Aiming for Grade A/A* – A Level Music Technology CPD

James will be presenting online for Keynote Educational on 23rd June 2020.

This course will demonstrate how to guide your best students to achieve Grades A and A* in future Pearson/ Edexcel A Level Music Technology examinations.  The course will demonstrate exam-focused teaching and learning ideas for all components which will stretch and challenge able students and develop their higher level skills.

With feedback from an experienced examiner, this course will outline what is expected of high ability students and explore ways to build your teaching practice around this, and in order to secure those sought after A/A* grades for your most able students.


  • Focused on identifying the demands of the grades A and A* and providing strategies and materials to help teachers prepare students effectively
  • A detailed look at the different demands of assessment and questions across the components and papers, linked to the challenges student aiming for higher grades face
  • Take away effective methods to develop students’ critical listening, comparison and evaluation skills for the written papers to maximise the credit they achieve in the exam
  • Take away approaches to aim for full marks in students’ non-examined assessment work

For more details and to book, head over to You will receive a 10% discount if you book using code Keynote14.

New course: A Level Music Technology

James is running a course with JMC INSET on 1st and 3rd July 2020. It will be delivered online, details are below:

  • James is presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides and activities
  • Opportunities for delegate questions and comments
  • A short task between the two sessions
  • A copy of the slides will be made available after the course, along with further materials

This is a one day course split over Wednesday 1st and Friday 3rd July, sessions will be 3pm to 5.30pm on both days. It will consider the following key questions:

  • How can we adapt our teaching to address the skills and content in the new 2017 Music Technology A Level specification
  • What are the new demands on students?
  • How do we develop our students’ skills in comparison and evaluation?
  • Are your students able to demonstrate their AO4 higher level thinking skills to address the extended response questions on Components 3 and 4?
  • How can you design your scheme of work to develop students’ holistic and synoptic skills in the subject?

This course is designed for teachers of Music Technology who are looking to get to grips with the new A Level specification, consider how to most effectively prepare their students for the exams whilst also topping up their own subject knowledge. It will explore new teaching approaches to develop students’ AO4 skills, technical numeracy and to achieve highly on their non examined assessment work. It will also consider the challenges and opportunities associated with the linear exams and how best to handle the content.

For more details and to book, please visit

CGP Revision Guides

After contributing to the original edition a few years ago, James has recently been asked to contribute to the revisions to the GCSE Music 9-1 for AQA Revision Guide for CGP.

He has written chapters based on the analysis of the set works for Paul Simon (Graceland) and for the music Little Shop of Horrors.



Flat Cap Weddings

James has just finished recording the music and editing the video to publicise Flat Cap Brass’s new wedding packages.

Flat Cap Brass are happy to offer our services for weddings. Our aim is to make your wedding day music as memorable as your wedding day! Our standard wedding package is for 2 x 45 minute sets with a six piece band of 2 x trumpet, saxophone, trombone, sousaphone and kit. Included in the price is an arrangement of the song you have picked for your first dance. If you wish to have a larger band, additional horns/percussion are available on request, just get in touch. We also can offer a DJ service for weddings for before/in between and after our sets. Call us to discuss this. This service finishes at midnight (additional hours are available by negotiation). Our full set up includes disco lighting and PA. We can also offer other, smaller ensembles made up of our players, from solo saxophone to traditional brass quintet – call us to discuss this.

James and Simon appear on Look North


Simon and James headed over to Leeds to appear on BBC Yorkshire this evening to talk about the Flat Cap Brass Christmas Appeal in aid of Simon on the Streets. You can watch their cover of Fairytale of New York on YouTube Thanks for inviting us on! There is still time to donate at; you can also stream Fairytale of New York on Spotify and Apple Music, or view the video on YouTube.


Flat Cap Brass Release Version Of Fairytale Of New York To Support Simon On The Streets

Flat Cap Brass have launched their Christmas appeal, producing their own version of the Christmas classic ‘Fairytale of New York’ to raise funds for West Yorkshire based homelessness charity Simon on the Streets.

Musical Director of Flat Cap Brass, Simon Jacobs, who is also Head of Music at Greenhead College in Huddersfield says: ‘We are delighted to be able to support Simon on the Streets with this version of ‘Fairytale of New York’. We hope the video raises awareness of homelessness, whilst also raising a lot of money for the charity.’

James Reevell who co-directs Flat Cap Brass and is Head of Music Technology at Greenhead College recorded the track. He noted that: ‘The video combines recent footage of Flat Cap Brass performing with the outstanding work of Simon on the Streets. In the recording we have tried to recreate that classic Yorkshire Brass Band sound alongside Flat Cap Brass’s unique drum and brass take on a classic Christmas track.’

Flat Cap Brass are happy to perform their version of Fairytale of New York live upon request.


A Level Music Technology Training

It was great to catch up with 35 teachers and Music Technology specialists in London a couple of days ago to discuss the 2017 A Level Music Technology course and how to effectively support our students, along with plenty of chance to share good practice. I’m convinced that this must set a record for the number of Music Technology teachers in one room together!

One of the things we talked about was how to link listening to theory and practice in NEA work – and the importance of a ‘wraparound’ approach to the course to help students understand how everything fits together for their final Component 3 and 4 papers to develop their AO4 skills.


James delivers training for a number of different INSET providers and is happy to visit schools and colleges across the country to support delivery of the course. Get in touch for more details! Please make sure you’ve got a copy of the notes from Keynote Educational if you haven’t received them yet.

Writing the music for ‘A Dark Tour of the Universe’

I have recently been involved in composing music and creating technology-based representations of astronomical data and images for an exciting new project, bridging music and science and working with ESO fellow Chris Harrison to contribute a show that was premiered at the British Science Festival on Friday 13th September 2019. Find out more below, and get in touch to find out more about how I can help with writing music for your project.

Chris led a project to design and produce an astronomical show aimed at people who are blind or visually impaired. A Dark Tour of the Universe offers a tactile experience of the Universe by using 3D models of astronomical images and sonification of real astronomical datasets. The show premieres at the British Science Festival on 13 September 2019.


Image Credit: ESO/M. Zamani , S. Brunier, TRAPPIST/ E. Jehin, EHT Collaboration, Sloan Digital Sky Survey, Millennium Simulation Project, NASA/ Goddard/ SDO, WMAP Science Team

The show starts with stars appearing as they are from the platform of ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, on the night of 13 September 2019. Using real data of position, magnitudes and colours of stars, a beautiful surround-sound effect is created, allowing the audience to listen to the stars appear.

Other highlights of the show include listening to variable stars or to galaxies merging and feeling 3D models of some of ESO’s best astronomical images, including the first picture of a black hole and the 360-degree panoramic image of the Milky Way, taken by our Photo Ambassador Serge Brunier. One of the datasets that has been sonified is related to the discovery of exoplanet NGTS-1b, using the Next Generation Transit Survey (NGTS) instrument at ESO’s Paranal Observatory. NGTS-1b was the third gas giant to had been observed transiting an M-dwarf star.

People who have sight are also encouraged to attend the show. They will gain a lot from the experience, as they will be blindfolded.

The project, in collaboration with BMW, has been shortlisted for the prestigious industrial TCT awards, which are celebrating the innovators, technologies and collaborators behind the leading examples of Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, Design and Engineering across the globe. The awards ceremony will take place on 25 September 2019.

The project was led by ESO Fellow Chris Harrison, who worked with various astronomers at ESO, including other fellows and students. Chris built upon his experience producing planetarium shows for the ESO Supernova as part of his fellow duties, while conducting research at ESO Headquarters in Garching near Munich.

The show was produced together with Nicolas Bonne, a visually impaired astronomer from the University of Portsmouth, who provided valuable insight into how visually impaired astronomers conduct their research. He has also turned images into 3D models and is the presenter of the show.

German company BMW printed 300 3D models for the show, while the international company Arup used their acoustic-consulting team and Sydney-based SoundLab to produce sonified astrophysics concepts and data and created a soundtrack using full surround sound (6.1). Arup’s UK Midlands office provided the technical support required for the premiere showing at the British Science Festival.

James Reevell, a UK musician and teacher, created all of the music and “composer’s impressions” for the show. He used an ESO-produced simulation movie of a black hole as inspiration for one of his compositions.