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Level: 3

Location: Joseph Wright Centre

Years: 2

Interview: Y

Course Summary

This Advanced Level 3 qualification is designed for learners aged 16 years or over who have already achieved GCSE grade 4 [C] in both English and maths and want to continue to study Music Technology through applied learning to progress to Higher Education or professional vocational training.

The Advanced Music Production: Digital Pathway has been specifically designed for students wishing to study a creative subject that combines IT, plus work experience, tutorial and personal and professional development.

The qualification is not just about being able to perform on stage; it will provide you with the skills, knowledge and understanding to progress into Higher Education or professional vocational training on a Music Production programme or specialist Music Technology degree.

The Applied General in Music Production is designed to be the substantial part of your study programme; however, it can be studied alongside other applied General qualifications including IT, helping you develop the skills and knowledge that are needed in the Performing Arts industry.

The world of music production is increasingly linked to innovations within technology. To be successful within this field of work, you need to understand the technology and tools that are available to music makers.

This qualification is suitable for learners;

  • Who want to progress into Music-related apprenticeships
  • Who want to gain a level 3 qualification to support further study in Further Education (FE)
  • Who want to progress to Higher Education (HE) in Music Production /Music Technology

To be a performer requires commitment and dedication to personal and professional improvement. To secure work, the musician will need to be competent in a range of styles and genres: the course encourages the development of music skills in a variety of possible performance opportunities to prepare you for the realities of employment.

Entry requirements

Typically, you will have at least 4 GCSE’s A*- C, including English Language, maths and a Performing Arts based qualification, alternatively you may have a relevant Intermediate qualification at Merit or above, along with GCSE grade 4/grade C English Language and maths.

Importantly a University application will probably require both English Language and maths at grade 4/grade C or above.

In addition to the entry requirements above, you will also need to attend a full-day audition, where your practical skills and potential will be assessed.

Course Content

Component 1: Music Production. On the Music Production pathway, you will familiarise yourself with the main components of current music production techniques and gain a comprehensive understanding of how they are used to create music. You will explore a broad range of compositional ideas and influences to inspire current music creation possibilities, but at the same time, reflect on the range from traditional western classical, jazz and popular styles as a creative stimulus.

You will study the following mandatory units:

  • Prepare to work in the Performing Arts sector
  • Proposal for a commissioning brief
  • Influential performance practice

These units will give you an understanding of Music Production in wider contexts, including the way the sector works, job roles, progression opportunities, how to build strategies for sustaining a freelance career and how to plan and develop projects. You will study the work of Music practitioners and learn how to demonstrate practical ideas for performance. You will also bring all of your skills together to perform group work and evaluate your skills.

In addition to the mandatory units, you will study four optional units from your subject specific pathway Music Production.

Component 2: Information Technology [IT] will provide you with the opportunity through applied learning to develop core principles and specialist knowledge and understanding required in the IT and Creative sectors.

You will take two mandatory units to achieve this qualification, Fundamentals of IT and Global information systems, both of which are externally assessed. The units provide you with an insight into the IT sector as they investigate the pace of technological change, IT infrastructure, the flow of information on a global scale and important legal and security considerations.

The mandatory units also assist in the development of transferrable skills valued by Higher Education institutions such as communication and problem solving.

How will I be assessed?

Component 1: Music Production. To achieve this qualification, you must complete between 6 and 7 units consisting of;

  • 3 mandatory externally assessed units
  • 1 mandatory pathway internally assessed unit
  • 2 - 3 further units centre- assessed and externally moderated. The units will depend on the pathway selected.

Component 2: Information Technology [IT] To achieve this qualification, you must complete;

  • Unit 1 and 2 are mandatory
  • Both units are externally examined

If you don’t achieve a pass in a unit it will be unclassified. You must get at least a pass for every unit to be awarded the qualification.

Qualifications are graded using a Pass, Merit, Distinction, Distinction* (and Unclassified) structure.

Are there any additional costs or specialist equipment required?

You will need to have your own pair of headphones and a USB memory stick.  You will also need to have your own instrument where applicable.

What can I do after this course?

The content of the course has been developed with universities, professional performing arts colleges, theatres and individual professionals in the sector. Such collaboration ensures that this qualification will support your progression to higher education or professional vocational training and will give you the specific skills that you need to build a successful career in the performing arts


This course is run at the Joseph Wright Centre

About Joseph Wright Centre »

Jacob Holmes

Jacob Holmes

Set to make some noise in the music industry

Music Technology learner Jacob Holmes chose his course after meeting Derby College tutors at an information evening. He says they were so passionate and enthusiastic about their subject, he was immediately inspired to enrol.

The decision turned out to be a sound one. He is now preparing for higher education at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London, with a view to a career in the live sound and theatre industry.

Jacob has also won applause for his exceptional commitment to his studies. Keen to develop his skills and understanding, he undertook sound and lighting operations at extra-curricular gigs and performances – both in-house and at external venues – and proved to be an essential part of any technical team.

His dedication earned him the Media, Music and Performing Arts prize, sponsored by the Derby Telegraph, at our 2014 Peak Awards.

The tutors at Derby College are so helpful. They really care about the learners and their progress, which pushes you to work harder.
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