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Advice for teachers -

Music Investigation Units 3–4

Developing a program

Teachers should use the study design and this advice to develop a teaching and learning program that includes appropriate learning activities to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills identified in the outcomes in each unit.

Music Investigation is a ‘portfolio’ study in that the Investigation Topic they select scaffolds each student’s learning. Students may complete the study as a member of a group or as a soloist. Students enrolling in VCE Music Investigation Units 3 and 4 will have diverse music interests, and, a preference for the particular style, genre, ensemble type, performer/s, composer/s or music works they’re intending to study through their Investigation Topic. Others will have general music interests but won’t have ‘pre-determined’ their preferred Investigation Topic.

The learning program needs to begin with activities that allow students to explore their options. Each student needs to frame and test potential Investigation Topics for breadth, depth and their capacity to generate the required work – a research report, exercises and a composition/arrangement or improvisation and a performance program of at least four works. Each Investigation Topic must be based on a work selected from a current VCAA Prescribed list or an approved Alternative Work.

Communication between students and teachers should also be planned and monitored. All teachers involved in delivery of the study need to combine their specialist skills and knowledge to deliver a course that meets the needs of each student. Planning also needs to consider the learning context and ensure that relationships between areas of study will be developed, particularly where more than one teacher has responsibility for delivering aspects of the course.


Group and solo performance (docx - 67.49kb)

Connecting Areas of study (docx - 69.95kb)

Teaching roles and communication (docx - 70.24kb)

Composition. Improvisation. Creating Technical Exercises For Instruments and Voices (docx - 68.45kb)

Cross-study specifications (docx - 71.13kb)

Context (docx - 67.19kb)

Authentication (docx - 68.08kb)

Identifying and developing an Investigation Topic

When they select these units, students’ first task is to nominate an Investigation Topic and identify a work from a prescribed list that will serve as a starting point/basis for their study. Students are strongly advised to select an Investigation Topic that they find interesting and that will allow them to complete study requirements at the highest level. Investigation Topics can be derived from all music styles, genres or approaches to performance but not all styles, genres or approaches to performance offer scope for the student to demonstrate appropriately the sophisticated learning required to achieve at the highest levels in a VCE study. Identify an approach that will allow the student to work in a preferred style or genre and meet assessment requirements. The Investigation Topic should also complement the student’s experience and abilities as a performer and challenge them to develop their knowledge and expertise. The repertoire associated with the Investigation Topic needs to be broad enough for the student to build a performance program of works that are diverse in character and that meets study design requirements.

Students who are undertaking these units as a member of a group are most likely to select an Investigation Topic that is different from, but complementary to, Topics selected by other group members, for example bass solos in jazz fusion and drumming techniques used in jazz fusion.

Listening and analysing a ‘sample of works’

Students will spend considerable time across Units 3 and 4 locating, listening to and analysing (aural and/or visual) a broad and diverse range of music connected to their Investigation Topic. Study of this ‘sample of works’ will inform development of the performance program. Students might use formats such as structured questions or a listening diary template to guide this work. It is also important that they apply findings, for example, about characteristic manipulation of expressive elements or use of performance conventions to their own practice. This learning should inform their decision-making about the interpretation and presentation of each work in their performance program.

Teaching roles

Music Investigation can be delivered primarily through the instrumental program or the classroom music program or instrumental and classroom teachers can work collaboratively to deliver the study. The roles of each teacher must be clear to the student and the teacher/s. Where a student’s instrumental music teacher is not on the school staff, establishing expectations about delivery of specific aspects of these units will be crucial. In this situation a plan that outlines how information and requirements will be communicated, including expectations regarding monitoring of teaching and learning and assessment requirements, should be used. Decisions about teaching roles should reflect the complex interrelationships between the areas of study, and planning should consider how each student’s learning will be monitored.