Riccarton High School Riccarton High School

Level 2 Music

Subject Description

Teacher in Charge: Ms A. Plummer.

Recommended Prior Learning

At least a Merit with Solo and Group Performance at Year 11. Merit or above in either Composition or Music Works. Students will have achieved 14 or more credits at NCEA Level 1 in Music to do this course. It is essential that students be willing to work with others in a Group Performance setting and make a positive contribution.

Students that enjoyed the practical elements at level 1 may wish to choose this course. There are plenty of practical opportunities available such as the Solo and Group Performance standards. Credits are also available for performing on a second instrument. Acoustic guitar and electric guitar count as 2 instruments. 

We spend time doing song analysis both for the lyric content of songs and to assist with theory. There is more emphasis on individual creativity at L2. Many students choose to do composition (6 credits and pieces) or Instrumentation (4 credits and1piece). Instrumentation requires a proficient level of music reading. This is where we take an existing piece of music which is already transcribed, and then re-arrange it for a quintet of instruments of your choice. This is scored using the software Sibelius or Musescore 4 . Musescore is an excellent free music notator programme which is amazingly easy to use. I recommend you download it as soon as possible and start to see how it works. Compositions can be done collaboratively, like you can see in this video below from the L2 boys of 2020.

 Feeling Free Recorded in 2020

At L1 the Music Works topics were comprised of short assignments. At L2 the Music Works is an external exam which is worth 6 credits. It has the bonus of literacy credits attached to it. We focus on 1950s Jazz, focusing on Dave Brubeck's Take 5. The context of this covers a range of social issues such as Jazz and the Civil Rights Movement. We also look at the development of Progressive Rock focusing on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.
For those that excel in theory there are 2 external exams. An accurate understanding of music reading, and theory are essential if you wish to do one of the externals.

There is an expectation that students will perform in the various events the music department organises throughout the year. They need to show full attendance at rehearsals and practise their instruments regularly to progress. Tuition is available in school for all L2 musicians that are already learning at L1 but only if there is definite progress made and a willingness to commit to extra-curricular activities.

Ziad performing his Group Piece "Live High" at the musical extravaganza 2019

Subject Overview

Term 1
The solo and group performance is the main focus. It is essential to select a repertoire that challenges. Plenty of practical sessions will occur to help get these 2 standards underway.
We start instrumentation which is mostly for those students that read music well. Guitarists and vocalists are encouraged to do song writing or composition.
We spend time going over essential theory skills such as key signatures to assist with musical analysis and creative tasks.
We also learn about Jazz in the 1950s, the context of this and some actual pieces from the albums Time Out by Dave Brubeck and
A Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.

Term 2
The first solo performance exam will be the main focus to start Term 2. The Instrumentation quintet is due in draft form as is composition number 1. A quality recording is helpful and a detailed commentary explaining the creative process is required. We spend time learning how to write about musical characteristics in detail through listening work. We concentrate on writing compare and contrast answers to generic questions based on the Music Works we study. Students who achieved well with The Beatles work , will find this perfectly easy enough to do.
The Musical Extravaganza will be one of the highlights of the Term. Many students get their group performance credits at this concert. Students are encouraged to develop their playing style and the delivery of their performance. Such skills are work-shopped in class time.

Term 3
Term 3 is when creative tasks get completed. Recordings get fine-tuned and written commentaries on creative work are submitted. There is plenty of opportunity for students to receive feedback on their progress before the final submission date. We focus on the second Music Work in depth and continue to do practice written tasks. Students taking theory externals will receive one on one or small group tuition. Solo Performance number 2 is completed, and students are prepared for a prelim exam which usually happens during one of the extended learning times.

Term 4
Even though students will be doing lots of practise papers and questions to prepare for the externals, there will still be plenty of time to do some practical work, to have fun with music-making so as not to get too stressed focusing on exams. Some students may be completing their solo or group performances if they didn't get the chance to do these in Term 3.
Often students that excel in song writing or composition complete more work than they need to because it is their passion, and so can submit this work for these standards the following year when they do Level 3.

Learning Areas:

Ngā Toi - Arts


Level 3 Music

Most students go onto L3 Music who excel in either performance, composition or both

Approximate Costs and Equipment/Stationery

Students will need a quality pair of headphones and their own device that is capable of running a DAW such as Ableton Live, Logic or Pro Tools.