Music is a mandatory subject in Stage 4 in which students study musical concepts through performing, composing and listening.

The elective course continues to build on musical experiences and learning ? further developing the knowledge, skills and understanding of a range of musical concepts and a student's own compositions. It is a pathway to studying Music 2 in Stage 6.

For further information follow the link to the NSW 7-10 music syllabus.

Concepts of Music

Concepts of music posters are available to print and display in your classroom via the links below.

Concepts of music resource

This student-centred resource supports understanding of the concepts of music through a range of experiential activities.

Stage 4 programs and resources

Sample scope and sequences

The sample Stage 4 scope and sequence document provides teachers with overviews for programming and assessment in music.

Aboriginal Music program and Harmony day podcast

This resource provides music teachers with a culturally respectful and relevant program deepening connections between teachers and the local AECG and Aboriginal communities. Teachers will address and consider local cultral contexts, values and practices when:

  • inviting a local Elder to deliver a Welcome or Acknowledgement of Country
  • engaging with Traditional Aboriginal Music, The Dreaming and the important messages of contemporary Aboriginal artists and their music
  • guiding student learning through a Harmony day podcast submission.
This unit of work has been written in consultation with the Aboriginal Outcomes and Partnerships team to ensure its cultural integrity, and the Literacy and Numeracy teams for integrated literacy and numeracy activities linked to the Learning Progressions.

Unit downloads

Student-centred Aboriginal music online module now available for online learning.

Year 7 Ukulele program

This Year 7 Ukulele program (DOCX 64.4 KB) provides students with a detailed introduction to the concepts of music (focusing on duration) and allows them to broaden their existing understandings of each of these concepts. Through listening and performing activities students will learn about the main aspects of the concepts of duration ? beat, tempo, metre, time signature and rhythm and will explore the ways in which composers manipulate these concepts for particular purposes. Students will begin to learn to analyse music and will write extended responses discussing the use of duration in musical examples from a range of genres, styles and historical time periods. Students will play increasingly difficult pieces of music from notation and undertake performance activities focusing on developing their skills on the ukulele which will synthesise their theoretical and notational understandings and skills.

Sample units and tasks

This Year 8 unit explores the music of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and addresses the compulsory syllabus topic of Australian music. Students improve their listening, performing and composing skills, using the internet as a research tool, to develop their literacy skills through writing reviews and learning new vocabulary.

The bucket drum is as the name suggests, made from a bucket. The drum is an idiophone as the whole instrument vibrates to produce its sound. It just needs to be hit or struck to make a sound. Many different types of buckets can be used to create different tone colours. Different techniques can be used on the same bucket to create different tone colours as well. The most common bucket used for bucket drumming is a 20 litre plastic bucket.

  • Outcomes to be assessed
  • A student:
  • 4.1 performs in a range of musical styles demonstrating an understanding of musical concepts
  • 4.3 performs music demonstrating solo and/or ensemble awareness
  • 4.4 demonstrates an understanding of musical concepts through exploring, experimenting, improvising, organising, arranging and composing
  • 4.5 notates compositions using traditional and/or non‐traditional notation
  • 4.6 experiments with different forms of technology in the composition process
  • 4.7 demonstrates an understanding of musical concepts through listening, observing, responding, discriminating, analysing, discussing and recording musical ideas
  • 4.12 demonstrates a developing confidence and willingness to engage in performing, composing and listening experiences.
  • Music 7-10 SyllabusExternal link © NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) for and on behalf of the Crown in right of the State of New South Wales, 2003.
  • Task details
  • Create a 16 bar composition for bucket drums. The composition should use at least 1 to 2 rhythmic ostinatos. You will need to perform your composition for the assessment.
  • Your composition must:
  • have a steady beat
  • include notation (at least 2 bars – 1 for each section)
  • use of bucket drum/s
  • be a total of 16 bars in length
  • include two contrasting sections
  • be performed.
  • Resources
  • The following YouTube videos demonstrate how to play a bucket drum.
  • Learning to play bucket drum
  • Bucket beats
  • Marking criteria
  • You will be assessed on how well you:
  • compose your piece (including the techniques you use to enhance the composition)
  • perform as a soloist, demonstrating an understanding of duration.
  • demonstrate an understanding of graphic notation in both composition and performance.
  • Criteria mark range
  • 9 to 10 marks for:
    • Composes a successful and perceptive 16 bar composition which includes multiple parts. 
    • Hightly-developed performance.
    • Demonstrates a high-level understanding of standard notation in both composition and performance.
  • 7 to 8 marks for:
    • Composed a successful 16 bar composition which includes some contrasting parts.
    • Performs with few mistakes.
    • Demonstrates a detailed understanding of standard notation in both composition and performance, though some inaccuracies may be evident in final score.
  • 5 to 6 marks for:
    • Composes 16 bar composition with some contrasting parts.
    • Performs with some mistakes.
    • Demonstrates an understanding of standard notation in composition and performance.
  • 3 to 4 marks for:
    • Attempts to compose a 16 bar composition.
    • Mistakes and/or issues of beat and timing may be evident in performance.
    • Demonstrates a basic understanding of standard notattion in both composition and performance. Many inaccuracies may be evident in final score.
  • 1 to 2 marks for:
    • Some attempt at composing a musical work.
    • Little or no attempt at performance.
    • Demonstrates limited understanding of standard notation.

This task explores creating a movement and piece of music using the theme of trains. Students then compare it to Steve Reich's 'Different Trains' – a three-movement piece for string quartet and tape written by musician Steve Reich in 1988.

Knowledge and skills creative arts - KASCA music framework

The KASCA music framework breaks down the core components of the concepts of music, learning experiences and music contexts into a series of lesson sequences. All lesson sequences come with ready-to-use differentiated learning and teaching resources and are available in an online format through the tabs below and KASCA music framework (PDF 9.4 MB) online version that can be downloaded to your smart device.

Lesson sequences

Stage 5 programs and resources

Sample scope and sequences

The sample Stage 5 scope and sequence documents provide teachers with overviews for programming and assessment in music.

Popular music - concepts of music program, resources and assessment tasks

This unit of work contains a detailed and thorough introduction to the concepts of music through the topic of popular music. Through the learning experiences of composing, performing and listening, students will learn about duration, pitch, structure, texture, tone colour, dynamics and expressive techniques . Furthermore, students will develop their composition and musical literacy skills through a group arrangement and composition assessment.

The 20 week program contains the downloads below.

Australian music - program, assessment task, resources and scores

These resources provide students with a broad understanding of Australian music. During this 10 week program, students explore a range of contemporary genres such as popular music, children’s music, musical theatre, music for television, opera, art music and rock music including music of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists. Through the learning experiences of composition, performance and listening, students will learn about the concepts of music and how these concepts are combined to create musical features which are found within each genre of Australian music. Students will develop their composition and critical thinking skills through a group composition assessment.

Unit downloads

CApture student filmmaking resource

The CApture student filmmaking interactive resource guides Stage 5 creative arts students through the collaborative processes of filmmaking.

Teacher support guide for programming and assessment

A guide to support music teachers in delivering CApture - a Stage 5 creative arts filmmaking resource.

CApture teacher support guide for programming and assessment in Stage 5 music (DOCX 164 KB)

Other resources

Other Voices

Other Voices is a performance, recording and education project based on three new electroacoustic works for flute and electronics by Australian composer/educators Cat Hope, Tristan Coelho and Fiona Hill. It provides access points for young composers, performers and their teachers to explore the potential for combining electronic music with instruments and voice.

This resource includes a digital education kit and three PDF learning packages. They contain detailed lesson plans and resource materials for Stages 4, 5 and 6 (including Music 1 and Music 2). The activities in the kit draw together the key learning areas of composition, musicology, performance and aural skills. The content utilises a range of musical genres from pop to art music, to assist students in their understanding of the electronic genre, and to provide a stepping stone into the art music of today.

Introduction to Other Voices (00:01:43)

A video outlining the available resources.

The collaborative process (00:09:26)

A video outlining the collaborative devising process.

Please note - Imago contains sensitive material that is most suited to Stage 6. Stage 4 and 5 lessons plans have been provided, however, teachers are advised to listen to the music, sensor where appropriate, and express professional judgement when issuing the relevant work to their cohort.

Useful websites

These websites may be useful resources for Stages 4 and 5 music.

  • BBC music is an interactive site including music radio and television programs on demand.
  • Big ears: the original online ear trainer is an online aural drill for practising interval recognition. Suitable for Stages 4 to 6.
  • Five interactive music projects includes background information, worksheets, composition activities and links. Covers a range of styles including hip-hop and west African drumming. Uses streaming audio. Suitable for Stages 4 to 6.
  • The kidszone of the New York Philharmonic website is an interactive and comprehensive introduction to the instruments of the New York Philharmonic through the instrument storage room and musicians lounge. It also contains composition activities, musical games, quizzes and an online lab for making and learning about making musical instruments. Suitable for Stages 2 to 4.
  • Finale Notepad is a free download which provides an easy introduction to computer music notation. It is available for Windows and Apple and easy to use - notes are dragged and dropped onto the staff, lyrics can be added, the music played back, printed and saved. Suitable for Stages 3 to 6.

If you need further assistance with accessibility for any of these resources, please get in touch with us at

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