Collaborative Music Studies Year Three

Unit of Study - Collaborative Music Studies 301

The following applies to Year Three Bachelor of Music students.

Unit Outlines

Unit NameCollaborative Music Studies 3 (formerly, Ensemble 3)
Unit CodeCOLMUS301
Unit DescriptionIn this unit students will focus on the study of ensemble playing and preparation for leading group performance; understand and create musical collaborations that can occur in the classroom, across the internet, or a combination of both; and demonstrate their ability to create collaborative projects that involve real time and/or distance communication as occurs in the contemporary musical world.
Assessment will be in 3 parts, 2 practical assessments and one written reflective journal, and take into consideration the student’s alternating roles of ensemble leader and member. This unit is more about ‘collaboration’ than physical performance, thus it follows many contemporary-music production methods.
Award(s)Bachelor of Music
Unit Duration1 Semester (12 weeks)
Year LevelYear 3, Semester 2
Unit CoordinatorDr. Mark Gasser
Teaching StaffLecturer: Dr. Mark Gasser
Credit Points10 credit points
Mode of Deliveryx Face to face
x E-learning (online)
o Ontensive/block mode (where the unit or a face to face component is delivered in a block)
x Distance/independent learning (un-timetabled)
x Full-time
x Part-time
o External
o Fast track
Student Workload
Delivery/ Contact Hours
Number of timetabled hours per week
Lecture Theory 1 hour
Practical Session - 1 hour
Tutorial - n/a
Personal Independent Study - 6 hours
Total hours per week - 8 hours
Resource Requirements• Instrument
• Video camera (distance students)
• Web camera (distance students)
• Computer facilities
• Video editing software
• External technical help
Resources Provided• On-campus equipment and performance facilities
• Online streaming video and additional referencing videos
• Library resources (see prescribed or recommended texts below)

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students are expected to be able to:

  1. Select and perform a diverse and varied program of appropriate repertoire in a group performance.
  2. Develop and display leadership and ensemble skills when collaborating with others to direct and prepare musical ensembles for professional performance, equally showing pragmatic leadership and attentive cooperation skills.
  3. Rehearse material for performance with ensembles.
  4. Demonstrate communication and critical skills through constructive review of peers and external group performances.

Teaching Outline

Year 3
Semester 2
Collaborative Music Studies considers individual progress made through self-directed practice in the context of leading and playing with other musicians in collaborative scenarios. There are a number of possible options for students to undertake in this course, and the choice of option will depend on the individual student’s strengths and geographic location. All students will choose their particular option, in collaboration with other students and the permission of the unit coordinator.

These options include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. Each student presents at least one piece that he/she has personally arranged and led.
1.1 Attending students are placed into groups with other attending students. Each student prepares and runs one piece, and performs as a member of a group run by another student.
1.2 Distance students form groups with local musicians in their area. Students film rehearsals and submit these recordings.

2. External intensive workshops for distance students.
Distance students meet collectively with other distance students and a supervision from the faculty for intensive workshops/tutorials, 3-4 times over semester. These meetings would be in place of weekly classes when run, and be live streamed back to campus. The final meeting would be a performance as per standard assessment procedure.

3. Technology and alternative methods of collaboration

Distance students share and contribute parts to videos/audio recordings. Collaborative Musical Studies functions as a collaborative recording rather than a live performance, e.g. Students perform live to recordings/videos of each other’s playing, filming their performance. There are no options for multiple takes and multitracking. Such software as Bandlab, etc. can be utilised here. Using tools like Kompoz, BandHub, Vampr etc. students can also interact with musicians around the world and outside of the course.
Technology Capstone students produce and direct ensembles for recording and production. Can be distance or attending. Students act as a producer of collaborative work, producing and directing students to record individual parts along with existing tracks and mix/remix/master final product.

4. Composition Capstone students compose for available ensembles. Students compose original works/arrangements, and direct and liaise with ensembles, watch rehearsal videos and adapt pieces accordingly for the final performance.

5. Any student, but particularly Performance students (although it could also work for Composition students) will have access one of the Guild’s professional partner ensembles. With the dual supervision of the professional group’s coordinator and the Collaborative Music Studies coordinator, a student can spend part, or even all, of a semester as member of this external ensemble.

Student Assessment

Assessment TypeWhen assessedWeightingLearning Outcomes Assessed
Assessment 1 Collaborative Role assessment
(Leader or ensemble member)
(Equivalent 1500 words)

Week 435%4
Assessment 2 Reflective journal

(Equivalent 1000 words)
Week 830%1, 2, 3
Assessment 3 Collaborative Role assessment
(Leader or ensemble member)
(Equivalent 1500 words)
Week 1235%1, 2, 3

All assessments will be undertaken by the coordinator plus the Academic Director or nominee.

Prescribed and Recommended Readings

Library Resources (Free through Moodle)

A subscription to Oxford Music Online and to Grove Music Online, plus updated content bibliographies, specially-commissioned articles only available online.

A subscription to JSTOR journals and books.


Recommended Reading

Hill, B. J. (2010). Human machine music: Twenty-first century models of music performance practice in an Australian contemporary music community. (Ph.D. thesis, Southern Cross University). ePublications@SCU: Lismore, NSW.

Jong, J. B. de. (2006). Collective talent: A study of improvisational group performance in music. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Nyman, M. (1999). Experimental music: Cage and beyond (2nd ed.). Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press.

Parker, R. O. (1998). Creativity in performance. Greenwich, CN: Ablex.


All written work is to be cited in APA author-date style. Good references can be found here:

#Course Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should be able to demonstrate:
Unit Learning OutcomesAssessments
1A broad knowledge of the applied, theoretical and historical basis of the discipline1, 2, 3, 4, 51, 2, 3
2A depth of disciplinary knowledge in a professionally applicable specialisation1, 2, 3, 4, 51, 3
3An understanding of the processes of musical scholarship and research1, 2, 3, 4, 52
4The ability to work both independently and collaboratively in diverse and complex musical settings1, 2, 3, 51, 2, 3
5Effective written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills3, 4, 52
6Critical thinking and analytical skills appropriate to a range of contexts including further study3, 4, 51, 2, 3
7The ability to apply specific musical skills to a wide range of professional contexts1, 2, 3, 4, 51, 2, 3
8The capacity to apply technological and creative solutions to contemporary musical practices1, 2, 31, 3
9The ability to incorporate knowledge from the business and legal fields to a portfolio career in the music profession.

#Graduate Attribute
Successful completion of this unit will contribute to the attainment of the following graduate attributes:
Unit Learning OutcomesCourse Learning OutcomesAssessments
1Deep disciplinary knowledge1, 2, 3, 4, 51, 2, 3, 4, 71, 3
2The ability to apply knowledge and skills in innovative ways1, 2, 3, 4, 54, 5, 6, 71, 3
3A commitment to lifelong learning1, 2, 3, 4, 51, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 71, 2, 3
4Effective communication skills for diverse contexts3, 4, 53, 5, 6, 71, 2, 3
5The capacity to work independently and collaboratively1, 2, 3, 4, 53, 4, 5, 6, 71, 2, 3