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The strands in music – sound arts

Understanding music – sound arts in context

Through music – sound arts, students gain understanding of new musical contexts (both within and outside their own experience). This allows them to define their own music identity, explore new musical directions and express who they are as New Zealanders living in Aotearoa in the Pacific.

The musical heritage of Aotearoa is rich in the contributions of multiple waves of cultural migration. These significant traditions have shaped, transformed, and contributed to the invention of our sound worlds.

Students develop disciplines of inquiry by investigating musical works (conventions, forms, elements) as social texts that deepen their understandings about people and environments. Students describe the emotions and expressive qualities embodied in a time, a place, and local or global events.

Developing practical knowledge in music – sound arts

Music has had a significant place in society for thousands of years and continues to do so.

Music celebrates cultural diversity through a common language.

Students connect their musical worlds with the vocabularies, practices, and technologies of music. This enables them to appreciate the relevance and universal application of the unique language of music.

Students learn and manipulate symbols and systems for representing sound in order to develop musical literacies.

Connected practical and theoretical experiences within and outside the classroom will enable students to:

  • develop aural skills, musical knowledge, and aesthetic appreciation by listening and responding to music of past and present
  • learn how to harmonise and resonate, together and in opposition, through experimentation, improvisation, and investigation of sound techniques and music practices of past and present.

Developing ideas in music – sound arts

Students draw on personal experiences and perspectives, as well as their developing knowledge, to generate, refine, and transform musical ideas into inventive sound works.

Students explore, research, and experiment with local and global cultural practices, histories, theories, structures, and technologies.

As they investigate innovative sound and media, they have rich opportunities to further their own creative potential.

They build confidence to take risks and create dissonance in order to express their creative intentions as they generate, interpret, refine, and represent music ideas in sound and visual forms.

Students communicate concepts, thoughts, and feelings by working individually and collaboratively in response to sources of motivation.

Students invent music that expresses our current time and place – reflecting the twenty-first century in Aotearoa.

Students use aural skills, imagination, and a developing knowledge of structural devices, musical instruments, technologies, and the elements of music.

They express their own or a collective vision by working individually or collaboratively to:

  • develop their own ideas through improvising, composing, arranging, and notating music with increasing sophistication and refinement
  • manipulate materials within particular styles, genres, conventions, and cultural forms
  • compose and arrange music for specific purposes.

Communicating and interpreting in music – sound arts

Students communicate and interpret music expressively through performance. They focus on the craft of transformation – of either a space or of an individual who is connected and moved (emotionally and/or intellectually) by a performance.

Students create music as individuals or as a member of a group, playing an instrument and using the voice and other electronic media (digital and analogue).

Digital technology supports access to a wide variety of musical performances and allows students to capture and share their own performances and those of others.


  • prepare, rehearse, refine, present, and direct musical works
  • evaluate performances through self-reflection and critiquing other performances
  • listen to, read about, and consider other interpretations of relevant performance examples
  • develop fluency, musicianship, ensemble crafts, and technique
  • produce authentic and unique performances that embody the emotion and understanding of performers’, composers’ or arrangers’ intentions
  • use appropriate performance practices relating to the chosen genres and styles, and cultural practices
  • decode the symbols and representation of sound from written scores and aural sources.

Last updated November 22, 2011