Wednesday 21 October 2020 – 4pm

Code: 7958


This new teacher webinar will focus on what is required in the technical numeracy aspects of A Level Music Technology. Led by experienced author, examiner and head of department, James Reevell, it will discuss the core content students need to know for exam success, and how to best prepare your students for the demands of the exam, using feedback from previous series and strategies from his own practice. Technical numeracy is a particular area of challenge for students and thus during the session, James will discuss ways to avoid the initial panic and focus on practical strategies to deliver the content in the classroom as well as relating this to the demands of the component 4 exam. The webinar will focus on 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 your students for the interpreting and discussing graphical data questions in the component 4 exam
  • Decoding the maths – key calculations needed and the question types students should prepare for
  • Prepare for the question types students are likely to see – and how they can decode what they mean in the exam
  • Consider what students need to know about sample rate and bit depth and how they can apply this to the exam context


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 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.