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Advice for teachers -

Unit 4​ Music Investigation

Sample approach to developing an assessment task

Area of Study 2​


​This task focuses on composition, improvisation or arrangement of a solo or group work to demonstrate understanding of characteristics and performance techniques of a music style and/or genre relevant to the Investigation Topic selected by the student. Students also document, rehearse and perform the work and explain how it is representative of the music style, tradition and/or genre. Students may build on work completed for Unit 3 Outcome 2

Task design

The task is based on Area of study 2, Composition/arrangement/improvisation and draws on Outcome 2 and all associated key knowledge and key skills.

The task design needs to allow for equity across the class whilst catering for the needs of individual students. For example, students focusing on a jazz performance style are most likely to select improvisation whereas a student focusing on reimagining works from one instrumental tradition for another might choose arrangement.

Expectations and requirements relevant to each section of the task should be included in the instructions provided to students. For example, the expected duration of the work, documentation formats (score, chart, screenshots, composer’s journal etc.), performance context, use of software, hardware and other equipment, the expected duration of the complete work, for example, 1–2 minutes and number/type of questions for the ‘explanation’ component of the task. Additional information outlining the stages/activities involved in preparing for the task might also be provided. For example the task instructions provided to students might include a timeline or a sample framework for the oral/multimedia presentation.

Information about the equipment available for each section of the task and instructions about students’ responsibilities for providing additional equipment/resources might also be provided.

Task conditions

The task is worth 100 marks and contributes 20 per cent of the study score for Music Investigation.

The composition/improvisation/arrangement should be completed over an extended period. Documentation such as a score or chart and/or a composer’s journal should be developed as the work is created. Time should then be allocated for rehearsal and performance of the work. The ‘explanation’ component of the task can be completed as part of the performance or at another time. For example, students could be provided with a brief or series of questions during a class just prior to the performance and given time to prepare a statement or notes about their work. They present this statement orally as an introduction to the performance.

The questions or prompts for the explanation section of the task should not be published prior to the task.

Other conditions may refer to use of technology, the performance format (for example, in class, concert) or use of notes and other material to prepare an oral/multimedia presentation that explains how the work is representative of a style or genre.

Where possible all students in a class should be assessed under common conditions, for example, a panel including the classroom teacher and the students’ instrumental teachers will assess all students in the class.


Preparation for the task begins at the commencement of Unit 4 and can include a number of stages. For example, class/instrumental lesson activities might focus on methodologies or creative processes for composing, improvising or arranging or students might evaluate material from research undertaken in Unit 3 to identify musical material as a starting point for the work. Students might write a brief for the work or create a plan/diagram showing intended sections and features of the work.

Preparing and writing the task

Teachers may provide a framework that outlines requirements for the task whilst allowing flexibility for individual students. For example:

Section 1: a composition, improvisation or arrangement of about two minutes and relevant documentation (score or chart) that demonstrates understanding of the selected Investigation Topic. Students should also maintain a journal as a record of their creative process.

Section 2: rehearsal and performance of the work. Performances will take place during a Unit 4 Music Investigation concert in the final week of Term 3.

Section 3: an explanation about the how the work is representative of the selected Investigation Topic. Students will prepare a statement in response to questions/prompts in the class immediately prior to the performance and deliver it orally to introduce the performance.

Marking the task:

The marking scheme used to assess a student’s level of performance should reflect the relevant aspects of the performance descriptors and be explained to students before commencing the task.

A specific number of marks should be assigned to each component of the Task, for example,

  • composition/improvisation/arrangement of a solo or group work that demonstrates understanding of music characteristics and performance techniques relevant to the selected Investigation Topic (40 marks)
  • documentation of the work and creative process in an appropriate format (10 marks)
  • application of effective rehearsal process/es in preparation for a performance of the work (10 marks)
  • demonstration of relevant performance techniques and conventions in performance of the work (20 marks)
  • explanation of features of the work that are representative of a music style or genre relevant to the selected Investigation Topic (20 marks).


Authentication issues can be minimised if teachers review student’s work for Outcome 2 on a regular basis.