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Unit of study_

MUSC2404: Contemporary Music Practice 4

Semester 2, 2021 [Normal day] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

In this unit of study, students will focus on three areas: generating effective lyrics, composing and recording instrumental tracks, and writing and recording toplines. In doing so they will build creative, technical and research skills. They will continue to build their ability to generate musical and lyrical material, and their familiarity with recording studios (both at the Con and home set-ups). They will also develop collaborative skills, through working together both in person and on line.

Unit details and rules

Unit code MUSC2404
Academic unit
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Paul McDermott,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Two Songs Demo
Demo of two songs based on tutorial lyric tasks
30% Week 04 Between 2 and 4min each + 500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Assignment Backing Track
Write and record a backing track
30% Week 08 Between 2:30 and 4:00
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Participation Tutorial participation
Preparation for and participation in tutes
10% Week 12 N/A
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Top Line and Final Track
Write and record top line. Mix final track
30% Week 12 Between 2:30 and 4:00
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Assessment summary

- Two Song Demo: Students need to submit two songs that with lyrics written in response to the tutorial tasks

- Backing track: Students need to compose ansd recors a backing track to share with their class mates.


- Top line, final song: Students need to write and record a vocal part for another student’s backing track and mix the final track.

Assessment criteria

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


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.

Evidence of ability to problematise and think conceptually (high credit 70-74).

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:

Late submission of work: As per the University’s Assessment Procedures 2011 policy, Clause 7A, (1) It is expected that unless an application for Special Consideration has been approved, students will submit all assessment for a unit of study on the due date specified, by 11.59pm. If the assessment is completed or submitted within the period of extension, no academic penalty will be applied to that piece of assessment. (2) If an extension is either not sought, not granted or is granted but work is submitted after the extended due date, the late submission of assessment will result in an academic penalty as follows: A penalty of 5% of the maximum mark will be applied per calendar day the assessment is late. After 10 calendar days, mark of zero is given for that assessment.

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

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. • Apply composition, rehearsal, performance, recording and production techniques necessary to present diverse forms of contemporary music.
  • LO2. • Reflect critically on their own music and music produced by their peers;
  • LO3. • Document and maintain records of collaborative and individual music practice activities;
  • LO4. • Demonstrate understandings of diverse forms of contemporary music and how to recreate such music in individual and group-based contexts from a technical perspective;

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.

More intellectually stimulating content, connected to readings and concepts. Clearer feedback


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

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