Stage 2 | Subject Outline | Versions control

Music Studies 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

Understanding music is integral to student learning in this subject. Students:

  • understand and apply musical elements
  • understand and reflect on musical influences
  • think creatively and critically about musicianship and musicology
  • express musical ideas.

Understand and apply musical elements

Musical elements are integral to the learning in each of the three strands and are the building blocks of the subject.

Students apply their knowledge and understanding of the elements of music to deconstruct and analyse how composers manipulate these elements, respond to the works of others, and develop and extend their musical literacy skills.

Students manipulate musical elements to create their own musical works. They select elements appropriate to the instrumentation and style chosen.

In developing and extending their musical literacy skills, students focus on standard notation.

In this subject, the elements for study include:

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

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

Understand and reflect on musical influences

Students extend their musical understanding and musical literacy through creating and responding to music, and by reflecting on how the music of others influences their own creations (performances and/or compositions).

Students apply their knowledge and understanding of the elements of music, and musical conventions and styles, to develop and refine their musical works, their musical imagination, and their own ideas about and appreciation of music.

Thinking creatively and critically about musicianship and musicology

Students think creatively and critically about the nature and scope of music, and apply this understanding to make informed and innovative choices in developing their own musical creations (performances and/or compositions).


  • extend and apply a critical understanding of style, structure, notation, and conventions in performing and/or composing
  • apply and refine their aural perception and notation skills in creating and responding to music 
  • extend their understanding and appreciation of the aesthetic, stylistic, technical, and musical demands of creating music as a performer (instrumentalist and/or vocalist) and/or composer
  • enrich their aesthetic appreciation of music and its transformative powers.

Express musical ideas

Students synthesise their learning through music to express their ideas:

  • creatively, through their performances and/or compositions
  • critically, in responding to their own creations and interpreting those of others.

They develop and extend their understanding of how learning in music is an iterative process, and how the knowledge and skills developed through deconstructing, analysing, and responding to musical works can refine their musical thinking and inform the choices they make in creating music.

Students reflect on the specific processes, skills, and techniques required to create and present music, and on their own development, application, and improvement of musical skills in the learning process.