Tuesday 10 February 2021

CODE: 7942


Led by James Reevell, author of resources for the music technology course, examiner and head of department in a large sixth form college, this new and strongly focused student webinar will break down the core content students need to know for exam success. It will consider how students can best prepare for the demands of the exam, using feedback from previous series and strategies from his own practice. The webinar will explore common pitfalls students experience when answering questions on technical numeracy and when learning this content in the classroom. It will break down what students need to do pick up these marks consistently in the component 4 exam, along with the depth and breadth students should approach these topics in.

Technical numeracy is a new particular area of challenge for students studying A Level Music Technology and thus during the session, James will discuss ways to avoid the initial panic and focus on practical strategies associated with the key topics of interpreting graphical data, sample rate and bit depth, performing calculations associated with frequency, frequencies and harmonics, interpreting MIDI data and binary.


  • Consider how to best prepare for the interpreting and discussing graphical data questions in the component 4 exam using previous exam feedback and exploring common pitfalls
  • Decoding the maths – the key calculations needed and the question types students should prepare for, along with how to decode what they mean in the exam
  • Consider what the examiner is looking for when assessing these questions and areas that cause more difficulty for year 13 students


4:00pm: Welcome and Introduction

4:05pm:  Data and graphs – strategies for drawing and interpreting  

  • Interpreting frequency response and EQ graphs
  • Polar response graphs and analysing their effect on the sound captured
  • Drawing graphs to represent different types of compression
  • Matching envelopes to their sound
  • Phase difference and how this can be graphically represented
  • Interpreting data – what the examiner wants to see and how to prepare students for this kind of question

4:30pm: The impact of sample rate and bit depth – teaching for exam success                                  

  • A brief introduction to digital audio and the sampling process
  • Exploring how Nyquist’s theorem helps us to capture audio
  • Bit depth and dynamic range
  • Sample rate and frequency response
  • Applying bit depth and sample rate – what the examiner is looking for and how could these concepts be assessed

4:50-5:15 – Calculations – decoding the maths to support students  

  • Frequency calculations: octaves and fifths
  • Converting between decimal and binary
  • An overview of the logarithmic scales used in music technology
  • Calculating delay time from BPM
  • Putting it into the context of the exam – what is the paper looking for and how to best prepare your students with examiner advice


James Reevell

James is currently Head of Music Technology at Greenhead College in Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, which has a national reputation for academic excellence and has a large, thriving music department, delivering A Level Music and Music Technology along with BTEC Music Performance. James also is a consultant and advisor for Music and Music Technology across the UK, working with secondary schools and colleges to deliver CPD and to help with planning, resourcing, teaching and learning and assessment. James has worked as a Head of Visual and Creative Arts with responsibility for A Level courses in Art, Dance, Drama, Music and Music Technology at Rochdale Sixth Form College. The college was rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted in 2013, and students’ progress in music technology was described as exceptional; the college has since topped the sixth form college performance tables for value added for the best part of a decade. James has authored revision and study guides for A Level Music, Music Technology and GCSE Music for Rhinegold Education and CGP Revision Guides. He delivers teacher training with a particular focus on Music Technology and popular music, alongside his commitments as an examiner. He also is co-director of ‘Flat Cap Brass’ who have a busy performance schedule at festivals, weddings and corporate events. James recently composed the soundtrack and series of ‘composers’ impressions’ for pioneering project ‘A Dark Tour of the Universe’, which premiered at the British Science Festival in September 2019.