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Pearson A-Level Music Technology: Challenging Students to Achieve A and A*

Course Code:


This course is designed for all teachers of Pearson A-Level Music Technology. The aim of the course is to help teachers to fine-tune students’ performances so that they can achieve the highest grades. The course will explore the characteristics of A/A* students identified in research and why and how we must challenge our most able music Technology students. We will analyse what is expected at the top end of the mark range and explore active strategies to build your teaching practice around this to effectively stretch and challenge students.


  • Gain teaching approaches and methods for all sections of the music technology course
  • Examine in detail the most challenging areas of the course
  • Develop greater understanding of the precision and detail that examiners are looking for in A/A* students
  • Find out more about the barriers to progression and ways to support highly able students to overcome them
  • A detailed look at the different demands of questions and how to prepare students to answer then effectively
  • Take away a range of  innovative teaching ideas and electronic resources to help advance your most able students


A-Level Music Technology: Overview and Key Messages

10.00 – 11.00am
  • Student profile – top level students
  • Grade A/A* students work, how they perform in Recording, Composition, Listening and analysing/ written work, producing and analyzing
  • How do students miss out on an A/A*? Simple starters
  • The standard– an overview of work that is A/A* grade and discussion

Morning break

10.45– 11.00am

Component 1: Recordings – The key challenges for A/A* students

11.00 – 11.45pm
  •  What are the characteristics of outstanding A/A* recordings? – detail of Capture – Editing – Production
  • Treating the brief as an exam question
  • Instrumental combinations /mark schemes
  • The importance of drum and vocals
  • Planning for recording work and the stages of recording
  • Year 12 as preparation for Year 13 – where students get caught out
  • Logbook Focus – common issues with the logbook

Component 2 – key Challenges for Grade A/A* students

11.45 – 12.30pm
  • Quick overview: the different briefs, what students need to do
  • What are the characteristics of outstanding A/A* recordings? – Capture – Editing – Production
  • What isn’t going to work for composition?
  • Best practice in composition which will access the top grades
  • A structured approach to Year 12 to secure top grades in Year 13
  • Developing the musical elements
  • Attaining top grades in the use of technology in sampling, synthesis and creative effects
  • Assessment and discussion of exemplar compositions at top grades
  • The logbook


12.30 – 1.30pm

Listening and Analysing – Component 3

1.30 – 2.30pm
  •  Feedback from the most recent exams, common mistakes when answering questions in component 3
  • The extended response questions – teaching strategies to support able students
  • Listening with criticality: building, and extending skills in the most able students
  • Ways to stretch and challenge top grade students in the comparison question
  • Exam technique and tactics – sitting the paper as a student
  • Assessment and Exam preparation – examples of past papers and how best to prepare; introducing AO3 and AO4

Afternoon Break

3.00 – 3.05pm

Producing and Analysing – Component 4

3.05 – 3.45pm
  •  Aiming for A/A* – easy ways A/A* students slip up in the audio
  • Principles for this paper/what makes a difference?
  • The importance of precise and accurate technical terminology
  • The shorter 8 mark evaluation question – in detail
  • Examples of building the ‘wrap-around’ skills for success in Component 4
  • What is the examiner looking to see in a top band extended response?

Producing and Analysing – Component 4

3.45 – 4.00pm
  • Assessment
  • Examples of teaching ideas and strategies
  • Overview and discussion of previous question 6 examples and student responses


London | Tuesday 28 November 2023

Please select your preferred date

London | Monday 28 November 2023

This course, tailored to suit, can be delivered in your school. Discuss this further with our CPD team on 01625 532974 or click below to make an enquiry.


James Reevell is currently Head of Music Technology at Greenhead College in West Yorkshire and has over a decade of experience as an examiner, trainer and author. Greenhead was recently featured in the Sunday Times as the highest ranked state-funded sixth form college in the North of England. James has contributed to and authored study and revision guides published by Rhinegold and CGP and he delivers nationwide training to teachers with a particular focus on Music Technology and Popular Music.


  • Heads of Music and Music Technology Departments
  • Teachers of Music Technology
  • Teachers of A-Level Music Technology returning to teach the course


  • A Specially prepared notes, practical advice and guidance by the course leader
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance

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