How much should, A Level Music Tech Student Practice?
Each year I enter into discussions with my team on how we can and should improve our A Level results. We come up with lots of fantastic ideas and various ways of monitoring and assessing the student’s work, most of which never gets implemented or gets implemented with the limited potential of succeeding.
Perfect Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
(Practice = Success)
Here’s the thing! Most A Level Music Tech Student’s don’t practice. Their production activities outside of the classroom are non-existent.
Why is this? The most common excuses we found and how to resolve them.
Over coming the problem!
Excuse 1: I don’t have the software needed to produce music
Solution 1: Practice using a demo or cut down piece of software – Garage band, Ableton live, Cubasis etc.
Excuse 2: I don’t have the resources to practice e.g. headphones, microphone, piano, guitar, drums.
Solution 2.1: Use a built-in microphone from your device or the headphones from your iPhone, use a keyboard, guitar or finger-drumming app e.g. the ones built into garage band will work just fine,
Solution 2.2: If you are going to take this subject further you need to invest in entry-level equipment e.g. a MIDI controller and a USB microphone
Excuse 3: I don’t have anything to practice or I don’t know what to practice?
Solution 3.1: Set yourself up with a weekly plan of action like the one we’ve provided below to get you started
Solution 3.2: Learn to play an instrument or several e.g. Keyboard, Drums, guitar, singing
Solution 3.3: Practice your music theory
Solution 3.4: Practice your production skills and knowledge
Solution 3.5: Learn new skills and improve your workflow
Program of Study 1: A few years ago we devised a program of study to help out with all of these areas – (Summer School 2015)
Excuse 4: I don’t have the time to practice?
Solution: What grade would you like to achieve in this course?
Get your students to answer the following questions:
3. On average how much do you think your classmates practice each week
Over the past 6 years of teaching this qualification we have found that students consistently practicing for more than 5 hours a week have a higher likeliness of achieving a grade of C or above.
We have also found that students, who do no practice or are not consistent with their practice outside of class time, rarely achieve higher than a D grade.
But this isn’t the whole story. Another factor is what and how you practice! Setting yourself a good schedule and not getting distracted during practice time will help speed up your progress.
Here’s a practice schedule to start with
Total hours practiced this week = 5hrs
If you were to use the above model and adapt it each week for the next 30 weeks you would have practiced enough to confidently secured a C or above grade in music technology.
But remember: It’s not enough to just say you’ve done it, you actually have to do it!