Music

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.

Further information and teaching support is available on music resources and the NSW 7-10 music syllabus.

Aboriginal Music program and Harmony day podcast

Stage 4

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



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

Stage 5

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.

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 an e-book (PDF 9.41MB) version that can be downloaded to your smart device.

Lesson sequences

Concepts of music - duration -tempo

Students will explore the Italian terms of Lento, Andante, Moderato, Allegro and Presto.

Concepts of music - duration - simple note values

Through movement and mathematics, students will kinaesthetically reinforce their knowledge of note values and note names.

The functions of music in film

These lessons explore the use and characteristics of music within seven identifiable functions in film.

Instruments of the orchestra

Students will explore the instruments of the orchestra through a Prezi containing a series of videos.

Instruments of the world

Students will categorise instruments from other countries according to their source of sound production.

Performance and composition for non-melodic percussion

Students will develop 21st century skills of collaboration, communication and creativity through simple rhythmic compositions and group performance.

Concepts of music - pitch - treble clef notes

Pitch refers to highness and lowness of sound. There are seven letters (pitch names) in the musical alphabet. Students will learn how to read these on the staff and write short, simple compositions in the treble clef.

Concepts of music - pitch - bass clef notes

Pitch refers to highness and lowness of sound. There are seven letters (pitch names) in the musical alphabet. Students will learn how to read these on the staff and write short, simple compositions in the bass clef.

Pentatonic percussion

Group/individual composition and performance of pentatonic tunes on melodic percussion instruments.

Beginner keyboard

A theory and practical unit teaching students simple keyboard repertoire for the right and left hands.

Graphic notation

Students will explore graphic scores and composers who have used them, through composition, performance and aural activities.

Analysing popular music

An aural based unit where students will learn about the structure of popular music, standard instruments in a rock band and their roles as well as appropriate terminology and concepts of music characteristic of different genres.

Video game music

An aural analysis of music from different video games

Program music

Students will explore the programmatic works of composers, through aural, performance and composition activities.

Plain versions of the handouts for these lesson sequences are available for download as word documents.

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.

Concepts of Music

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

Year 7 Ukulele program

This unit of work (DOCX 64.38KB) 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 Syllabus © 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.

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.

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.
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