Musicianship Year One

Unit of Study - Musicianship 101

The following applies to Year One Bachelor of Music students.

Unit Outlines

Unit NameFoundational Harmony / Music In Contemporary Practice
Unit CodeMUSHIP 101
Unit DescriptionIn this Unit students will:
• Explore the theoretical foundations of traditional and contemporary Western music.
• Analyse contemporary music examples for conformity to or variation from standard practice.
• Apply theoretical skills to create contemporary music.
• Understand variations encountered in professional practice.
• Clearly present musical ideas with notational software.
• Develop aural skills to identify and write intervals as well as contemporary styled melodies, rhythms and harmonies.
Award(s)Bachelor of Music
Unit Duration1 Semester (12 weeks)
Year LevelYear 1, Semester 1
Unit CoordinatorDr Matthew Field
Teaching StaffDr Matthew Field
Credit Points15 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
Live Lecture Theory – 1 hour
Live Lecture Aural – 1 hour
Tutorial – 1 hour
Personal Study recommended - 8 hours
Total hours per week - 11 hours
Resource Requirements• Computing resource requirements
• Fast and reliable internet connection
• Cloud Software
• Technical Help
Resources Provided• Moodle (included with registration)
• Noteflight (embedded into Moodle)
• Ear Master Pro (Cloud) [login provided]
• Moodle Quizzes (embedded into Moodle)
• Library resources (see prescribed or recommended texts below)

Unit Aims

In Musicianship 101 students will gain fundamental skills and knowledge in traditional and contemporary Western music theory.  This will be achieved through ensuring a solid and flexible foundation in the rudiments of music and then developing further study of melody, harmony and counterpoint through scaffolded and sequential learning tasks.  Knowledge will be directly applied to creating, arranging and harmonizing music in contemporary styles with specific and clear requirements to demonstrate competence in key areas.  Students will also develop their aural skills (‘inner ear’) and develop sight singing and rhythm skills as well as transcription skills applied to real world situations.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of music theory rudiments including variations they may encounter in professional practice.
  2. Create functional harmonies suitable for use in contemporary and traditional music styles.
  3. Develop, research and evaluate melodic and harmonic techniques through exploration and creative practice.
  4. Evaluate music in their repertoire or in popular use regarding how various musical concepts are applied.
  5. Identify melodic and harmonic devices in diverse musical genres and styles.
  6. Vocalise intervals, harmonies, melodies and rhythms from selected examples.
  7. Transcribe rhythms, intervals, harmonies, progressions and melodies from selected examples.

Teaching Outline

Year 1
Semester 1
• Overview demonstrating unity of foundational concepts. Diatonic, scales, intervals, chords, functional harmony, key signatures.
• Learn key technologies. Noteflight, Moodle Quizzes, Ear Master Pro.
• Contemporary melody writing. Melodic devices, structure and analysis of contemporary song.
• Extending functional harmony with related chords, substitution to min7.
• V7 & resolution in 4 parts.
• Chord naming conventions. Contemporary symbols, historical forms including figured bass and variations found in professional practice.
• Time signatures, grouping and barring.
• Writing contemporary songs with notated melody and harmony.
• 4-Part writing conventions: stem direction, spacing, voice leading, doubling.
• Cadences: Perfect, plagual, imperfect, interrupted. Minor keys.
• Using diminished chords as V form.
• Augmented chords in contemporary song.
• Writing and identifying compound ascending intervals.
• Longer form contemporary melody writing with chords.
• Extensive contemporary song analysis to identify and apply features learnt.
• Applying skills to rapidly sketch contemporary songs.
• Singing / identify major scale, natural min, harmonic min, melodic min.
• Singing / identifying ascending and descending intervals within octave.
• Singing / identifying chords: Major, minor, Augmented, diminished.
• Singing / identifying chord inversions: major, minor.
• Sight clapping rhythms in common contemporary keys and syncopation.
• Rhythm dictation in common contemporary keys and syncopation.
• Melodic dictation with simple melody.

Student Assessment

Assessment TypeWhen assessedWeighting
(% of total unit marks)
Learning Outcomes Assessed
Assessment 1a
Type: Active Learning
The Active Learning 1 assessment gauges the students’ active participation in the class and ‘non-graded’ coursework. These activities are not individually graded rather a student will gain a mark based on the evidence of their active participation with the class. The student will receive an Active Learning mark based on a combination of:
Completion of practice activities
Weekly activities as set
Engagement with the teacher
Attendance online or live (including watching training videos)
Forum posts
Week 1 - 7 10%1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7
Assessment 1b
Type: Workbook
Workbook 1 is an open book assessments designed to ensure students understand and can apply the knowledge learnt. Students may ask for help and access resources while completing the Workbook. They may also ask for their work to be reviewed with feedback from the teacher. The Workbooks are very similar to the tests that follow and are therefore designed as excellent preparation for the timed tests.
The Workbooks are to be completed fully online using the technologies employed throughout the course.
Workbook 1 will include aspects of all materials covered in the first 5 weeks of the course.
Week 610%1, 2, 3, 6, 7
Assessment 1c
Type: Test
The Musicianship Test 1 will cover all materials from the first 6 weeks of the course. This Test will be similar to the previous Workbook but will be closed book and have a strict time limit.
Week 720%1, 2, 3, 6, 7
Assessment 1d
Type: Active Learning
The Active Learning 2 assessment shares the same assessment criteria as Assessment 1a (Active Learning 1.1). See above for details.
Week 1410%1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Assessment 1e
Type: Workbook
Workbook 2 is an open book assessment sharing the same parameters as Assessment 1b (Musicianship Workbook 1). See above for details.
Workbook 2 will include aspects of all materials covered in the first 11 weeks of the course.
Week 1210%1, 2, 3, 6, 7
Assessment 1f
Type: Test
The Musicianship Test 2 will cover all materials from Semester 1. This Test will be similar to the previous Workbook but will be closed book and have a strict time limit.
Week 1440%1, 2, 3, 6, 7

Prescribed and recommended readings:

Library Resources
Online Resources (books/video)
A subscription to Oxford Music Online and to Grove Music Online which includes:

  • The Grove Dictionary of American Music (2nd ed.).
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz (2nd ed.).
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (2nd ed.).
  • The New Grove Dictionary of Opera.
  • The Oxford Companion to Music.
  • The Oxford Dictionary of Music (2nd ed.).

Plus updated content bibliographies, specially-commissioned articles only available online.

A subscription to JSTOR Journals and books
A subscription to video tutorials


Reading List

Marvin, E. & Clendinning, J. (2016). The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis, (3rd ed.).  New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company Inc.

Reference Materials

Evans, J. (2014). Exploring Theory with Practica Musica. [login required], Ars Nova

Field, M. (2015).  Music Foundations [Video series].  Retrieved from [login required]

Murphy, P., Phillips, J., Marvin, E., & Clendinning, J. (2016). The Musicians Guide to Aural Skills, (3rd ed.).  New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Co.

#Course Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should be able to demonstrate:
Unit Learning OutcomesAssessments
1 A broad knowledge of the applied, theoretical and historical basis of the discipline1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 71a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f
2A depth of disciplinary knowledge in a professionally applicable specialisation1, 2, 31a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f
3An understanding of the processes of musical scholarship and research31a, 1d
4The ability to work both independently and collaboratively in diverse and complex musical settings3, 41a, 1d
5Effective written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills3, 41a, 1d
6Critical thinking and analytical skills appropriate to a range of contexts including further study3, 41a, 1d
7The ability to apply specific musical skills to a wide range of professional contexts1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 71a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f
8The capacity to apply technological and creative solutions to contemporary musical practices1, 2, 3, 4, 51a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f
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, 5, 6, 71, 21a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f
2The ability to apply knowledge and skills in innovative ways2, 3, 45, 71a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f
3A commitment to lifelong learning3, 4, 54, 5, 6, 71a, 1d
4Effective communication skills for diverse contexts24, 5, 71a, 1d
5The capacity to work independently and collaboratively2, 341a, 1b, 1c, 1d, 1e, 1f