This course will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve Grades A and A* in future Pearson/ Edexcel A Level Music Technology examinations.  Lead by our highly respected and successful presenter, James Reevell, the course will demonstrate exam-focused teaching and learning ideas for all components which will stretch and challenge able students and develop their higher level skills.

With feedback from an experienced examiner, this course will outline what is expected of high ability students and explore ways to build your teaching practice around this, and in order to secure those sought after A/A* grades for your most able students.


  • Focused on identifying the demands of the grades A and A* and providing strategies and materials to help teachers prepare students effectively
  • A detailed look at the different demands of assessment and questions across the components and papers, linked to the challenges student aiming for higher grades face
  • Take away effective methods to develop students’ critical listening, comparison and evaluation skills for the written papers to maximise the credit they achieve in the exam
  • Take away approaches to aim for full marks in students’ non-examined assessment work
COURSE DATES Online | Wednesday 23 June 2021
  • Heads of Music and Music Technology Departments
  • Teachers of Music Technology
  • Teachers of A level Music Technology returning to teach the course
IN-SCHOOL You can also book this as an In-School Course
  • A specially prepared folder of 50+ pages full of detailed notes, practical advice and guidance
  • Notes prepared by the educational experts leading the course
  • Expert produced PowerPoint presentations
  • CPD Certificate of attendance


Stretch and challenge for able students in A Level Music Technology

  • The key attributes of Grades A and A* students in the classroom – the A Level Music Technology course through the different eyes of students with pre-existing skills / understanding / a passion for Physics or Maths or who has studied GCSE Music.
  • Challenging complacency in the most able learners – teaching strategies to enthuse and inspire students to go beyond what is on the page in front of them.
  • Avoiding potential hazards: what can cost a student their A/A* grade?
  • Higher education – where do the most able learners progress to? What skills are these institutions expecting them to have?

Component 1: Recording: Stretching and Challenging High Ability Students

  • What are the characteristics of A/A* recordings and exemplar work? How teachers can support the best students in manipulating sounds with technical control and style to produce excellent recordings that achieve top band marks in the capture, dynamic processing, EQ and FX mark scheme headings
  • Getting the instrumental requirements right – additional instruments and playing time. How can we refine the task to support able students in making appropriate choices when adapting the arrangement of their chosen song?
  • Aiming for excellence: how can students use the logbook to draw the examiner’s attention to the A/A* grade processes in their recording?


Component 2: Technology-Based Composition: Key Challenges for Grade A/A* students

  • Planning for and supporting students in the greater emphasis on original sound design in this task for A/A* grades
  • Using the musical elements as a basis for technological innovation and to demonstrate effective control and development
  • Successful approaches to style and coherence in responding to the brief
  • Balancing lo-fi approaches with legibility in sampling and recording
  • Moving from B to A/A* – what the examiner wants to see/hear in the three technical areas of the mark scheme – synthesis, sampling and creative effects. How to support students in achieving A/A* grades for their music technology compositions
  • Aiming for excellence: using the logbook as a tool to draw the examiner’s attention to the A/A* grade processes in a composition

Component 3:  Listening and Analysing: the written examination : Key challenges for high ability students

  • Practical strategies to support high ability students in writing a top band extended response questions: what does a grade A/A* candidate need to do and what the examiner wants to see in terms of AO4
  • Listening with criticality: building, supporting and extended higher level critical listening skills in the most able students to maximise their exam achievement
  • Musical effect and the recording eras – working with more able students to quickly move from stating facts to commenting on musical effect and intention; pushing for that top band answer
  • Avoiding complacency – making every mark matter. Targeted A/A* grade feedback from previous exam series that shows how easy it is for students to drop important marks and practical strategies to avoid!

Component 4: Producing and Analysing: How to Gain Grades A/A* in  the written and practical examination

  • Aiming for A/A* – what are the most complicated production techniques and how can we ensure students are comfortable in applying them in an exam context?
  • What is the examiner looking to see in a top band extended response and how can we build and consolidate students’ higher level skills in evaluation and critical judgement? Addressing AO4 to achieve top band answers.
  • The shorter questions: what are the potential pitfalls for A/A* grade students and what is the examiner looking for?
  • Inspiring students to aim for, and achieve high marks and top band answers through further independent study to build breadth as well as depth of knowledge to demonstrate their excellent understanding in an exam.

Q&A, evaluation and close


James Reevell

James Reevell is an experienced teacher of Music and Music Technology, and is currently Subject Leader for Visual and Creative Arts at a sixth form college in the North West of England. As part of this role he is responsible for the leadership and management of both Music courses, Art, Drama and Dance. He has over 5 years examining and assessment experience in Music and Music Technology and has set up both Music and Music Technology courses in a sixth form that went on to be graded as ‘Outstanding’ in its recent OFSTED inspection.  He has also led projects and training on stretch and challenge, effective use of data and effective transition from GCSE Music to A Level. Alongside his teaching role, he has recently been appointed as a Bridge Fellow for Music and Music Technology at the University of Huddersfield.

View all courses led by James Reevell >