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Advice for teachers -

Unit 3​ Music Style and Composition

Sample approach to developing an assessment task

Area of Study 2


This task focuses on analysis and discussion of two music works including a work composed/created by an Australian. The task may be presented as

  • a report,
  • responses to structured questions
  • a multimedia presentation.

Task design

Teachers should develop an assessment task that allows students to

  • describe and discuss the treatment of the elements of music in the selected works
  • describe and discuss how compositional devices including repetition, variation and contrast at global, medium and micro levels
  • describe the musical characteristics that make each work representative of its style
  • identify contextual issues and discuss their effect/s on the creation of the works
  • use relevant music examples and appropriate music terminology to support the analysis and discussion of each work.

Task conditions

The task is worth 60 marks and contributes 7.5 per cent of the study score for Music Style and Composition.

The task may be completed across one or more sessions. For example students could write a report about one work in one session and respond to structured questions about the other work in another session.


Preparation for the task begins at the commencement of Unit 3 as students study the selected works. A teacher may select the works to be studied by the class to ensure all students have access to quality research/resources. Or a teacher can allow the student choice of the works they study.

Learning activities might include aural and/or visual analysis of the works, documenting the analysis using a combination of annotations, diagrams and/or prose, creating charts showing use of elements of music and compositional devices, researching the circumstances in which the works were created, identifying potential influences on the works and locating evidence of these influences in the works and/or reading and discussing commentary about the works.

Writing the task

Depending on the format/s chosen, the teacher will provide a prompt or description of content to be included and information about the expected structure and content of the report or multi-media presentation, or structured questions.

In this task students are allowed to use notes based on study of the works undertaken during Unit 3. For example, students could prepare a summary of their analysis and other notes and submit this for authentication prior to the task.

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.

It may be appropriate to allocate marks to each section of the report or multimedia presentation or to each question. The marks allocated, however, should reflect the degree of difficult or complexity required by task words. These, in turn, would be based on the key skills listed for the outcome.


Authentication issues can be minimised if the students complete report/s or presentation/s or respond to structured questions under test conditions.

Assessment rubrics/performance descriptors provide a guide to the levels of performance typically demonstrated within each range on the assessment task/s. The performance descriptors for each outcome identify the qualities or characteristics expected in a student response.