Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Music 2016

Standard 93305

Part A: Commentary

The quality of submissions for all aspects of the portfolio increases annually.

 Performance candidates who submit a specific recital and refer explicitly to the process undertaken to select their repertoire and to prepare it tend to fare well. 

Likewise, composition candidates who work with live musicians during the composition and recording process tend to present work which shows a higher level of instrumental understanding than students who rely on music notation software. This does not mean that students who submit computer generated files are disadvantaged, it simply acknowledges the advantages of active work with live musicians during the composition process.  

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • had well-structured responses with strong supporting, specific evidence from the score throughout their answers in their examination submission
  • demonstrated appropriate and accurate use of a wide range of musical terminology to describe characteristics, elements, and features, of the works analysed. For example, they could identify and name an ostinato or a melodic sequence
  • wrote detailed responses to both parts of the question (part a and b)
  • demonstrated critical analysis which showed insight and draws on their funds of knowledge of the work, period, or style of music being analysed to further support their answer
  • provided a portfolio which met all guidelines (e.g. compositions or performances were at or close to the maximum 15minutes, and musicology submission analysed a substantial, full work (e.g. whole concerto or symphony rather than only one or two movements)
  • provided a highly insightful reflection which critically reflected on the whole process (e.g. performance – planning, issues, and technical demands prior to the performance, referring to other performances they had researched on YouTube, for example, as well as analysis of the actual performance (future steps), or for composition discussed the process of development of ideas).

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • integrated some appropriate evidence from the score extracts to support their answers
  • accurately identified key elements, characteristics, and features of the scores analysed
  • answered questions in full, covering all aspects of the questions in detail
  • demonstrated advanced technical skills and understanding of their chosen works (performance); originality and comprehensive understanding of elements, characteristics, and performance techniques (composition); an in-depth critical discussion which clearly analysed the effectiveness/success of work, in regards to the musical contribution of significant elements used.

Other candidates commonly:

  • did not fully answer the essay questions (many treated part b as a short conclusion) and provided a descriptive commentary of what they saw in the score rather than addressing specific elements of the question
  • provided inaccurate descriptions in their analysis of the score (common errors included incorrect description of the form of a work, and a lack of understanding in regards to what a ‘piano reduction’ or ‘keyboard for rehearsal’ only means)
  • provided a limited portfolio (eg performance or composition/s totalling less than half of the 15 minutes) or one which did not fulfil the guidelines (eg musicology – does not provide an examination of 5 musical elements)
  • wrote a critical analysis which only described the work/s, a narrative which analyses some of the features rather than reflecting and commenting on the technical demands and issues they (the candidate) encountered and how these were overcome (performance & composition submissions). 

Further comments

Candidates are advised to adhere to the following:

  • Performance.  Include scores of all pieces performed where possible. Ensure that the length of the submission is adequate to demonstrate achievement at Scholarship level.
  • Musicology. Ensure that 5 elements are identified and discussed.

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