What is Music about?
Subject-specific terms can be found in the glossary.
Music is a rich part of the diverse cultures of Aotearoa. It is a vital part of life for Māori and Pacific communities, as an art form that can be used to express histories, local contexts, language, aspirations, and mātauranga Māori and Pacific knowledges.
Through music, ākonga can develop a deeper understanding of themselves, and explore different contexts and kaupapa. Music can be a waka, or vaka, for learners to connect with their whakapapa and engage with their own, and others’ contexts, spirituality, emotions, and ideas. They can build confidence in their value as artists that bring their own experiences and culture to musical works, and explore how music relates to their sense of identity.
Learning about music enables ākonga to understand it is a sonic language born of context that communicates layered meaning in expressive musical works. They can learn to express and interpret ideas within diverse creative, technological, and cultural frameworks. Ākonga may be able to work both independently and collaboratively to construct meanings, produce music, and value others’ contributions.
Participating in music enhances personal wellbeing. An aspiration for music educators is to encourage ākonga to be active participants in music, rather than passive consumers of it.
In this subject, ākonga can develop confidence in their ability to express themselves creatively and emotionally through the creation of original music and performing to audience. They can learn about music as a craft, with its own structures, elements tikanga and symbols.
The experiences, knowledge bases, values, and worldviews of teachers and learners from Māori and Pacific cultural backgrounds are an integral part of developing this subject. In Music, it is anticipated that learners’ ways of being in the world are harnessed to shape teaching, learning, and assessment. This means that a wide range of cultural knowledges will be drawn upon, including te ao Māori and Pacific. In turn, the learning programme is more likely to be accessible to diverse learners, and connect to the range of knowledge, skills, and competencies for a wide range of possible pathways.
Big Ideas and Significant Learning
Big Ideas are derived from the Learning Area essence statement and capture the essence of a subject, ensuring coherence rather than fragmentation of learning. At the subject level, they inform the Significant Learning – learning that is critical for students to know, understand, and do in relation to a subject by the end of each Curriculum Level. This covers knowledge, skills, competencies, and attitudes and also includes level-appropriate contexts students should encounter in senior secondary education.
Significant Learning is collated into a Learning Matrix and progresses across Curriculum Levels 6-8. Teachers can use the Learning Matrix as a tool to construct learning programmes that cover all the 'not to be missed' learning in a subject. There is no prescribed order to the Learning Matrix within each level. A programme of learning might begin with a context that is relevant to the local area of the school or an idea that students are particularly interested in. This topic or context has to relate to at least one Big Idea and may also link to other Big Ideas. The Learning Matrix is designed so that educators have the freedom to create courses that are both flexible and coherent.
Across all curriculum levels, Music students will experience music as a waka, or vaka, to explore diverse worldviews. This learning will help ākonga demonstrate understanding of Pacific values and the tikanga of Māori music, and value mātauranga Māori and indigenous Pacific knowledges.
Music's five Big Ideas are derived from the Arts Learning Area.
Music is an expression of, and a way of connecting with, whakapapa, identity and culture
This idea acknowledges the mauri of the learner and how music, as a form of cultural currency, can enable them to connect with their kin. Through music, learners can explore how music allows identity to be expressed and communicate their sense of self in music, whether this be through reflecting on the place of music in culture or how to negotiate their 'space and place' in a music group or music education environment.
Music is a sonic language born of context
This idea describes how music is a form of communication through sound that has its own symbols and structure. It can be created and experienced by people from any cultural or socio-economic context. By recognising that music is a language, students can learn to understand the signs and symbols of the language of sound. This understanding can enable a deeper exploration into the tikanga and reo features of Māori music.
Music is a craft that enables people to construct meaning
This idea recognises that music involves the development of skills, many of which are interrelated. By developing these skills, music learners can achieve a broader musical understanding and appreciation of the world, and are better equipped to construct meaning out of it through sound. Ākonga will be able to explore how meaning can be constructed through creation, re-creation, and analysis of music.
Music communicates intent through the organisation of sound
It is important to recognise that deliberate decisions are made during the composition and performance of music. These decisions will be based on the creator's understanding of how music ideas resonate with the self and how the experience of music can produce an intended effect.
Music enables people to experience and express feelings
Music can resonate with people in different ways to other kinds of languages, and can provide a means for people to translate thought patterns and feelings into sound. Music can provide a unique way for people to connect their experiences and expressions of feelings with their own value system.
Key Competencies in Music
Developing Key Competencies through Music
Music provides learners with opportunities to develop the curriculum key competencies in practical and engaging contexts.
Students in Music will:
- reflect on the impact of decisions they made during the creative process and use this knowledge to inform their future decision-making in music
- think about how people’s diverse experiences and ideas enable the ongoing creation of rich and varied musical outputs across cultures.
Using language, symbols and texts
Students in Music will:
- start to understand the symbols and signs within the language of music
- develop understanding of how music-makers convey intent and meaning through the organisation and use of music symbols and language.
Relating to others
Students in Music will:
- reflect on how making and listening to music elicits feelings and sensations from other people
- understand how other people create and experience music
- gain insight into how audiences engage with music and become more accepting of how listeners are a valuable part of musical experience.
Students in Music will:
- develop understanding of the impact music can have on their own feelings and wellbeing
- develop the ability to complete successful music projects and build confidence in upholding the integrity of their musical output
- think about how they can engage with music-making in a way that enhances their own personal wellbeing.
Participating and contributing
Students in Music will:
- experience the creative process of music as an individual and in collaboration with others
- develop skills of the craft independently and in collaboration with others
- reflect on how music projects contribute to communities, depending on whether they are developed independently or in collaboration with others
- think about how they are engaging with the wider music community, and what aspects of learning about music are a personal experience and what may be shared experience.
This section of New Zealand Curriculum online offers guidance to school leaders and teachers on integrating the Key Competencies into the daily activities of the school and its Teaching and Learning Programmes.
Introduction to sample course outlines
Sample Course Outlines are being produced to help teachers and schools understand the new NCEA Learning Matrix and Achievement Standards. The draft Course Outlines that were published at the end of Phase 1, Level 1 product development are now being taken down. Work will continue on these, reflecting the changes noted in the SEG responses, and the additional detail that will be provided in Phase 2 products. They will be re-published for the next cycle of feedback on the Phase 2 products in early August 2021. Exemplars of student work will be provided after the Pilot phase in 2022.
Unpacking The Standards
These statements help to unpack the ways in which the Achievement Standards assess the Significant Learning in the Learning Matrix.
1.1 (Internal) Demonstrate understanding of elements of music
This standard is connected with the Big Ideas that music is organised sound expressed with intent, and that music is a sonic language born of context. It will assess how ākonga can demonstrate understanding of how music from any context is a structured artform, where different elements are combined to create musical output.
1.2 (Internal) Create original music
This standard is connected with the Big Ideas that music enables people to experience and express feelings, and that music is organised sound expressed with intent. It is also connected with the Significant Learning that ākonga will participate in music-making, that they will create original music, and they will explore music ideas that communicate with intent.
This standard provides teachers with the flexibility to encourage ākonga to develop their own sense of agency through making music. It is designed to encourage music learners to explore how their own and others' emotions, ideas, and perspectives are conveyed through music.
1.3 (External) Demonstrate understanding of Māori music and music from one other context
This standard provides teachers the opportunity to engage ākonga in exploring different aspects of music in varied contexts, and understanding how music is a waka, or vaka, to explore different worldviews. Learners' preparation for this standard will involve exploring the tikanga and reo features of Māori music, and identifying what ihi, wehi and wana means in a Māori music context.
1.4 (External) Perform music
This standard connects with the Big Idea that music is a craft than enables people to construct meaning. It also connects with the Significant Learnings that ākonga will perform music and develop awareness of musical performance within contrasting contexts.
The standard is designed to be inclusive of musical performance conventions and styles from any context.