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Unit outline_

MCGY2601: Perception of Music Performance

Semester 2, 2022 [Normal day] - Sydney

Listening to music performance is an everyday occurrence, yet expert listeners possess tacit knowledge about performers' sound and little is known about how they process sensory information from a performer to conceptualise, recognise and verbalise the sound they hear. This unit of study will focus on recent empirical research studies and examine the ways in which we listen to music performers by sound and sight, how we assess music performance, and how we describe the sounds we hear.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Helen Mitchell,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Report
Write up your pilot project results
Due date: 08 Nov 2022 at 23:00
2000-2500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Poster presentation
A poster presentation on an existing key research article/book chapter
30% Week 06
Due date: 06 Sep 2022 at 09:00
800 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1
Assignment Prospective abstract and method
Design a pilot study, write up abstract and method
20% Week 08
Due date: 20 Sep 2022 at 23:00
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Creative assessment / demonstration Class participation in discussions, performances and presentations
Class participation in discussions, performances and presentations
10% Weekly Weekly
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2

Assessment summary

Poster presentation, abstract and method of pilot project, conduct pilot project, written report

Assessment criteria

Fail: (Below 50%) Work not of acceptable standard. 

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.


Pass: (50%-64%) Work of acceptable standard

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. 


Credit: (65%-74%) Highly competent work demonstrating potential for higher study

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. 


Distinction: (75%-84%) Work of superior standard

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. 


High Distinction: (85%-100%) Work of exceptional standard

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. 


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:

As per the Sydney Conservatorium of Music resolutions, (Item 11):

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 Introduction to PoMP and empirical research in music performance research Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 02 Performance assessment and evaluation Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 03 The description of sound Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 04 Extra-musical factors in performance assessment Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 05 Expressivity and communication Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Poster Presentations Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1
Week 07 Experimental designs to test music performance evaluation Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 08 Evaluation strategies Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 09 Pilot projects 1 Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 10 Pilot projects 2 Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2
Week 11 Analysis and presenting the evidence Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 12 Reflections on PoMP projects Lecture and tutorial (2 hr) LO3

Attendance and class requirements

As per the Sydney Conservatorium of Music resolutions, 12):

Students are expected to attend a minimum of 90% of timetabled activities for a unit of study, unless granted exemption by the Dean, Head of School or professor most concerned. The Dean, Head of School or professor most concerned may determine that a student fails a unit of study because of inadequate attendance. Alternatively, at their discretion, they may set additional assessment items where attendance is lower than 90%.

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. demonstrate broad understanding of empirical studies in music performance
  • LO2. test perception, evaluation and communication of music performance
  • LO3. develop best practice in music performance evaluation

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.

No changes have been made since this unit was last offered


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