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Music 1: Unit Program

Topic: Music for Small Ensembles

Focus: Rock/ Pop Groups

This unit is designed for a class undertaking Music 1 completing the HSC course in Music.

The focus will be on small ensemble rock and popular groups drawing particular attention to the stylistic features of the genres; rock and pop
music. The unit will also focus on the development of understanding the roles of each instrument within a group setting.

A selection of musical excerpts has been chosen for study including examples of music that fall under more than one genre, style and culture,
and will be used to engage and stimulate student understanding and knowledge of music for small ensembles. The repertoire selected for the
study of this unit will help to define and develop student’s skills, knowledge and understanding in presenting the HSC practical examination for
this selected unit of study.

Assessment will consist of the combination of a composition for a duo or trio followed by a small ensemble performance to be performed within
class. The assessment will consist of peer reflection for both tasks and a compositional portfolio.

Unit Duration
This unit will consist of six weeks of teaching time with 4 lessons x 45 minutes per week.

- YouTube
- Score and recording of selected repertoire.
- Teacher devised worksheets for structured aural, improvisation and musicology activities.
- Music Stage 6 Support Document.
Course Music 1 – HSC
SYLLABUS CONTEXT: Music for Small Ensemble TOPIC: Rock/ Pop Ensembles
H1: performs stylistically, music that is Students in this unit will: • Present a small group
characteristic of topics studied, both as a • Perform compositions and excerpts from selected repertoire for performance of a
soloist and as a member of an ensemble. study. selected arranged
H2: reads, interprets, discusses and • Rehearse and perform HSC repertoire with others in small groups. composition.
analyses simple musical scores that are • Perform excerpts specific to aural understanding using technology.
characteristic of the topics studied. Composition
H3: improvises and composes music Students in this unit will: • Arrange their own
using the range of concepts for familiar • Experiment communicating ideas for small ensemble duo/trio
sound sources reflecting the cultural and arrangements. compositional work
historical contexts studied. • Arrange music excerpts provided through musicology and aural that represents the
H4: articulates an aural understanding of activities. stylistic features of
musical concepts and their relationships rock or popular
• Compose a compositional work for a small ensemble.
in a wide variety of musical styles. music.
H5: critically evaluates and discusses
Students in this unit will:
performances and compositions.
• Study the various styles of pop and rock, and their influences on • Critically reflect
H6: critically evaluates and discusses among their
the concepts of music in works small ensemble music.
composition within
representative of the topics studied and • Read, Interpret and discuss selected scores for analysis.
their composition
through wide listening. • Critically reflect and compare the styles of rock and pop music in
H8: identifies, recognises, experiments discussion of composing and performing in small ensembles.
with, and discusses the use and effects of Aural
Students in this unit will:
technology in music. • Provide a supporting
H9: performs as a means of self- • Listen to a variety of musical excerpts from rock and pop peer evaluation on
expression and communication. ensembles; including arrangements and compositions of selected one of the group
H10: demonstrates a willingness to songs. performances
participate in performance, composition, • Listen to a broad selection of small ensemble music: focusing on presented in class.
musicology and aural activities. the variation of stylistic context and use of technology.
• Aurally compare and contrast selected excerpts: drawn focus on
musical concepts.
Concept Focus Focus Repertoire Resources
Duration: Regular/ Irregular metres, rests, syncopation, Run to You – Pentatonix - Musical Concept Analysis Worksheet
traditional and graphic ways of notating duration. Activities
Can’t help Falling in Love – Elvis - YouTube
Dynamics and Expressive Techniques: Stylistic Presley (Small Ensemble - Selected Repertoire Sheet Music
indications, articulations and dynamic contrasts. Arrangements) - Finale
- Performance Tip Readings
Pitch: definite and indefinite pitch, pitch direction and Can’t Help falling in Love Cover – - Technological device
melodic contour, pitch patterns, pitch range and register, Pentatonix LIVE (recording+ playback purposes)
harmony, various ways of organising pitch.

Structure: structures used in pop and rock music, Thunderstruck – ACDC (Various
repetitive patterns, phrasing, multi-movement structures, Small Ensemble Arrangements)
techniques of call and response.

Texture: roles of the instruments and voices, layers of

sound and their function.

Tone Colour: combination of voices and instruments,

acoustic, electronic and synthesised sounds, sound
production methods and traditional and non-traditional
ways of using sound sources.
Week C A M P Sequence Chart D D/E P S T TC
1 x x x x - Explore the stylistic features between rock and pop genres through the listening of x x x x
short musical excerpts and the activity of characteristic identification with some
reference to the musical concept of structure. E.g. Rock music: motifs, call &
response; Pop Music: phrasing, repetitive patterns.
- Demonstrate current understanding and knowledge of small ensembles through
interactive activity that explores various rock and pop composers, artists, bands and
- Analyse the score of “Can’t help falling in love” by Elvis Presley and critically
discuss as a class the contributing factors that detail the composition. E.g. Musical
roles of the instruments, stylistic features conveyed through instrumental parts, any
techniques or characteristics of either the pop or rock genre.
- Perform the bars 1-16 on the instruments available in the room within small groups.
Students are to devise a structure that allows for improvisation and the addition of
texture to the existing score through the use of dynamics and expressive techniques.

Hand out and explain the composition and performance assessment task due in week
5 and 6.
2 x x x - Explore numerous small ensembles listening examples of the song “Can’t help x x x x
Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley. Students will commence completing a worksheet
activity that organises the various sounds and instruments of each excerpt through the
identification of the pitch and tone colour observed in each cover song.
- Analyse as a class the innovate ideas of each cover and how the group has created
music for small ensemble through manipulation of the existing song. (e.g. Musical
interest and expression)
- Independent rehearsal to identify the specific role their instrument plays within the
piece. Focus will need to be drawn to instrument specific techniques and genre
characteristics to determine an effective rehearsal.
(An example of focus points for rehearsal are melodic contour, phrasing, timing,
dynamic contrast and expressive techniques.)
- Class discussion on the influence of technology in particular the change from acoustic
to amplified instruments and traditional to synthesised sounds, and how this affects
small ensembles in pop and rock music.
- Group Rehearsal that experiments with technology to create contrast and musical
interest. This can be through the effect of a loop, electronic instrument backing track
or the addition of rhythmic patterns.

Home work: Research multiple pop and rock songs and have a look at how they are
scored. Think about how you could arrange a score for a popular or rock piece of
your choice.
3 x x x - Class performance of ‘Thunderstruck’ by ACDC using human actions and percussive x x x x
- Class discussion on performance. Questions to focus on the build of texture, layers of
instruments and stylistic features of Rock music. How could we arrange this piece for
a small ensemble?
- Observe various arrangements of ‘Thunderstruck’. Draw focus to the instruments
tone colour and sound created. Identify the different tone colours in each piece.
- Organise small groups for the performance assessment task and provide students with
the time to familiarise and rehearse their selected repertoire pieces.
- Encourage students to use technology to record their group progress for further
practice at home. Students should graphically notate the structure of the arrangement
to reflect on in future group rehearsals. Students should also listen to their group
recordings of their practice before leaving and each determine an individual learning
goal to aim for next group rehearsal.
(E.g. To practice getting the lyrics right within my practice at home so next group
rehearsal I’m prepared.)

Home work: Read the following article on “Tips for performing as part of a band”
by Finley Roach (2017) * Find and print the sheet music for the selected piece of pop
or rock music that you are planning to arrange. Analyse the score to provide you with
focus areas for manipulation and modification.
Week C A M P Sequence Chart D D/E P S T TC
4 x x x x - List as a class the multiple small ensembles groups (e.g. bands, duos, trio, string x x x x x x
quartets, jazz bands, vocal groups, instrumental groups) as well as any ‘names’ of
these groups that come to mind. (2Cellos, UstheDuo, Angus and Julia Stone, John
Butler Trio, Vitamin C String Quartet)
- Observe, Listen and analyse the score ‘Run to You’ by Pentatonix. Draw particular
focus to the melodic contour, harmony, multi-movement structure, phrasing, rests,
dynamic contrasts, layers of sound and combination of voices.
- Through analysis highlight the ways you could manipulate the song ‘Run to You’ by
Pentatonix and consider the techniques used within the selected repertoire for your
own creation of a notated score.
- Open Finale and start arranging a piece of repertoire for music for small ensemble.
Ensure that you draft on paper your structure of the piece and the role of each
instrument within the piece. This draft can be added to your composition portfolio to
show your ideas towards the final composition.
- Use your instrument to explore themes, ideas and melodies for contribution to your
- Identify any inspiration or sound sources that influence your composition and add this
content to your portfolio.
- Investigate ways of notating in both traditional and non-traditional methods.

Home work: Practice your individual part in your group performance, record
yourself and analyse your own performance in terms of areas for improvement and
what you played well.
5 x x x - Listen to “Can’t Help Falling in Love Cover” by Pentatonix and analyse on how they x x x x x X
have created musical interest. What musical concepts are in place within this cover?
- Evaluate the live performance of “Can’t help falling in love” cover. What could they
improve on? What did you really like about their performance? What did you feel
was missing?
- Final group performance rehearsals before presentation of HSC repertoire.
- Perform the selected piece in groups for repertoire: music for small ensembles.
- Provide a peer evaluation of another group performance discussing the following
aspects; improvement, positives, could benefit from and overall group performance

Home work: Combine all documents to do with your composition and file them in
accordance to a content page which should be provided after the composition title
page. For support in creating a composition portfolio refer to Music Stage 6 Support
Document: Chapter 9 Composition and Musicology Portfolio in Stage 6 Music
(pg.39) Link provided below. *

Submission of Performance and Peer Reflection due in lesson as allocated this

6 x x x - Complete, prepare and present your compositional arrangement on a piece of x x x x
repertoire that represents popular or rock music for small ensemble.
- Provide a musical excerpt of your composition to be played to the class as
anonymous listening content.
- Using a formatted reflection sheet. Complete a positive and supporting reflection on
each listening. For example; What did you like about the piece, how would you build
on the piece and what mark would you give the composition out of 15.
- Recap on the unit: What are small ensembles, what are the characteristics of pop and
rock and how can this be conveyed in a group setting. What is important when
working in a group setting? How can we accommodate for everyone in our group?
When performing how do we convey a musical identity? How can we create musical
interest and expression through the way we present ourselves as musicians?

Submission of Composition Assessment due last lesson this week.

Assessment Tasks

1. Performance Assessment Task (Due in class during Week 5)

Perform an arrangement from the repertoire of pop and rock music for small ensembles and reflect on a peer group performance. You will need

- Perform a song of rock /pop genre within a group setting.

- Watch, support and positively reflect on fellow peer’s performance.
- Rehearse your individual role at home and participate within group performance rehearsals.

Outcomes Assessed: H1, H3, H8, H9, H10

2. Composition Assessment Task (DUE last class in Week 6)

Students are to arrange a piece of music from either pop or rock genre and generate a finalised piece for small ensemble through a compositional
portfolio. This portfolio shows the progress of decision making and problem solving that the composer undertook in arranging for small
ensemble. You will need to:

- Arrange a piece of music from either pop or rock genre for small ensemble. (duo, trio or any group bigger)
- Experiment and improvise using previous experiences and materials used in class to provide inspiration towards your arrangement.
- Represent a particular style, showing characteristics of either rock or pop music.
- Accurately notate the composition for small ensemble including traditional or/and non-traditional notation.
- Presents the composition neatly and professionally in a portfolio that clearly identifies the title, composer and contents within the
compositional portfolio.

Outcomes Assessed: H3, H4, H6, H8, H10

Assessment Criteria
1. Performance Assessment Task

- Performing as part of ensemble.

- Development of performance skills representative through studied of pop or rock music for small ensembles.
- Ability to positively reflect on fellow peer group performances.
- Musical Identity: means of self-expression.

2. Composition Assessment Task

- Arrange a piece of music from either pop or rock genre for small ensemble.
- Show inspiration of previous experiences and materials used in class towards your arrangement.
- Shows understanding of musical concepts and the relationship between them.
- Provide representation of the characteristics of either style of pop/ rock music.
- Accurately notate the composition for small ensemble including traditional or/and non-traditional notation.
- Present the composition neatly and professionally in a portfolio that clearly identifies the title, composer and contents within the
compositional portfolio.

“Tips for Performing as part of a band” (2017) Finley Roach. Retrieved from the National Music Academy on the 26th of April 2018,

“Music Stage 6 Support Document: Chapter 9 Composition and Musicology Portfolios in Stage 6” (2009) Retrieved from NESA on 26th April
2018, http://educationstandards.nsw.edu.au/wps/wcm/connect/aa250846-3002-4a8a-

“From Potential to Performance” (2017) Retrieved on the 26th of April 2018,

Selected Repertoire
1. ‘Run to You’ – Pentatonix (2014) Retrieved from YouTube on the 26th of April 2018, https://youtu.be/sp7PS_UN8Lo

- Run to You - The MadHatters (Pentatonix Cover) (2016) Retrieved from YouTube on the 26 th of April 2018,
- Run to you (Pentatonix) – Vital Signs A Capella (2017) Retrieved from YouTube on the 26th of April 2018, https://youtu.be/5Cac-

2. Elvis Presley - Can’t Help Falling in Love 1961 (High Quality) (2017) NoMadU55555. Retrieved from YouTube on the 26 th of April 2018,

- Can’t Help Falling in Love by Elvis Presley – Stringspace – String Quartet cover (2017) StringspaceLive. Retrieved from YouTube on
the 26th of April 2018, https://youtu.be/J7S5viqJT9o
- Elvis Presley – Can’t Help Falling in Love – 7th Ave A Capella cover. (2016) 7thAve Band. Retrieved from YouTube on the 26 th of April
2018, https://youtu.be/zp28RylttZ0
- UB40 – (I Can’t Help) Falling In Love with You. (2009) UB40VEVO. Retrieved from YouTube on the 26 th of April 2018,
- Meghan Trainor – Can’t Help Falling in Love (by Elvis Presley). (2016) Fe Shannen Cinco. Retrieved from YouTube on the 26th of April
2018, https://youtu.be/6VJfq0jb_tc

3. AC/DC – Thunderstruck (Official Video). (2012) acdcVEVO. Retrieved from YouTube on the 26 th of April 2018,

- Thunderstruck by Steve’n’Seagulls (LIVE). (2014) Steve Seagulls. Retrieved from YouTube on the 26 th of April 2018,
- AC DC – Thunderstruck (Crookers Remix). (2009) Technologicalsound. Retrieved from YouTube on the 26 th of April 2018,
- Thunderstruck for Percussion Ensemble Alumnado PercuFest 2014 dirigido por Rafa Navarro. (2014) PercuFest International Percussion
Festival. Retrieved from YouTube on the 26th of April 2018, https://youtu.be/SYSxOj6W7IQ?t=3m47s
- 2CELLOS – Thunderstruck [Official Video]. (2014) 2CELLOS. Retrieved from YouTube on the 26th of April 2018,