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Unit of study_

CMPN5012: Graduate Composer Performer Workshop

Semester 2, 2020 [Normal day] - Sydney

The Graduate Composer Performer Workshop provides both composers and performers with the opportunity to work together in the performance and development of new and experimental works each semester.

Unit details and rules

Unit code CMPN5012
Academic unit Composition and Music Technology
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Ivan Zavada,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task PERFORMERS ONLY: Instrument presentation COMPOSERS: Composition for solo instrument
Perf: Video presentation. Composers: new work for solo instrument.
20% Week 04 Performers: 8-10 mins Composers: 2 mins
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4
Creative assessment / demonstration PERFORMERS: Solo piece performance and workshop participation COMPOSERS: Draft #1 + Set Exercises
Perf: Solo recording + participation Comp: Draft #1 + exercises
20% Week 07 Perf: 2 minutes, Comp: 4 minutes max
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO4
Participation Week 8 Preparation and Participation
Preparation of material for the week, and active involvement in workshop
10% Week 08 During class time
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Participation Week 09 Preparation and Participation
Preparation of material for the week, and active involvement in workshop.
10% Week 09 In class
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Creative assessment / demonstration Final recordings
Recording of compositions, taking place in Weeks 10-12.
40% Week 12 Each piece = 5-10 minutes duration
Outcomes assessed: LO5

Assessment summary



In this assessment task, performers will create a video presentation which will be uploaded to Studio on the Canvas website, prior to the tutorial in Week 03.  In this presentation, they will choose two idiomatic playing techniques relevant to their instrument.  They will:

  1. explain how each particular technique works,
  2. give tips to composers on how to utilize these techniques effectively, and 
  3. play an example of how this technique works in repertoire for their instrument.

The content and the manner of presentation will be clear, relevant, knowledgeable and effectively communicated.

Performers will then be available during class time during Week 03 to answer questions from composers (and/or other performers) on material given in their presentation.


Performers will rehearse and then record (video) themselves playing the solo piece written by their matched composer. They will upload this to the Studio function in Canvas by Monday 9am Week 05, then discuss the piece and its performance – including what worked well and what was challenging – with the group in class in Week 05.


Performers will rehearse Set Exercises and Draft #1 of the composers’ pieces in class in Week 07. They will have had their parts available previously through Canvas, and will come to their rehearsal with the parts prepared.  They will also contribute in an effective and useful manner to the workshop with the composers and with their fellow performers, including giving useful and pertinent feedback to the composers in order for the composition to be improved.


Performers will rehearse the second draft of the composition in Week 08. They will come with their part prepared, and will contribute in a useful and effective manner with both their composers and other members of their ensemble, demonstrating a knowledge of how their part works in relation to others in the group. They will give composers relevant feedback in the knowledge that the composers will have just one day to make changes.


Performers will rehearse the final draft of the composition in Week 09.  The focus of this rehearsal will largely be based around ensemble work and increasing the standard of the performance as relevant to a chamber music context.


Students will record their pieces in either Week 10, 11 or 12. The mark given for this will go to the entire group – performers and composers will receive the same mark.




Composers will learn from the presentation given by the performers as uploaded prior to Week 03, and as per the performer’s comments in class in Week 03.

Composers will then write a short solo piece (maximum 2 minutes, and learnable by the performer within a week) for their allocated performer, which will incorporate at least one of the techniques outlined in the performer’s presentation.

Composers will complete this piece and upload to Canvas by the beginning of allocated class time, Week 04.

They will then interact with the performer during the workshop in Week 05.


Composers will create a set of short works based on a given arrangement, plus the first draft of their final piece.  These will be discussed with their composer tutor in Week 06, then uploaded to the Canvas site by 9am Wednesday Week 06, for workshopping in Week 07 with their group. 


Composers will upload their Draft #2 to the Canvas site by Friday 9am, Week 07 for their performers to learn and then participate in the workshop in Week 08.


Composers will upload their Final Draft to the Canvas site by 9am, Wednesday Week 08 for their performers to learn and then participate in the workshop in Week 09.


Students will record their pieces in either Week 10, 11 or 12. The mark given for this will go to the entire group – performers and composers will receive the same mark.

Assessment criteria

The following assessment criteria are used for performance work in this unit of study:

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Comprehensive and outstanding technical control and musical integrity in relation to developmental expectations. Musical individuality consistently projected to create a persuasive personal representation of the work. Performance flair indicative of soloist standard. A mark of 95 or above indicates extraordinary technical virtuosity and musical artistry.


75 - 84

Excellent technical, musical and stylistic achievement. Consistently coherent and expressive performance. Some personal interpretation of the work suggesting soloist potential. 


65 - 74

Confident technique with evidence of solid musicality and some stylistic achievement. Occasional lapses indicative of unresolved technical, artistic and/or stylistic issues. Projects potential for further development.


50 - 64

Satisfactory level of preparation and musical engagement. Some inconsistencies in musicianship, style and/or technique. Musical imagination and overall performance sense developing though some insecurity in this area.


0 - 49

Unsatisfactory technical achievement and/or unsatisfactory level of musical and artistic engagement. Limitations may be of such a scale and consistency as to call into question the student’s future direction in the programme.

The following assessment criteria are used for written work in this unit of study:

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100

Demonstrates high level of initiative in research and reading; sophisticated critical analysis of evidence; high level engagement with theoretical issues, innovative use of reading/research material and impressive command of underlying debates and assumptions; properly documented and written with style, originality and precision.


75 - 84

Demonstrates initiative in research and wide, appropriate reading; complex understanding of question and ability to critically review material in relation to underlying assumptions and values; analyses material in relation to empirical and theoretical contexts; properly documented; clear, well-developed structure and argument with some signs of literary style.


65 - 74

Evidence of broader understanding than pass level; offers synthesis with some critical evaluation of material; coherent argument using a range of relevant evidence; some evidence of independent thought, good referencing. A high credit (70-74) shows some evidence of ability to problematise and think conceptually.


50 - 64

Written work meets basic requirements in terms of reading/research; relevant material; tendency to descriptive summary rather than critical argument; makes a reasonable attempt to avoid paraphrasing; reasonably coherent structure; often has weaknesses in particular areas, especially in terms of narrow or underdeveloped treatment of question; acceptable documentation.


0 - 49

Work may fail for any or all of the following reasons: Unacceptable paraphrasing; irrelevance of content; poor spelling; poor presentation; grammar or structure so sloppy it cannot be understood; failure to demonstrate understanding of content; insufficient or overlong word length.

For more information see

Rubrics for the presentation and participation components of the grades are found on Canvas.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Not completing tasks on-time will severely impact the ability of composers in your group to complete their next task, and the ability of performers to learn your music in time.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 ONLINE: Introduction to this unit of study. Introduction to effective collaboration - guidance from professional performers and composers. Seminar (2 hr) LO3
Week 03 ONLINE: Performer presentations - How to write effectively for your instrument - focus on two techniques + play explanatory examples from the literature. Seminar (2 hr) LO4
Week 05 ONLINE: Performers pre-record and upload solo pieces to Studio in Canvas by 5pm previous day. Play then discuss with composer students. Presentation (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5
Week 06 ONLINE. COMPOSERS ONLY. Composer students work through pieces with composition staff, then upload any changes by 10am following day to Canvas. Tutorial (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 IN PERSON: Set Exercises + Composition Draft #1 workshopped Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 08 IN PERSON: Composition Draft #2 workshop and rehearsal. Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 09 IN PERSON: Rehearsal and workshopping of final draft. Rehearsal (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Week 10 IN PERSON: Recording session of the compositions. Each group does either Week 10, 11 or 12. Presentation (2 hr) LO5
Week 11 IN PERSON: Recording session of the compositions. Each group does either Week 10, 11 or 12. Presentation (2 hr) LO5
Week 12 IN PERSON: Recording session of the compositions. Each group does either Week 10, 11 or 12. Presentation (2 hr) LO5

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: Full (100 per cent) and punctual attendance is a requirement in all activities where students have a role as active participants in the class or activity. Active participation includes situations where the student’s contribution is to perform, rehearse or direct rehearsals in a small or large ensemble, or to give seminar and tutorial papers or presentations or undertake assessment tasks. Active participation also includes all one-to-one studio teaching and supervision. Except in cases of illness or misadventure, failure to attend activities or classes where a student is an active participant will be seen as failure to meet the requirements of the unit of study.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. understand how to work in a live workshopping process
  • LO2. Apply knowledge of instrumental techniques and collaborative ensemble performance practice to compositions as they are developed.
  • LO3. Work in a collaborative way with other musicians, and with composers
  • LO4. communicate effectively about aspects of instrumental technique to composers and performers.
  • LO5. demonstrate skills relating to the recording of new compositions.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This UoS has been substantially reworked in structure since it ran previously.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

To help you understand common terms that we use at the University, we offer an online glossary.