The production stages of sound creation, audio editing and mixing will be covered.

How will I be assessed?

Practical Coursework:

Components 1 – Recording of set song and accompanying log book. (20% of qualification)

Component 2 – Composing to a brief and accompanying log book. (20% of qualification)


Component 3 – Listening Exam (1 hr 30 mins – 25% of qualification)

Component 4 – Practical Exam (2 hrs 15 mins – 35% of the qualification)

Am I suited to this subject?

Music Technology is a wide and relatively new subject area. It combines both artistic music skills (eg listening, analysis, composition, arranging, mixing) and more scientific disciplines (eg human auditory system, basic audio synthesis, audio recording theory, microphone technique). This course is suitable for those who are interested in popular styles of music, and the techniques and developments that have occurred over the past 100 years. It is an excellent subject in it’s own right but also a good complementary subject to the music A-level, as technology is becoming an increasingly important part of the working musicians life. A practical working knowledge of computer operation is essential as this course involves a lot of controlled coursework time all of which involves use of the computer to compose/arrange, record and manipulate music and audio. You will need to have a strong musical understanding as all composed music will need to be original, rather than using pre-recorded loops that some students are familiar with from their NCFE Music Technology course.

Where will it lead in the future?

Music Technology can lead to many areas of further study. If you are a musician, then the benefits of being able to record, compose and understand your own personal instrument on a more technical level is an invaluable skill in the modern music industry. If you are from a science background it may develop your interests in the science of sound, such as acoustics and psycho acoustics. Potential study/employment options are as follows:

  • Music Technology focussed degree programs, both BA and BSc.
  • Theatre and events employment as a sound professional.
  • Writing and arranging music for a variety of mediums (stage, screen etc).
  • Working in the music industry at recording studios or touring with artists.

How will I study?

  • Practical work in class using recording equipment, computers, software and piano keyboard interfaces.
  • Listening, note-taking and written analysis of music.
  • Controlled coursework time.

Music technology is not an easy subject but is very rewarding. You will learn new and challenging skills and to make the most of these it is important that you retain and develop your interest in playing/composing music throughout the course.

Why should I come to Canon Slade to study Music Technology?

  • We have an excellent recording studio and modern computer suite facilities.
  • A resource and talent rich music department with specialist staff.
  • The facilities are constantly being improved and updated to keep up with the fast development of music technology.
  • Opportunities to be regularly involved with our wide-ranging extra-curricular programme.
  • Opportunities to act as a sound technician/musician/artist for our yearly stage productions.