Stage 2 | Subject Outline | Versions control

Music Explorations Stage 2
Subject outline

Version 4.0 - For teaching in 2024.
Accredited in June 2017 for teaching at Stage 2 from 2019.

Stage 2 | Subject outline | Content | Understanding music

Understanding Music

Musical understanding underpins student learning in this subject. Students:

  • understand and apply musical elements
  • explore how music is made
  • explore and understand musical styles, influences, techniques, and/or production.

Understand and apply musical elements

Students develop and extend their knowledge and understanding of the elements of music, and apply this knowledge and understanding to exploring and experimenting with how music is made.

Students explore musical works or songs from either a single genre or style, or from a range of genres and styles, demonstrating and applying theoretical concepts in context. They develop and extend their understanding of the relationship of contemporary music notation to sound, and explore conventions associated with music.

For their creative works, students explore and experiment with selected elements appropriate to the instrumentation and style chosen. In developing and extending their musical literacy, students focus on contemporary music notation and terminology appropriate to their chosen style of music.

In this subject, the elements for study include:

  • rhythm
  • pitch
  • dynamics and expression
  • form and structure
  • timbre
  • texture.

Refer to the Music Explorations supporting document for articulation of the musical elements.

Explore how music is made

Students extend and apply their musical understanding by exploring and experimenting with sources of music and sound production, and ways of making and recording music. Sources of music and sound may include, but are not limited to:

  • traditional acoustic instruments
  • voices
  • traditional and non‑traditional ensembles or groups
  • electronic instruments (e.g. synthesiser, computer, sampler)
  • amplified instruments (e.g. electric guitar)
  • found sounds (e.g. brake drums, bottles of water, pieces of metal)
  • sampling, looping, turntable/controllers, or tape recorder
  • digital audio work stations, multi‑track audio, MIDI recording, computer‑based music coding
  • soundscapes.

Students explore and experiment with sound production and/or recording processes, either individually or with a music industry mentor, including, for example:

  • the recording industry
  • DJ/dance music production
  • instrument design and crafting
  • creating an audio product (e.g. digital upload of original songs)
  • radio music program production
  • pre‑production (analogue, digital — relative qualities)
  • production (microphone choice and placement, track sheet, instrumentation, stereo‑miking, click track, noise reduction, overdubbing, dubbing, editing wave files)
  • post‑production (mixdown, mastering, creating wave loops and editing).

Explore and understand musical styles, influences, and/or techniques

Students extend and apply their musical understanding through exploring, analysing, and discussing musical styles or genres and influences. They develop and extend their understanding of the function of music in social and cultural contexts. Explorations may include, but are not limited to:

  • musical theatre
  • jazz 
  • blues
  • 1950s rock ‘n’ roll
  • hip hop
  • electronic dance music
  • The Beatles
  • Indigenous music of Australia or the Torres Strait Islands
  • contemporary music of a particular culture or genre
  • music in the cinema and broadcasting media (e.g. film scores)
  • music in social or cultural context (e.g. protest music)
  • the use of music in ritual and ceremony in cultural contexts (e.g. wedding music)
  • music therapy
  • traditional music in contemporary contexts (e.g. Gurrumul and Paul Kelly; influence of Indian music in The Beatles’ music).

Students extend their understanding and appreciation of the aesthetic, stylistic, and technical dimensions of creating music. They explore how the music of others influences their own experimentation with music.

Students acquire knowledge and understanding of musical styles and influences, the elements of music, and how music is made. They apply this knowledge and understanding to develop and refine their musical imagination, their ideas about and appreciation of music, and to create their own music.