ASHS Coursebook: 3MUS (Level 3 Music)

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Information icon.svg 3MUS
NCEA Level:
Primary Qualification:
Primary Learning Area:

What is this course about?

Music is an enriching subject and leads to a lifelong enjoyment and appreciation of music. It has been discovered, through research, that music develops mental and physical abilities and develops co-operation and self-expression.  The activity of working creatively and analytically with music develops the brain’s capacity to be flexible, to think laterally and to manage complexity. The study of Music equips students with transferable skills, valuable in many areas of employment and leads to a diverse range of career pathways.  Level 3 offers the way into studying music at a university,You are expected to work as an independent learner at this level. Much of what you cover in class you will be expected to continue with in your own time in order to complete assessments. Scholarship is also available at this level.

What will I learn?

ASHS Music Level 3 FLOW.png
Although the course at level 3 music is split into two sections; Making Music and Music Studies you are advised to chose options from both areas. Making Music is a practical based course and Music Studies is the more academic side of the subject, designed especially for those who wish to study music at university.  In Making Music you will continue to develop your skills as a performer or composer and develop your aural skills through listening to a range of music.  In Music Studies you will continue your analysis of music from the work covered at level 2.  The course will be presented as a whole and as it progresses you can chose which standards you enter throughout the year, working to your strengths whilst gaining a greater understanding and appreciation of Music.

What sorts of things will I do?

The course will encourage and challenge you as a musician.  Theory and Aural skills will be developed as you work continue your learning of Musical works across different genres.  As a composer, you will extend your composition work to present a portfolio of music.  As a performer you will deliver recitals as a soloist and as part of an ensemble.  You will discuss and write about the elements of music and how they are used to create expressive music.  You will compare and analyse different works in order to form opinions and give your own presentations.

Term 1 Term 2 Term 3 Term 4

Key Dates / Milestones
  • First arrangement is due in week 11 AS91424
  • Try and complete one composition/song by week 12. AS91849 and AS91419
  • One score will be studied to support: AS9142, AS91423, AS91422, AS91421
Key Dates / Milestones
  • Second arrangement is due in week 10 AS91424
  • School Show
  • Performance opportunity AS911416, AS91417, AS91418
  • Second composition/song is due AS91849 and AS91419
  • One score will be studied to support: AS91420, AS91423, AS91422, AS91421
Key Dates / Milestones
  • Open Evening as a performance opportunity (week 2)AS911416, AS91417, AS91418
  • Musical Showcase performance opportunity (week 4)AS911416, AS91417, AS91418
  • Third composition/song is due AS91849 and AS91419
  • Music topics must be submitted by week 9 AS91425
  • One score will be studied to support: AS91420, AS91423, AS91421 and AS91422 must be completed

Key Dates / Milestones

  • Full portfolio of composition/song writing must be submitted by week 2 at the latest AS91849 and AS91419
  • Externals AS91420, AS91423, AS91422, AS91421

What standards can I enter?

You are expected to chose up to 21 credits of those offered. Resubmissions will not be available.

Summary of standards:
NCEA Level: Standard Number: Name of standard: Version Number: Credits: Assessment: Term Expected to be completed in:
3 AS91416
Perform two programmes of music as a featured soloist
Internal Both performances must be completed by week 2 of Term 4
3 AS91419

Communicate musical intention by composing three original pieces of music


Compose three original songs that express imaginative thinking



You should be working toward one composition/song a term through terms 1 - 3.  Final submissions of this work should be given in week 9 Term 3.
3 AS91418
Demonstrate ensemble skills by performing two substantial pieces of music as a member of a group.
Make use of the performance opportunities offered in Terms 2 and 3 and Rock Quest, Chamber Music festival etc.  Final performances must be submitted by week 2 of Term 4.
3 AS91417 Perform a programme of music as a featured soloist on a second instrument. 2 4 Internal As above.
3 AS91420
Integrate aural skills into written representation
Term 4
3 AS91424
Create two arrangements for an ensemble
First arrangement is due at the end of term 1 and the second the end of term 2.
3 AS91423

Examine the influence of context on a substantial music work.

(L1 Lit)

This is an option which can be completed with any work studied within the year.  IF completed the final draft must be submitted by week 9 of Term 3.
3 AS91425

Research a music topic

(L1 Lit and R)

2 6 Internal This is an option which may be completed or offered as part as an IEP.  Regular submissions will be expected and a final delivered by week 9 of Term 3.
3 AS91421 Demonstrate understanding of harmonic and tonal conventions in a range of music scores.
3 4 External Term 4

Analyse a substantial music work.

(L1 Lit)

Term 4.  A substantial work will be studied every term in preparation for this.

Total available credits:
(Expectation to select up to 21 credit course dependant on interests)
You are not expected to complete every standard at Level 3, your teacher will help you devise the best pathway for you.

The code letters under Assessment have the following meanings:

  • N - L1 and UE numeracy
  • L1 lit - L1 literacy
  • R - UE reading literacy                    
  • W - UE writing literacy

Please check the actual date of the assessment on the ASHS Assessment Calendar

NB. University Entrance can be gained through any combination of 14 credits from this table.

Vocational Pathways provide a framework for students to show how their learning and achievement is valued in the workplace by aligning learning to the skills needed for industry.  Follow this link to see the profile for this course.

Scholarship opportunities

Scholarship is assessed through two areas. It is advised that you consider this option before Term 3 in order to gather the evidence required for the first section. Much of the work can be taught as an extension of Level 3.

In Section One each candidate will present a portfolio as either a performer, or a composer or a musicologist to the supervisor when they enter the Scholarship Music examination. The portfolio will be assessed as one of the sections for the Scholarship Music award.

Section Two comprises a written examination to be undertaken by all candidates. This section will be completed under examination conditions during the written examination.

Section One: The student portfolio

The portfolio will contain evidence of the students work either as a performer, or as a composer or as a musicologist.

Students presenting as a performer will submit as a portfolio:

  1. The score and an audiovisual recording of one of their works showing them as a featured soloist, and
2. An audiovisual recording of 1 minute extracts for each supporting piece that demonstrate their performance strengths and weaknesses e.g. pieces performed for their achievement standard 90776 portfolio or equivalent, and
3. A critical reflective study of their chosen performance that will include an appropriate selection from:
   * discussion of the choice of repertoire, and programming decisions
 * discussion and demonstration of:
       o how characteristics of the music were considered in preparing the performance (eg rhythmic features, tonality, tempo, dynamics)
       o how stylistic features of the music were considered in preparing the performance (eg ornamentation in Baroque music, technological effects in rock, cultural practices, scat singing or improvisation in jazz)
       o how technical issues were considered in preparing the performance (eg bowing, picking, fingering, breathing, stance, diction, language, articulation)
       o how musicianship issues, such as balance and voice leading were considered,
       o compare and contrast different editions, recordings, or performances of the same music
 * consideration of how the work selected for presentation fits into the historical context of repertoire for that instrument

Students presenting as a composer will submit as a portfolio:

  1. The score and an audio recording of one of their significant pieces of work, and
2. The score and a 1 minute audio recording of each supporting work that exemplifies their composition strengths and weaknesses e.g. pieces composed for their achievement standard 90775 portfolio or equivalent, and
3. A critical reflective study of their composition that will include an appropriate selection from:
   * discuss the initial concept of the works and how it related to the completed work(s),
       o including the choice of media
       o instrumentation
       o choice of texts
 * discuss and demonstrate how the musical ideas were developed and structured
 * discuss any issues related to notation
 * discuss how technical demands of performing the music were considered in composing (eg bowing, fingering, breathing, language, articulation, conducting a performance of the work(s))
 * discuss and demonstrate how stylistic features were considered in composing the music
 * discuss how the work is representative of the developing skills, style and/or philosophy of the composer.
 * Compare and contrast the composed work with one or two other related examples.

Students presenting as a musicologist will submit as a portfolio:

  1. A critical reflective study of one previously studied work that:
       * critiques the place of the work within the composer's output and its place in the development of the genre, and
       * an evaluation the effectiveness of the work in the context that it was originally written.
2. The score and a discussion of the previously studied work used for [a] that explains, analyses, and defines the music elements, compositional techniques, structural characteristics, performance practice, social, historical, cultural and stylistic background including elements such as:
       * harmonic and tonal analysis
       * structural analysis
       * the elements of music
       * analysis of context/genre style
       * a critical response to the score
       * comparing and contrasting elements and features
       * annotation of the score.

Section Two: The examination

In responding to questions, candidates must select and refer to score extracts from a supplied resource booklet of at least ten score extracts. The two sections in the examination will involve:

   * Discrete questions on unprepared score extracts
 * Questions allowing students to compare and contrast two or more of the unprepared score extracts.

Frequently asked questions: