Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Music 2017

Standard 93305

Part A: Commentary

The majority of submissions for the portfolio continue to be from performers, then composition, followed by musicology. Of the performers, piano is the most popular instrument. The remaining performers cover a very wide range of instruments with submission on harp, brass, drum kit and voice all featuring. Many composition submissions showed evidence that they had been performed in live settings. A larger number of candidates than experienced in previous years went significantly over the 15-minute time limit, which is not desirable.

A larger number of candidates than usual did not complete both questions in the examination.

Further considerations for portfolio submissions:

  • Performance AND Composition:  Include scores of all pieces performed and composed with the submission. Composition scores should be annotated as per the criteria
  • Ensure that the length of the submission is adequate to demonstrate achievement at Scholarship level.
  • The duration of performances is clearly outlined in the assessment specifications. Candidates need to consider this when choosing repertoire.

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • competed two essays that had well-structured answers (often accompanied by a clear plan on the planning page) that covered all aspects of the questions selected (i.e. full detailed answers to parts a & b of each question) and each paragraph was supported with detailed, specific, and appropriate evidence
  • integrated accurate and appropriate musical terminology into answers - this was done throughout their essays which demonstrated their high level of understanding of the elements, characteristics, and features of the works analysed 
  • showed an advanced level of understanding of the work and the context in which it was written.  Candidates drew upon their understanding of the work’s place, in regards to its historical and cultural context and/or the period and genre to show a greater level of insight (i.e. they discussed the work with details that drew on their advanced funds of knowledge to support their answers, and wrote about more than just what could be described from analysing the score) 
  • provided a portfolio that was well presented and carefully chosen to meet the guidelines of the scholarship criteria e.g. within the 15mins, performance repertoire was varied and demonstrated a highly advanced level of technical ability and musical awareness/understanding of the works compositions were highly creative, well structured, and instrumentation carefully considered, musicology works were substantial with detailed annotations and analysis
  • provided a critical analysis that was insightful, highly reflective, and analysed the whole process (e.g. from planning to performance) and well as future steps. The reflection was original and did not draw from material from the exemplar online.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • accurately identified most key aspects from the scores (elements, characteristics, and features relevant to the question chosen - and correctly identified important aspects specific to the essay question e.g. period the work was written) and used some specific, appropriate evidence from the scores to support their answers
  • used appropriate terminology
  • fully answered the question and both sections of the question
  • provided portfolios which 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

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • did not fully answer the essay questions (e.g. answered section a but not section b) or did not attempt the question at all
  • misread the instructions and used the same extract for more than one essay answer
  • did not accurately identify elements, features, and characteristics in the score/s (e.g. word painting was frequently misunderstood with incorrect examples from the score used to support answers), discussed material which was not relevant to the question, used incorrect terminology, did not use evidence from the score to support their answers, misidentified the period the work was written in, and generally demonstrated a lack of knowledge of the work analysed
  • provided a portfolio which did not meet the criteria (e.g. performance or composition/s totalling less than half of the 15 minutes) or one which does not fulfil the guidelines (e.g. musicology – does not provide an examination of 5 musical elements) 
  • wrote a commentary which described rather than reflected upon and analysed their works for their critical analysis submission. Some candidates did not supply a critical analysis/reflection at all. Many copied sections of the exemplar online.

Subject page


Previous years' reports
2016 (PDF, 188KB)

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