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Unit outline_

MUSC3406: Contemporary Music Practice 6

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

In this unit, students will be supported in developing a capstone project (20-30 minutes of new music) representing the culmination of skills developed over the course of all prior units in Contemporary Music Practice. In developing this work, students will interrogate the nature of innovation in their own original music. Students will experiment with a range of digital music techniques via practical activities. They will also investigate various means of presenting their music to the outside world. This will include consideration of online music cultures.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Paul McDermott,
Tutor(s) Rainbow Chan,
Paul Mac,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Participation Preparation, Participation and Weekly Log
Class participation/Weekly Log
20% Ongoing
Due date: 14 Nov 2021 at 23:59
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Presentation Pitch and schedule
Oral presentation
10% Week 03
Due date: 29 Aug 2021 at 23:59
10 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Creative assessment / demonstration Creative Parameters Project
Compositon and written task
50% Week 13
Due date: 14 Nov 2021 at 23:59
17 minutes
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO4 LO3 LO2
Assignment Listening Notes
Written task
20% Week 13
Due date: 02 Aug 2021 at 13:29
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Assessment summary

  • Preparation, participation and weekly log: You will be marked on your preparation and participation in classes over the course of the semester. You are encouraged to be professional in both your work and your attitude to this work. Each week, you will have 1-on-1 time in a studio with the instructors and will submit a “weekly log” on the discussion board. 
  • Pitch and schedule: Develop and present a plan for an EP based on at least 5 creative parameters chosen from the list provided (or others approved by your teachers). The plan will detail each parameter, what the student intends to learn from it, and show musical examples of each parameter to back up their ideas. 
  • Creative Parameters EP: Write, perform and produce an EP based on 5 different creative parameters. The EP should be presented as a unified body of work. We encourage you to think about your creative output in terms of who and what you represent and why it is important to you. The resulting EP must be approximately 20 minutes (or 30 minutes in duos, 40 minutes in trios as approved by the coordinator).
  • Listening Notes: Compile listening notes for each of your parameters using the template to be provided on Canvas. You will need to cover areas such as your intention, process and reflection of learning. 

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

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 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.

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 & Creative Parameters Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Introduction to semester and creative parameters Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 02 Project Check-in & Feedback Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Pitch and schedule presentations Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 03 Project Check-in & Feedback Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Workshopping Ideas Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 04 Project Check-in & Feedback Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Weekly working on projects Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 05 Project Check-in & Feedback Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Weekly working on projects Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 06 Project Check-in & Feedback Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Weekly working on projects Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 07 Project Check-in & Feedback Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Weekly working on projects Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 08 Project Check-in & Feedback Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Weekly working on projects Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 09 Project Check-in & Feedback Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Weekly working on projects Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 12 Project Check-in & Feedback Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Weekly working on projects Workshop (2 hr)  
Week 13 Project Check-in & Feedback Lecture (1 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Unit Review Workshop (2 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4

Attendance and class requirements

  • Attendance: 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 high level production, performance and song writing skills
  • LO2. apply music curation skills in choosing material for a capstone project
  • LO3. apply understandings of the music industry to develop an electronic press kit
  • LO4. demonstrate project design and management skills.

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.



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