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Level 6 music – sound arts achievement objectives

Indicators are examples of the behaviours and capabilities that a teacher might expect to observe in a student who is achieving at the appropriate level. Teachers may wish to add further examples of their own.

Understanding music – sound arts in context (UC)

Achievement objectives

Students will:

  • analyse music from a range of sound environments, styles, and genres, in relation to historical, social, and cultural contexts
  • consider and reflect on the influence of music in their own music making and in their lives.


  • Investigates the impact of performers, composers, and sound technologies (acoustic and digital) and how they have influenced the development of music genres/styles. For example, Richard Nunns and the use of Taonga Puoro, Beethoven and the shift from Classical to Romantic period, looping software and its impact on contemporary music styles.
  • Discusses how the social and cultural issues of the time impacted, or continue to impact, on the development of a musical style or genre’s evolution, for example, Blues, jazz, Taonga Puoro.
  • Experiences a range of music – sound arts practices and techniques, of particular genres/styles and contexts, to develop their own performance and composition skills and knowledge bases.

Developing practical knowledge in music – sound arts (PK)

Achievement objective

Students will:

  • apply knowledge of expressive features, stylistic conventions, and technologies through an integration of aural perception and practical and theoretical skills and describe how they are used in a range of music.


  • Explores a range of materials and ideas, through combined application, to develop instrumental, technological, aural, and composition skills and knowledge as a critical foundation to realising musical vocabularies and practices. For example, playback original ideas, call and response, sequencing, transcribing by ear, notating and annotating live and recorded music.
  • Develops and combines music vocabularies and practices to apply new knowledge and experiences to selected music genres/styles or fields of practice. For example, improvisation, sequencing, digital editing.
  • Practically investigates composition and performance conventions, characteristics and specific techniques within a range of music genres and styles. For example, ground bass, harmonic sequence, a cappella, riffs, verse/chorus song structure versus strophic form.
  • Experiments with technologies to extend knowledge and skills in the execution of musical ideas in a range of live, recorded and virtual contexts.

Developing ideas in music – sound arts (DI)

Achievement objectives

Students will:

  • create, structure, refine, and represent compositions using the elements of music, instruments, technologies, and conventions to express imaginative thinking and personal understandings
  • reflect on composition processes and presentation conventions.


  • Generates and develops an idea (or ideas), to create musical compositions that explore expressive intention/s.
  • Experiments with musical elements; uses compositional devices (for example, repetition, retrograde, imitation, fragmentation, augmentation, diminution, inversion, bridge section, etc) and forms (arch, binary, ternary, rondo, 12 bar blues), using music technologies (digital and acoustic) to create original music.
  • Explores a range of compositional processes (ways of developing concepts for creative music, ways of generating imaginative new musical ideas, and ways of evaluating compositions) and technologies to record and share own music (sound recordings, notations, film, social media).
  • Selects, structures, reflects on, and represents (records and/or notates) musical inventions to communicate creative and personal intent (an idea, mood, image, theme, feeling or message).

Communicating and interpreting in music – sound arts (CI)

Achievement objectives

Students will:

  • prepare, rehearse, interpret, and present performances of music individually and collaboratively, using a range of performance skills and techniques
  • reflect on the expressive qualities of music and evaluate their own and others’ music, both live and recorded.


  • Practices individually and in groups developing techniques that refine performance processes (preparing, rehearsing, reflecting), and to enhance technical skills and group cohesion for the purposes of presentation and recording.
  • Demonstrates the techniques and expressions appropriate to the style being performed. Performs with careful attention to the stylistic requirements of the genre/style and to the cultural and social context.
  • Communicates music with control and commitment, showing awareness of the intentions of the composer or context, such as the emotional content or expressive idea, or the place and social importance of the music.
  • Explains the qualities of music performances and compositions – how well their own or those of others (live and recorded) communicate meaning, and how well they are expressively, technically (skills), and technologically presented in relation to the style, genre, or cultural context.

Context elaborations

Context elaborations are possible contexts for learning, with a suggestion of how they might be used with the focus achievement objective.

The listed context elaborations are examples only. Teachers can select and use entirely different contexts in response to local situation, community relevance, and students’ interests and needs.

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Assessment for qualifications

At the time of publication, achievement standards were in development to align them with The New Zealand Curriculum. Please ensure that you are using the correct version of the standards by going to the NZQA website.

The NZQA subject-specific resources pages are very helpful. From there, you can find all the achievement standards and links to assessment resources, both internal and external.

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Aligned level 1 achievement standards were registered for use in 2011 and level 2 for use in 2012; level 3 will be registered for use in 2013.

It is important to remember that not all learning in music – sound arts needs to be assessed. There is value in music creation and the exploration of genre and style that may not be assessed but could be a valuable step towards more complex work in the following year of study.

Last updated August 28, 2020