NATIONAL DIPLOMA IN MUSIC TECHNOLOGY
::What is a National Diploma::
A National Diploma (BTEC) is a qualification rated at Level 3 for the National Qualifications Framework. The National Framework covers all education from secondary school up to universities and with the BTEC National Diploma being at Level 3 out of 9 Levels, it's the base to a higher educational future. It is equivalent to A Levels in UCAS points. BTEC National Diploma's are designed for vocational courses showing more work-related tasks and learning.
A National Diploma is split up into modules; each getting graded No Pass, Pass, Merit or Distinction. Each grade is a number of points towards final UCAS total points. The final award for a National Diploma is based on three grades altogether (e.g Merit-Merit-Pass, Distinction-Merit-Merit etc). If a the candidate gets the full award of Distinction-Distinction-Distinction that is a total of 360 UCAS points, equivalent to 3 'A' graded A Levels.
::ND Music Technology::
The National Diploma in Music Technology is only currently supported by the Edexcel Board. The course consists of 18 units split over a 2 year period. There are 5 core units which have to be completed by all institutions or colleges with a following 13 specialist subjects which the institution then pick themselves. This may be for what they can teach best due to their facilities or lecturers experience.
The core subjects at my time of study were:-
- The Music Industry
- Listening Skills
- Sound Recording Techniques
- Studio Production Process
- Studio Production Major Project
Other subjects I studied were MIDI Sequencing, Music Theory, Live Sound, Introduction to Acoustics, Music in Context and several others.
The subject areas were very broad within the music industry. By learning such a variety of areas it opens up a lot of doors for several different opportunities within the industry. As each subject is covered with a great amount of practical and written work and studied for long periods of time, I believe it gives you a lot more knowledge than a standard A Level Music Technology class. After all, you're doing the equivalent to 3. I see this as a very good experience for both employment and higher education.
If deciding to go into the industry straight after this qualification you will have a vast knowledge of the areas compared to an A Level student. If you decide to go into Higher Education however, you have a broader knowledge and will get on better ideally during the first year.
The course is very practical based and is very similar to work related life. For the major project we were put into production teams and had to organize a production without any help from a lecturer. This included finding artists, musicians, songwriters and even doing the production ourselves. This put a lot of independence in our work.
Also, with such a vast array of subject areas, it doesn't limit what you may want to continue with. As the course opens many doors on a basic ground level, you can then decide to pursue this for a possible career by either going to employment of a similar area in Higher Education.
I believe that anyone who doesn't want to go into college feeling like they're back at school, or prefer's the hands on vocational approach to learning, this is the perfect course. Like mentioned, the subjects chosen depend on college facilities but there will always be a broad range with 18 different and separate units.
I think it has helped me a lot in my learning and even my work as a whole, teaching a lot of individual as well as group based learning. I completed this course after the 2 year period and finished with a Distinction-Distinction-Distinction award being 3 'A' grades at A Level on UCAS points. This got me accepted to all of my universities which I further applied for and I couldn't be happier that I took this course. If you're interested at all, it's definitely worth a read up on!