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Level 7 music – sound arts achievement objectives

The four arts strands work in combination. Together they provide the basis for a well-rounded programme. They weave through all aspects of learning in music –sound arts: composing, performance, or reflection and analysis.

Generally, the strands are not taught alone. When focusing on teaching achievement objectives from one strand, teachers will usually find they can incorporate objectives from another strand.

The strands are separated here as a way of helping teachers to unpack the language of the strands and the objectives at this level.

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.

For any terminology used in the achievement objectives, or the indicators, check (and download) the Arts Online music – sound arts glossary.

Understanding music – sound arts in context (UC)

Achievement objectives

Students will:

  • research and analyse music from a range of sound environments, styles, and genres, in relation to historical, social, and cultural contexts, considering the impact on music making and production
  • apply their understandings of the expressive qualities of music from a range of contexts to a consideration of their influence on their own music practices.


  • Makes judgments about how the sound environment and historical issues have impacted on and influenced the development of a musical genre/style, for example, contemporary classical music, blues, traditional waiata, or sasa.
  • Investigates how the social and cultural issues of the time in which the genre/style developed have impacted or continue to impact on its evolution, for example, dubstep, opera, imene tuki.
  • Identifies and analyses the expressive qualities in a range of sound arts practices and techniques in music and explains how they have enabled further development of the musical genre/style or have affected the way it is heard or performed, for example, romantic overtures, musical theatre, jazz.
  • Experiences a range of performance and composition practices and techniques to further develop their understanding of theoretical findings and cultural significance.
  • Use the learning from both practical and theoretical research on expressive qualities of music to inform decisions and ideas about own music practices such as the selection of instruments and the combination and relationship of sounds.

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 analyse how they are used in a range of music.


  • Works with more complex material to develop instrumental, technological, aural, and composition skills and experiences as a critical foundation to extend technical experience and theoretical understanding in music.
  • Applies knowledge and experiences and uses more complex terminology and practices in analysing selected music genres/styles in new situations and activities.
  • Identifies conventions, characteristics, and genre-specific techniques within selected music genres and styles, for example, African sangoma songs, Baroque chamber music, jazz, salsa, haka, rock’n’roll.
  • Uses mass media technologies to develop, refine, and extend knowledge and skills in the execution of musical ideas in a musical genre/style.

Developing ideas in music – sound arts (DI)

Achievement objectives

Students will:

  • create, structure, refine, and represent compositions and musical arrangements, using technical and musical skills and technologies to express imaginative thinking and personal understandings
  • reflect on and evaluate composition processes and presentation conventions.


  • Manipulates and experiments (varies, contrasts, alters) with musical elements (tempo, scale, style, instrumentation, timbral combinations); uses compositional devices (repetition, retrograde, imitation, fragmentation, augmentation, diminution, inversion, ornamentation) and structures (song form, binary, ternary, rondo, 12 bar blues); and uses music technologies to create original music.
  • Generates and selects ideas to create a musical composition that develops an imaginative expressive intention.
  • Creates, reflects on and refines, and realises compositions or arrangements to communicate an expressive intention (an idea, mood, image, theme, feeling, or message).
  • Selectively uses 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 develop original new music and deepen understanding.

Communicating and interpreting in music – sound arts (CI)

Achievement objectives

Students will:

  • prepare, rehearse, present, record and evaluate sustained performances of music, individually and collaboratively, that demonstrate interpretive understandings
  • analyse and evaluate the expressive qualities of music and production processes to inform interpretations of music.


  • Rehearses (as a soloist or with a group), presents, records, and refines a sustained performance of music in the classroom and/or live performance situations.
  • Demonstrates the techniques and expressions appropriate and integral to the style being performed. Performs with accurate attention to the stylistic requirements of the genre/style.
  • Communicates with clarity and control and reflects on the composer’s intentions (such as the emotional content or expressive ideas) through the musical embodiment and interpretation.
  • Examines and considers the relationship of individual musical elements (rhythm, melody, harmony, instrumentation, structure) and compositional devices (repetition, sequences, augmentation, inversion) used in recorded music performances, in their own and in other music works.
  • Makes judgments about the qualities of music performances and compositions and articulates informed points of view about aspects or elements of the music including expression, technical considerations, and presentation, in relation to the style, genre, or cultural context.

Assessment for qualifications

At the time of publication, achievement standards are in development to align them with The New Zealand Curriculum. Aligned level 1 achievement standards were registered for use in 2011 and level 2 in 2012. Level 3 will be registered for use in 2013.

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.

Learn more:

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 September 11, 2020