The title of this post comes from the fact that everyone tells me that my year between my GCSEs and commencement of my employment was a wasted year because I’ve ended up in medicine.
But for me, I can’t call last year (technically Year 12 for me) a wasted year. Sure, I will probably never use the qualification again because of the field of work I’m in but I had a great year where I discovered what I wanted to do and got the chance to relax after the stress of my GCSEs.
I studied a 90 Credit Level 3 Diploma in Music Technology at Gloucestershire College last year and achieved a double distinction-merit. This is a grade I am fairly proud of because my year was disjointed and bitty with my health problems.
I chose to study Music Technology because I studied it at GCSE and wanted to see if it truly was the direction that I wanted to take my career in. My choice of Gloucestershire College was down to a number of factors that I don’t feel relevant to this post but it was an amazing college. I had the support I needed and felt like I was treated as an individual.
My tutors were great and made sure that every lesson was fun and engaging and I do miss them since leaving.
This post is mainly going to be what the course entails and letting people know what Music Tech is like at Level 3. I feel a lot of people are unprepared when it comes to what the course entails and at both Level 2 & 3, a lot of people dropped out or decided to not do the second year.
Music Technology is a lot of hard work and not just messing around with a computer all day.
If you’re looking to just sit and mess about with a computer and instruments and think it’s that easy, you are wrong.
What surprises a lot of people, even at GCSE, is that there is a LOT of written work.
Even for your practical work.
I once wrote an 11 page document on music copyright for an assignment, a 15 page write up of how I created a track and 20 page PowerPoint on why certain decisions were made in relation to a mock magazine I had to create.
If you’re not cool with writing long essays, this may not be the best move.
I would say the written:practical ratio is 60:40 although when you’re on the course it does feel that there’s more written work.
The course covers many areas from copyright to the structure/history of the music industry to music production and to sound for the moving image. My favourite was the music production side of the course because I am not a musician and struggle to produce my own, organic music.
You don’t need to play an instrument to succeed in this course. I can’t play any instrument at all but I do think this helped me because when analyzing music, my ears aren’t tuned to one specific instrument so I can listen to all parts of the song separately.
One trip we went on was to see the Pink Floyd- Their Mortal Remains exhibition at the V&A Museum in London. I’m not a huge Pink Floyd fan but this was a great experience to see some of the items used to produce music that is essentially part of British history.
We did a section of work that involved us doing Foley Sound for a video of our choice. We got given a whole library of sound effects and the opportunity to create our own to put in time with events in the video sequence. I loved doing the sound effects but found composing my own music rather difficult.
I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from the course and know that it will come in handy should I ever decide to go back to music production. I can produce music and my 4 years total studying music production has left me fairly competent in making music.
As I said in the introduction of this post, I don’t see my last year as wasted. I enjoyed the course and came away with a grade I am proud of. I may be looking to work in the medical field (well… DO work in the medical field) but if I ever swap my career focus back to music, I will be perfectly fine!