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Unit of study_

MUSC1300: Popular Music Ensemble

Today, the broad variety of music the professional musician is likely to encounter requires an awareness and practical familiarity with a wide range of popular music genre conventions and contemporary approaches to rhythm. This course provides students with a range of expressive tools that allow them to confidently engage with popular music genres and rhythms. In this unit students will undertake intensive rhythmic awareness training and limited group tuition on one musical instrument (student to provide). They will be guided in playing the instrument in an ensemble, and will participate in ensemble performances. Through seminar-style workshops of selected covers, they will begin to develop a broad understanding of popular music rhythms, instrumentation, ensembles, and musical structures, thus enhancing their knowledge of recorded popular music history and its extensive and diverse musical genres.


Academic unit Arts Music
Unit code MUSC1300
Unit name Popular Music Ensemble
Session, year
Semester 1, 2023
Attendance mode Normal day
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 3

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Jade O'Regan,
Guest lecturer(s) Heather Shannon ,
Jerome Blaze,
Zane Banks,
Narelle Yeo,
Michael Carpenter,
Paul McDermott,
Neal Sutherland,
Lecturer(s) Jade O'Regan ,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Class participation and preparation
Participation will be focused on two intensive days of practical work
40% Ongoing Ongoing
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO3 LO2
Assignment Song Analysis
Written assignment
30% Week 06
Due date: 24 Mar 2023 at 23:59
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
Assignment Performance reflection log
Written assignment
30% Week 12
Due date: 19 May 2023 at 23:59
800-1000 Words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3
  • Class participation and preparation: Marks are awarded for participation and preparation each week. Students must be professional and punctual in the same way they would for a “real” session job. Students will participate in two days of intensive performance practice to replace weekly classes.
  • Song analysis: Students will submit a written analysis of a popular music song of their choice (and its score/chart) outlining the roles of all instrumental parts, and how they fit together to create a cohesive performance. Consider things like arrangement, texture, tone, and performance. Draw from relevant literature to support their musical findings.
  • Performance reflection log: Students will submit a written “reflection log” of the songs performed each week during the semester. They should reflect on their own instrumental or vocal role in each song and how it relates to the wider song arrangement.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

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

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.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

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.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction to unit Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 02 Song Workshop Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 03 Song Workshop Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 04 Song Workshop Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 05 Song Workshop Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 06 Song Workshop Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 07 Song Workshop Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 08 Song Workshop Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 09 Song Workshop Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 11 Song Workshop Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3
Week 12 Song Workshop Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3

Attendance and class requirements

Attendance: Full (100%) 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 3 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 60-75 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 understandings of diverse forms of popular music and how to recreate such music in an ensemble
  • LO2. reflect critically on your music and music produced by your peers
  • LO3. apply rehearsal and collaborative performance techniques necessary to present diverse forms of popular music, and perform as “session” musicians.

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
No changes have been made since this unit was last offered.

Information on the weekly songs we'll be working on is available in detail on the Canvas site for this subject. 


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