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VCE Performing Arts

Music Investigation Unit 3


Satisfactory completion of Music Performance Units 1 and 2 or Units 3 and 4. Alternatively, before enrolling students must demonstrate that they have a successful history of music performance and practice, and a solid grounding in music theory and aural comprehension skills. A very high level of proficiency is expected before commencing this subject.

Course Description

Students select a work from a prescribed list published by the VCAA as the basis for an investigation of a focus area. They explore the focus area through three complementary areas of study — investigation, composition/ arrangement/ improvisation and performance.

Essential Questions

  • What thread or topic of music would make my music research and performance program an interesting and challenging year's work?
  • What are my strengths in the music I already can perform and how can I build this into a research topic and performance program with a wide variety of styles and characters?
  • What new technical work do I need to set in order to achieve the new styles and characters?
  • How can I give the research focus, so it is manageable?
  • What characteristic and style can I isolate to complete a creative organisation of sound (composition/improvisation/arrangement) task?

Areas of Study


  • Description of a focus area and research issues relevant to performance practice in that focus area. 
  • Aural comprehension, music theory and general musicianship knowledge and skills for critical listening to recordings of performances and examining musical scores.
  • Research and analysis of a sample of music works that includes works selected for performance, as well as other works that are representative of the focus area, to gain a broad understanding of stylistic and structural characteristics.

Composition, Improvisation, Arrangement

  • A folio of composition or arrangement exercises, sketches, or recorded improvisations that demonstrate understanding of the focus area.
  • An understanding of the influence of idiomatic instrumental techniques, performance conventions, the skill levels of performers and other practical considerations that may have an impact on the compositional process.


  • Planning, rehearsal and performance of a program of works representative of the selected focus area.
  • Development of relevant instrumental and performance techniques and application of performance practices to build expertise as performers.
  • A study of technical work and exercises which support the development of the performance program and overall ability. 


Outcomes Assessment Tasks Marks Allocated
(school-assessed coursework)

Performance Practices

A report discussing characteristics, techniques and performance of works selected for focus area. The report will be presented in a multimedia format.


Composition/Improvisation or Arrangement

Portfolio of exercises and performance of these.
Description of relationship to focus area.


Technical Work

Performance of technical work relevant to focus area and explanation of how it assists in preparing the recital program.

Responses to questions about material presented.

Performance A 10-15 minute recital of selected works. S/N
Total Marks 100


Overall Final Assessment

Graded Assessment Title Assessment Exam Duration Contribution to Study Score (%)
1 Unit 3 Coursework School-assessed   30
2 Unit 4 Coursework School-assessed   20
3 Performance Examination October 25 mins 50


Reproduced by permission of the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, Victoria, Australia: