AS Music Technology Course Overview

For success in music technology you will need to some key skills. It is worth considering:

1)   How confident am I with Logic and how the application works?

2)   How confident am I with keyboard playing?

3)   Do I feel confident reading treble/bass clef and basic rhythms?

4)   Have I a developed musical ear, and can I pick things out just by listening – instruments, tonality, production effects?

5)  Do I have a broad understanding of the history of modern popular music (1900-today)?

You will be studying these areas during the course, but you should be aware that it is expected that you will develop these areas consistently within your own time also.  There will be a timetable for studio use and a booking sheet for you to make sure that you have spent enough time within the studio throughout the year.  You also have allotted workstation time for completion of sequencing/arranging/production tasks. These times are compulsory, your attendance is monitored.

Portfolio Tasks:

Sequencing Task 1a

For this task you will be required to sequence The Model by Kraftwerk using a skeleton score (that may contain errors!) and an audio recording as precisely as possible using MIDI only. You may not use audio for this task. You will learn how to use Logic for note entry, midi controllers, channel FX and mixdown during this topic and must develop a keen ear for detail and accuracy.

Multitrack Recording Task 1b

You will need to book, rehearse and ensure that a band is ready to play for your multitrack recording in the New Year 2013.  Your role will be:

  • to arrange the piece appropriately for instrumental parts
  • book musicians for recording sessions
  • capture recordings of instrumental parts – sound engineer
  • create a polished final mix – produce the track using appropriate balance, pan, dynamic processing and FX
  • You will also need to use a mixture of recording techniques including a variety of microphone choices and DI, and use between 8-12 tracks in total.

Sequenced Arrangement Task 1c

Deadline for completion – April 2013

You have a choice of two pieces to arrange, you must pick one:

  • California Girls (The Beach Boys)
  • Rolling In The Deep (Adele)

You also have a choice of two styles to arrange your stimulus piece in, this year they are:

  • Dubstep in the style of DJ Fresh, Labrinth and Benga.
  • Disco in the style of ABBA, Donna Summer and The Village People

The exame board (Edexcel) provide a very short score (melody line and chords). You should listen to the original song and get a feel for the melody and harmony used, and then listen to examples of the style that has been given. It is important to try and work out the key features of the style you are working in, and develop the melody and harmony of the original tune. This is also, in some ways, a composition task. You need to make sure that you include high quality, edited sounds and that the instruments sound appropriate to the style that you are in.

6MT02 – Listening Exam:

Externally set exam at the end of the course.

This will cover the history of popular music and recording since 1920 to the present day.  You will also need to be aware of rhythmic devices and be able to read basic rhythmic patterns, melodic patterns and be able to spot differences between printed music and music from a CD.  You will be given two Special Focus Study (Rock ‘n’ Roll & Hip-Hop) areas to explore in greater detail and you will need to write a brief essay in this section of the exam.  This is a listening exam and will be completed on a paper from Edexcel, using just media player.  The exam will last for 1 hour 45 minutes in total.

  • 6MT01 (Portfolio Tasks A, B & C) are worth 60% of your final Music Technology grade at AS
  • 6MT02 (Listening Exam) is worth 40% of your final Music Technology grade at AS

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What do I need to do to ensure success in this course?

  • Make sure that you read and revise the information about the different popular music styles from 1920 to the present day on a regular basis
  • Build your own listening library and regularly visit unfamiliar music styles – you should aim to listen to a new piece of music EVERY day during the entire course.
  • When listening to music try to spend a few minutes every day listening with specific music tech focus in mind, ask your self questions, i.e.: How has this been recorded – live/overdubbed/sequenced/sampled etc? What FX processing is being used? How is panning used? What is the tonality (major or minor)? What guitar techniques are being used?
  • Practice using Logic in your free periods – this is essential.  You must become very familiar with how the application works and how to achieve different results quickly and effectively by the end of this year
  • Practice recording in the studio environment as often as possible
  • Be prepared to make mistakes often, and think logically about how to overcome them
  • Use each others skills and abilities
  • Develop a good awareness of notation – treble/bass clef and drum notation
  • Develop your keyboard skills
  • Develop your listening skills and be able to pick out musical features and production aspects from just listening alone