Riccarton High School Riccarton High School

Level 1 Music

Subject Description

Teacher in Charge: Ms A. Plummer.

Recommended Prior Learning

Students must play an instrument or sing with confidence to do this course. Involvement with Performance Music at Year 9 or 10 will help when choosing repertoire and performing at Year 11 and beyond.

If you do select music as a L1 course, see me in Term 4 about musical instrument tuition opportunities.

Watch Kiera perform her Group Performance piece with the Jazz Band at Jazz Quest 

Jazz Band perform Love me or Leave me

This course builds skills in solo and group performance on an instrument or with voice. It also provides study of composition (writing your own music), music knowledge/inquiry, aural (listening) skills, score reading and music technology. It is recommended that students should have at least 1 year of learning an instrument or voice either through the school's itinerant lessons, or privately with an outside teacher. This is because you will have to be able to perform with confidence in front of an audience such as a small group of friends, the whole class or for a wider audience like a school concert. This performance gets filmed. As this is a large component of the course, it is essential that you play an instrument or sing with confidence.


Music skills: 

Identify and apply music skills, consistent with a music style (encompasses traditional and contemporary styles from Aotearoa New Zealand, the Pacific, and the wider world)  to describe  how a range of music skills are used and combined to create stylistic effects.


Incorporate stage presentation skills in a performance and use technical and musicianship skills appropriate to the instrument that enable the music to be presented.

Music Inquiry: Describing music concepts that are significant to two pieces of music and describe the music concepts in each piece that are connected to the contexts.

Composition & Songwriting:

 Identify and use music concepts to organise music ideas in a music style and create an appropriate visual representation for the music style of the composition.





Assessment Mode


L1 Lit

L1 Num

UE Read

UE Write




1.1 Use music skills in a music style

Practical and/or written





1.2 Demonstrate performance skills






1.3 Demonstrate understanding of music in relation to contexts






1.4 Shape music ideas to create an original composition

Practical and/or written


SOLO performance is where you perform a short piece of music on your instrument. This can have a backing track playing in the background, or someone else might be required to accompany, usually on the guitar or piano. There are plenty of chances to practise in front of the class or a smaller audience if you prefer. The level of performance required for L1 is in the region of Grade 3. Some of you that have been playing since year 9 or before will be at that level or higher. It is important to note that every individual performance is marked on musicality and technical ability. Although there is a benchmark, we assess this component holistically. 

Listen to "A change is gonna come" performed by Samuela 2016

Here is another solo performance by Cailin, to give you an idea what is involved.

It's not all about performing. We study songs from well-known artists such as The Beatles, Queen and from Musical Theatre. 

We also do Composition. This is where you compose two pieces of music.  You may use music technology to create and record your work. Composition occurs throughout the year and we submit your best work as a portfolio which goes off for external moderation.

Theory and Aural skills can be assessed as a practical or a written test.  For example, if you chose to play a Jazz piece on your instrument for 1.2, you can be assessed doing an improvisation in the same style for 1.1.

Subject Overview

Term 1
Repertoire for performance whether it is as a soloist or part of a group is selected. You will work on specific pieces of music through consultation with the teacher, to check for difficulty level. Singers will need to know their vocal range but advice will be given with regards to which songs are most suitable and why. Basic aural skills are introduced, and non-music readers will start to learn this essential part of the course.
We study a range of songs by The Beatles from their early career 1962 to 1967. Songs will be analysed and written about, and various research projects will be assessed to form part of the Music context External (1.3)

Term 2
The first Solo Performance exam will take place in class time.
We continue to work on The Beatles unit of work and focus on song writing skills to help with the more academic understanding of musical analysis.
Students who read music fluently are extended through theory sessions to suit their level of understanding.

Term 3
We study a second Music Work which will come from Tāngata Whenua. You will learn characteristic features of a range of Waiata Māori and identify how these can be incorporated into a range of genres.

Students will perform their second solo performance piece during class time. Some outstanding performances may be requested to perform again at a school event such as the Musical Extravaganza.

Term 4
Rounding off anything that needs to be completed.

Learning Areas:

Ngā Toi - Arts

Assessment Information

We do FOUR standards from the above list. In some cases, students with exceptional musical ability may wish to extend their learning with theory and aural.


Level 2 Music

Music is a fundamental form of personal and cultural expression. By making, sharing and responding to music, you have the opportunity to develop your creative potential and extend your performance skills, as well as laying a foundation for lifelong enjoyment of and participation in music.
Any employer would be impressed to learn you have musical ability. Being a musician requires years of dedication to learning an instrument. This shows you have what it takes to be motivated, shows discipline, the ability to overcome obstacles and become confident when performing in front of others.

Approximate Costs and Equipment/Stationery

A quality pair of headphones.
A device with a high processing capability.
Muse Score 4 and Ableton Live installed on your device.