New Zealand Scholarship Music

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2018 Assessment Report

Music assessment specification

Scholarship Performance Standard (93305) Music
Mode of Assessment Portfolio submission 
For Year 2019

Format of the assessment

Each candidate must submit a portfolio and a critical reflective analysis for assessment for New Zealand Scholarship Music. The portfolio must contain evidence of the candidate’s work as either a performer, a composer, OR a musicologist. A portfolio is an organised collection of evidence that clearly communicates the candidate’s knowledge, understanding, and skills relevant to the Scholarship Music Performance Standard in their chosen discipline. Details of the presentation of each portfolio are outlined below.

The performance, composition, or musicology portfolio must also be supported by a critical reflective analysis that meets the following conditions:

  • 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.

Performance portfolio

(a)  The performance candidate must submit a video recording of up to 15 minutes of music from one or two of the following options:

  • their performance as a featured soloist of a significant work or programme of works
  • group performance
  • 2nd instrument.

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 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.)
  • If available, a copy of the score of the works performed should be supplied with the recording.

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.

(b)  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).

Composition Portfolio

(a)  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
  • may include one arrangement or re-composition (not more than 5 minutes).

(b)  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.

Musicology Portfolio

(a)  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 may be in the form of a video seminar (no longer than 15 minutes) or a 3000 word essay. 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 musicology portfolio must include a written 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
  • implications of this work on future composers and their compositions
  • a personal reflection of the work.

Further guidelines for teachers


The three aspects of the Scholarship Music Performance Standard that are assessed for Scholarship are: 

  • the application of knowledge and skills
  • the critical reflective analysis
  • communication.

These all have equal weighting of 8 marks each, and evidence may be drawn from any part of the portfolio. The total score will be out of 24.

The revised Music Scholarship Performance Standard can be found here. (DOC, 407KB)

The draft Assessment Schedule can be found here (DOCX, 18KB).


The portfolio should be submitted, through a process advised by NZQA, on the Music subject page in Term 3, 2019.


Schools are required to complete the NZ Scholarship Music Authenticity Declaration form (DOCX, 50KB) for each candidate and include this with the .pdf of their written reflection. Both candidates and teachers must attest that;

  • the material presented for assessment is the candidates' own
  • where applicable, performances are recorded in front of an audience and this must be obvious to the marker.

NZQA will carry out a random sample check of submitted written work using an anti-plagiarism tool.


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.


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.

2019 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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