Music Technology

BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate

Music Technology

Why should I study this course?

If you love music, have an interest in music production and sound engineering, the Music Technology course is for you. Our course will give you a solid understanding of theory for audio engineering, the ability to listen critically to identify faults and make creative improvements to recordings (essential for audio engineers!) and the tools to use synths and sampling to manipulate and create sound.

The course includes lots of opportunities for practical work, developing the skills to record, produce and mix music on Pro Tools, gaining knowledge of microphone types and recording techniques, engineering live sound and set up and maintenance of backline equipment such as guitars and PA rigs. 

Find out how our music students got involved in the latest P Money video!

 

What will I study?

Unit 1 – Live Sound

The role of a live sound engineer can include working with artists across all genres of music in venues ranging from outdoor festivals to stadiums or pubs. A good live sound engineer is often the person responsible for providing a successful and enjoyable performance for musicians and audience alike. A live sound engineer must have a detailed knowledge of equipment and health and safety issues. However, they can often be the one to enhance an artist’s performance, as well as communicating successfully with a range of people, often in high pressure situations.

In this unit, you will learn about the component parts of public address (PA) systems and gain practical experience of using them to mix live sound. You will gain knowledge of the working methods and procedures employed by a live sound engineer, including choosing appropriate equipment, the practical set-up of live sound systems and the other roles involved in live music production.

The skills you develop in this unit will allow you to undertake work as a live sound engineer, which may be a front of house (FOH) engineer or a monitor engineer. The skills developed in mixing live sound can also give you greater insight in terms of undertaking other live sound roles, such as road manager, roadie and backline technician, as well as studio-based production work. This will allow you to progress to freelance work in the industry or to undertake higher education courses related to live sound engineering.

Unit 2 – Studio Recording Techniques

The process of recording music for industry release has developed extensively since the early days of studio recording. However, while recording techniques have spread from the confines of specialist facilities to anyone with a mobile device, the core knowledge of studio recording techniques underpins the essence of creating a good multitrack recording.

In this unit, you will look at the equipment and processes used to record music in a studio and experiment with microphone choice and placement. You will plan and make multitrack recordings of different instruments using studio equipment.

The work for this unit establishes a solid foundation of specific and transferable skills, which you will be able to relate to a wide range of potential employment opportunities in the music industry. While this unit is generally aimed at potential studio engineers and producers, a clear knowledge of the studio recording process is beneficial to personnel across the industry, from studio trainees and home recordists to artist managers and label administrators.

Unit 6 – DAW Production

The digital audio workstation (DAW) has become the primary tool of much of contemporary modern music. With the right skills and knowledge, its power and accessibility allow you to create recordings of a similar standard to those heard in commercial studios, the quality and originality of which is only limited by your imagination. As well as its creative musical possibilities, a DAW can also be used for audio restoration and repair as well as for a wide range of multimedia sound work.

In this unit, you will explore how the features of a DAW can be used to create and develop your own music. You will understand some of the background principals of how a DAW works, along with the associated specialist and technical terms. To complete the assessment task within this unit, you will need to draw on your learning from across your programme.

While this unit covers the fundamental elements of working with a DAW musically, there is much more you can go on to do. The ability to use a DAW competently is central in progression to higher education music technology courses, as well as professional work in recording studios, production, composing, film music and games.

Unit 13 – Mixing and Mastering

The audio mixing and mastering process is the crucial gateway between music creation and the end listener. It is the process by which raw recordings and song arrangements acquire their power and sheen to deliver the greatest impact to the consumer. The mixdown and mastering element of the music production process is where the sonic direction of a recorded performance is realised.

In this unit, you will gain experience in mixing down and mastering multitrack digital audio workstation (DAW) projects. You will also realise a sonic vision for a DAW project to achieve a desired sound.

These skills are an essential element of all aspects of the music and sound industry. They can open the door to many career paths, including mix engineer for music, mastering engineer, audio post-production for film and television, and elements of radio broadcast.

Unit 18 – Working and Developing in a Production Team

A significant feature of the contemporary music industry is the prominence of projects featuring collaborations between artists, producers, MCs and musicians. In this unit, you will contribute to a music project that creates and develops an original piece of music.

You will explore the roles and work involved in carrying out a successful music project, and how the organisation of the production process provides a framework for effective, creative development and control. As well as making a significant contribution to a piece of music, you will also review the work involved to reflect on your contribution to the successful outcome.

You will develop your understanding of the music production process and personal skills such as self-organisation, communication and meeting deadlines. This unit will help you progress to higher education and to employment in recording and song writing.

Examination board

BTEC

How is the course assessed?

The course is structured by assignments and also contains a synoptic assessment.

What will the course prepare me for?

You can progress to a number of careers or higher education from this course. Many of our students go on to university to study music and music technology, creative, media and performing arts courses with great success. Other careers open to you would be roles that required outgoing, confident people who communicate to a high standard. There are many past students who have become professional musicians or work and perform with bands, or are music teachers, entertainers, promoters, and live sound engineers.

Private study

You will be given homework tasks each week. These homework tasks will be something which requires you to think around the subject you are studying and will further your knowledge accordingly. Sometimes you may have to complete an assignment outside of lesson time which may involve writing about, editing or analysing music.

What materials will I need to provide?

You will not need to buy anything apart from a pencil, paper and a pen although a pen drive would be handy to store some of your work.

How will I be taught?

You may be taught multiple units per week by teachers who have expert skills in the units they are teaching you. The lessons will include both theory and practical exploration depending on the topic being covered.

This course is for you if...

You love music, recording and editing music and are creative in your approach. If you enjoy practical work and learning new technological audio skills.

Your application starts here

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What are the course requirements?

Four 9-4 (A*-C) grades at GCSE or equivalent in 3 or more subjects including a minimum grade 3 (D) in GCSE English Language.

It would be advantageous to play an instrument/read guitar tabs or sheet music.

If you are interested in joining the College, we will arrange a meeting with an experienced subject counsellor who will help you to choose courses that best suit your ambitions and achievements.

All entry requirement details are correct at the time of publication; however, the College may need to make some changes in light of student demand, staff availability and external factors beyond the College's control.

What skills do I need?

  • Enthusiasm
  • Commitment
  • Energy
  • Music skills – the ability to play an instrument or sing/read music or guitar tabs to a reasonable standard