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New Zealand Scholarship Music

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2017 Assessment Report

Music assessment specification

Scholarship Performance Standard (93305) Music
Mode of Assessment Portfolio submission and written examination
For Year 2018

Format of the assessment

The assessment is in two parts:

  • the portfolio submission, containing evidence of the candidate’s work as a performer, a composer, or a musicologist, supported by a critical reflective analysis
  • the written examination.

The portfolio submission, together with an authenticity declaration, must be handed in to the supervisor, in a clear plastic ziplock bag, when the candidate enters the Examination room.

Part One: The portfolio submission
(a) The performance, composition, or musicology component

The performance candidate must submit a video recording of their performance as a featured soloist of a significant work or programme of works. If available, a copy of the score of the works performed should be supplied with the recording.

The performance must:

  • be no more than 15 minutes in duration (this timing includes pauses between items)
  • take place in front of an audience
  • be presented entire and uninterrupted (the recording must not be paused or stopped during the performance)
  • be recorded by a stationary camera, and the sound recording should be of the highest-possible fidelity. (A separate microphone set-up may give better results than a camera’s in-built microphone).

NOTE: The maximum duration of the performance is set at 15 minutes as this is considered to be sufficient time for a candidate to demonstrate their fulfilment of the requirements for Scholarship. A performance that exceeds this time limit by a few seconds will not be penalised, but the marker will not watch the remainder of a performance that significantly exceeds this time.

The composition candidate must submit the score and audio recording of a significant work or a selection of shorter works they have composed.

The recording:

  • may comprise any combination of live performance or computer realisation of the work(s) (i.e. inclusion of a live performance is not mandatory)
  • must be no more than 15 minutes in duration.

The musicology candidate must submit a comprehensive study (no longer than 3000 words) of a substantial musical work, along with an annotated score of the work. This must include:

  • an examination of FIVE musical elements deemed by the candidate to be most significant
  • a critical discussion outlining the musical contribution of each element in relation to the success and/or effectiveness of the work.

(b) The critical reflective analysis
The performance, composition or musicology component must be supported by a critical reflective analysis.

  • Format: numbered A4 pages
  • Length: no longer than 3000 words
  • Presentation: appropriate conventions for clear presentation of text should be followed, e.g. headings and subheadings, paragraphs, work titles in italics (for reference, see Trevor Herbert, Music in Words: A Guide to Researching and Writing about Music (London: ABRSM Publishing, 2001))
  • Originality: the sources of ideas other than the candidate’s own must be acknowledged
  • Sources: primary and secondary sources, including references to scores, must be acknowledged using formal referencing conventions.

The performance portfolio must include a critical reflective analysis of the work(s) that may involve, but is not limited to, discussion of:

  • choice of repertoire
  • programming decisions
  • how characteristics of the music were considered in preparing the performance (e.g. rhythmic features, tonality, tempo, dynamics)
  • how stylistic features of the music were considered in preparing the performance (e.g. ornamentation in Baroque music, technological effects in rock, improvisation in jazz, cultural practices)
  • how technical issues were considered in preparing the performance (e.g. bowing, picking, fingering, breathing, stance, diction, language, articulation)
  • how musicianship issues were considered in preparing the performance (e.g balance and voice-leading).

The composition portfolio must include a critical reflective analysis of the work(s) that may involve, but is not limited to, discussion of:

  • choice of instrumentation
  • choice of texts
  • how musical ideas were developed and structured
  • issues related to notation
  • how technical demands of realisation of the music in performance music were considered (e.g. bowing, fingering, breathing, language, articulation, conducting a performance)
  • how stylistic features were considered
  • how the work is representative of the developing skills, style, and/or philosophy of the composer.

The musicology portfolio must include a critical reflective analysis of the work (no longer than 3000 words) which may involve, but is not limited to:

  • the extent to which the musical elements are typical of the period in which the work was written
  • the place of the work in the composer’s output
  • the place of the work in the development of the genre.

Part Two: The written examination

The examination paper will comprise two sections, each including a number of optional questions. Candidates will be required to refer to the supplied resource booklet, which contains musical score extracts in a range of genres and styles, to select and answer one question from each section:

  • the question from Section A will require analysis of an individual score extract
  • the question from Section B will require comparison of two score extracts.

Candidates may annotate the selected score extracts to support their answers.

Further guidelines for teachers


Candidates must complete and sign an Authenticity Declaration (DOC, 364KB) to verify that the material presented for assessment in the portfolio submission is their own work.


Teachers must ensure no identifying written features (e.g. the candidate’s name, or the name of the school) are included in any part of the portfolio submission. The only identifying features on any work submitted should be the school code, the candidate’s NSN, and the standard number.

Audiovisual material

Audiovisual material must be submitted on CD or DVD, in a format suitable for playback in a standard CD or DVD player (i.e. not as data files requiring particular computer software for playback). It is recommended that, prior to submission to NZQA, discs be tested to ensure reliability of playback in a standard CD or DVD player.

CDs and DVDs must be packaged in a protective casing (e.g. bubble-wrap) to prevent damage. Both the disc and casing must display:

  • the candidate’s National Student Number (NSN)
  • the school code
  • the level of assessment and the year (“Scholarship Music 2017”)
  • the standard number (“93305”).


Schools are responsible for providing secure storage for all work submitted for external assessment in digital format. Schools must retain copies of any work submitted in digital format by a candidate, in case of loss.

2018 Examination timetable

 Music resources

The links listed below are for resources to help teachers and students understand what is required for success in New Zealand Scholarship.

Performance standards

Exam materials (question books, resource books, reports, schedules, etc)

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