Music Technology

BTEC Level 3 Extended Certificate

Music Technology* is a Tech Level qualification, equivalent in size to one A Level. It is designed for students who wish to compose, record, arrange and mix music for commercial release and for use in film, TV and video game. It provides good preparation for learners considering a career in digital music production. When taken alongside further Level 3 qualifications, it supports access to a range of higher education courses in music production and the wider music industry. As well as direct entry to employment, this qualification will prepare learners for higher study of a specialist degree. This route gives learners the opportunity to enter the music sector at a higher level, or in a more specialist role.

No prior study of the sector is needed but learners should normally have a range of achievement at Level 2, in GCSEs or equivalent qualifications, including Music, English and Mathematics. A grade 5 or above in an instrument would be an advantage and a basic understanding of rhythm and melody is essential.

Audio or video evidence of performing on an instrument or past compositions are good ways to effectively demonstrate your suitability for the course. This process will happen as part of Wyke Start.

*Please note that the official name of this course is: The Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Certificate in Digital Music Production.

A combination of internal and externally assessed coursework and an external exam. 

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EXAM BOARD

Pearson

 

THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT AT WYKE SIXTH FORM COLLEGE

The Music Department cultivates an ethos of hard work, high standards and high expectations from both staff and students to enable all students to fulfil their musical potential through performances, academic study and through the music composed during their time at Wyke Sixth Form College.

The Music Department has a range of specialist equipment available to Music Technology students. This includes a state of art recording studio with a selection of microphones and instruments all to be used in an acoustically treated space. Each student will have access to a DAW (digital audio workstation) for classroom lessons. These machines have a MIDI keyboard, USB soundcard, headphones, duel monitoring screens and run Cubase and Cakewalk software. The recording studio can be booked exclusively for use by music technology students and instrument tuition is provided at a discounted rate. To coincide with this, students can book rehearsal rooms which are all equipped with a piano.

 

COURSE DETAILS

The course consists of 5 modules, 4 of which are internally assessed through coursework and one double points unit which is an externally assessed practical activity undertaken in exam conditions.

 

YEAR 1

Mixing and Mastering Techniques (Unit 13)

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 your desired sound mimicking professional mixing and mastering techniques as taught by your tutor.

 

Music and Sound for Media (Unit 3) 

This unit focuses on producing sounds and providing music for a range of media products, such as games, films and apps. In this unit, you will explore a range of music and sound creation scenarios that might exist in a typical portfolio for someone working in the music industry. You will create and produce music for games and films, as well as create original sounds, noises and effects to support on-screen actions.

 

YEAR 2

Commercial Music Production (Unit 16)

In this unit, you will develop the technical skills required to produce modern, commercially driven songs, and also explore the creative techniques which help to define the sound of commercial music.

The creatively disciplined, business orientated, and highly competitive area of commercial music remains the key interest of the major financial forces behind the music industry. Commercial music is a constant in the ever-shifting musical landscape, making it highly desirable for the student of music technology to have an understanding of this key area.

Mixing and Reworking (Unit 10)

In this unit, you will experiment with unique, creative digital audio workstation (DAW)-based techniques associated with remixing. The skills learned will enable you to manipulate music in highly technical and innovative ways, and you will create a portfolio of contrasting remixes and reworks using a wide range of creative audio and musical instrument digital interface (MIDI) sequencing techniques.

 

DAW Production (Unit 6) DOUBLE POINTS UNIT – EXTERNALLY ASSESSED

In this unit, you will explore how the features of a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) can be used to create and develop your own music. At Wyke Sixth Form College the DAW we use is Cubase. 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.

The assessment for this unit will be done in exam conditions at the end of your second year of study.

 

HOW IS THE COURSE DELIVERED?

Students receive 4 lessons per week with the Music Production teacher, Steve Cutler. The lessons are split between delivery of theory and practical exercises undertaken by students. A lot of lesson time will be spent completing course work (research, essay writing and practical computer-based work) under the supervision of your Music Production Tutor. Access to the computers and software is vital in order to successfully complete coursework. Very high attendance is necessary, as is the ability to run a DAW from home. Free DAW’s are available on windows (Cakewalk) and mac-based computers (Garage Band).

 

DEPARTMENTAL ENRICHMENT

In addition to academic courses, the department thrives on its practical work. Music ensembles exist as enrichment for both examination and non-examination students.

There is a busy schedule of weekly rehearsals and a diverse range of groups including choir, orchestra, wind, string and brass ensembles, chamber groups and jazz orchestra are all offered to students.

There is also the opportunity for students to perform as soloists or in a band during our half termly concerts at ‘Wyke Sesh’. A Christmas concert and Wyke Fest are also excellent opportunities for students to perform.

For those who don’t play a traditional instrument we also offer enrichment in the organisation of concerts. This includes experience of stage management, booking, advertising, marketing and the setting up and operation of sound and lighting.

 

WHAT DOES THIS COURSE LEAD TO?

This course provides an excellent platform for those wishing to study a music production based degree at higher education, start an apprenticeship with a music technology company or enter the music industry in full term employment as well as being self-employed which many music / sound professionals are.

Careers can include studio producer, recording engineer, live sound engineer, plug-in / DAW design engineer, speaker / microphone manufacturer, musician, song writer, Foley artist, sound designer (for film, game, apps and TV) or any combination of the above roles.

 

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP PREPARE ME FOR THE COURSE?

The most important thing to ensure before you start this course is that your musical skills are good. This includes playing, analysing and composing music. You should listen to a diverse range of music and try to analyse its key components. Playing keyboard would be a huge advantage as the MIDI keyboard is used to compose and write information for all software instruments in Cubase. Having some experience of using Cubase or other DAWs (e.g. ProTools, Logic, Abelton, Reaper, FL studio, Garageband) would be an advantage as all practical activities will be undertaken using DAW software.

 

RECOMMENDED DOCUMENTARIES

Sound City, The Defiant Ones, The Sound of Cinema, The ‘Classic Album’ series, Sonic Highways, Synth Britannia, Tom Dowd & the language of Music, Scratch, Sample This, The Wrecking Crew, I Dream of Wires.

 

RECOMMENDED LISTENING

Queen, The Beatles, Beethoven, Kate Bush, The Rolling Stones, Fat Boy Slim, Hot Chip, Roxy Music, Nirvana, Otis Redding, Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Miles Davis, LCD Soundsystem, Outkast, Death Grips, The Prodigy, Beastie Boys, Public Enemy, Beyoncé, Curtis Mayfield, Kamasi Washington, Bob Marley, Fleetwood Mac, The Fugees, Hans Zimmer, Radiohead, DJ shadow, Tom Waits, Blur, The Arctic Monkeys, Spencer Davis Group, Goldie, Sonic Youth, Dr Dre, Django Reinhardt, Chemical Brothers, Portishead, Stormzy, Daft Punk, Eminem, Mozart, Pink Floyd, The Clash, The Specials, Al Green, Iggy Pop.

Each unit will be assessed based on coursework with some being externally examined.

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