Bachelor of Music - Ensemble Year 1 Unit Outline

Unit of Study - Ensemble

The following applies to Year One Bachelor of Music students.

Unit Outlines

Unit Name

ENSEMBLE: Introduction

Unit Code


Unit Description In this unit students will learn how to:
  • Prepare and rehearse music in an ensemble of peers for performance.
  • Investigate group performance styles and rehearsal methods.
  • Reflect and self-critique performances in order to develop practice methodology.
  • Communicate in ensembles and develop leadership skills to achieve musical concepts.
Award(s) Bachelor of Music
Unit Duration 1 Semester (12 weeks)
Year Level One, Semester 2
Unit Coordinator Caleb Garfinkel
Teaching Staff Caleb Garfinkel
Core/Elective Core
Pre/Co-requisites Nil
Credit Points 10 credit points

Mode of Delivery

x 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
x Fast track

Student Workload Delivery/ Contact Hours

No. timetabled hours per week
  • Lecture Theory 1 hour
  • Practical Session - 1 hour
  • Tutorial - n/a
  • Personal Independent Study - 7 hour
Total hours per week - 9 hours

Resource Requirements

  • Instrument
  • Instrumental tutor (specialist instruments only)
  • Video camera (distance students)
  • Web camera (distance students)
  • Computer facilities
  • Video editing software
  • External Technical Help

Resources Provided

  • Instrumental Tutors
  • On-campus equipment and performance facilities
  • Online streaming video and additional referencing videos
  • Library resources (see prescribed or recommended texts below)


Unit Aims

The Ensemble unit aims to develop ensemble and group performance skills as a member and leader, relevant to contemporary music performance environments in the current music industry. Students are introduced to skills to assess and evaluate their own performance practice to set their own goals and outcomes, and to constructively critique the performances of other students to enable collaborative improvement and musical awareness.
Students will present performances to other enrolled students, assist in providing constructive criticism for other members in performance workshops, and present a programme of ensemble works. Students are encouraged to incorporate skills developed in other units in their ongoing performance, including Composition and Music Technology. 


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.
  1. 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.
  2. Rehearse material for performance with ensembles
  3. Demonstrate communication and critical skills through constructive review of peers and external group performances.


Teaching Outline

Ensemble considers individual progress made through self-directed practice in the context of leading and playing with other musicians in ensemble, small group or choir scenarios. Students will participate in weekly performance workshops hosted online, presenting a minimum of 8 performances over the semester, either live or pre-recorded, with an ensemble of peers. Weekly performances can include exploring concepts and ensemble types explored in lectures. If suitable members are not available, students can video themselves playing multiple roles. Students will provide feedback and constructive criticism of other students. Exam pieces will be chosen from a preselected list of repertoire or artists, unless negotiated with lecturer.

Year 1


Students will investigate ensemble formations and rehearsal techniques, developing leadership skills and increasing confidence in directing peers towards musical outcomes. Students will perform pieces with an ensemble, including works in development for investigation and a program of minimum 3 for a final performance. If suitable members/groups are not accessible, students may perform with self-produced backing tracks or accompaniment technology. Students will provide constructive criticism for other students, and complete a review of an external performance.

Lesson Material Covered

  • Performance etiquette, ensemble preparation.
  • Choir and conducting skills.
  • Developing improvisation.
  • Practicing critically and effectively. Recital preparation. Creative practice, aural development in practice. Live performance vs exams.

Prescribed and recommended readings:

Required textbook(s)
Australian Guild of Music Instrumental Handbook in relation to chosen instrument (for list of technical requirements and suggested performance syllabus)
Library Resources
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

Recommended Reading List

Cameron, J. (2016). The Artist's Way. London: Penguin.
Green, B., & Gallwey, W. T. (1987). The Inner Game of Music. New York: Pan Macmillan.
Werner, K. and Aebersold, J. (1996). Effortless Mastery. New Albany: Jamey Aebersold Jazz.
Wooten, V. (2008). The Music Lesson: A spiritual search for growth through music. New York: Penguin.

Reference Materials

Cross, D. (2014). Playing for a Crowd: Hints and Tips. Accessed 2/2/18.

Dowling, D. (n.d.). Performance Hints & Techniques in Piano Playing and the Music of Chopin. Accessed 2/2/18. Retrieved at:
Goldberg, J. 2013. Stage Fright (Performance Anxiety). WebMD. Accessed May 04, 2013.
Klickstein, G. (2009). Overcome Performance Anxiety, Conquer Stage Fright. Oxford University Press: 2009-2014. Accessed 2/2/18.
Music & Performing Arts, Last Updated: Feb 17, 2014


Student assessment 

Assessment Type


When assessed

(% of total unit marks)

Learning Outcomes Assessed

Assessment 1:  Ensemble Performance Active Engagement
Type: Performances and Feedback
Students will present weekly performances by performing live (on campus or via video link) or providing pre-recorded videos for distance. Performances will be based on exercises and ensemble styles and concepts demonstrated in weekly lectures. Students must present a minimum of 8 performances.



1, 2, 3, 4

Assessment 2: Live Performance Review
Type: Review
Length: 500 words
Review and critique of a professional or independent music performance external to the AGME, considering ongoing discussion areas engaged in weekly performance workshops.

Week 6


2, 4

Assessment 3: Ensemble Preparation Report
Type: Report
Length: 500 words
Present a report on the preparation of one of the pieces prepared for the ensemble exam. Reflect on the process of arranging and rehearsing, demonstrating ensemble leadership and organisation.

Week 10


3, 4

Assessment 4: Ensemble Performance
Length: Minimum 3 pieces
Performance exam of Ensemble pieces. Students must present 2 pieces per enrolled ensemble member, plus 1 extra. Distance students may provide a recorded video of their performance, attending students will be allocated a time during examination week.

Week 14


1, 2, 3


Course Outcomes


Course Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should be able to:

Unit Learning Outcomes


1 A broad knowledge of the applied, theoretical and historical  basis of the discipline

1, 4

1, 4

2 A depth of disciplinary knowledge in a professionally applicable specialisation

3, 4

1, 4

3 An understanding of the processes of musical scholarship and research


2, 4

4 The ability to work both independently and collaboratively in diverse and complex musical settings

2, 3

1, 2, 3, 4

5 Effective written, verbal and interpersonal communication skills


2, 3

6 Critical thinking and analytical skills appropriate  to a range of contexts including further study 4 2, 3
7 The ability to apply specific musical skills to a wide range of professional contexts 1, 3 1, 4
8 The capacity to apply technological and creative solutions to contemporary musical practices    
9 The ability to incorporate knowledge from the business and legal fields to a portfolio career in the music profession.




Graduate Attributes


Graduate Attribute

Successful completion of this unit will contribute to the attainment of the following graduate attributes:

Unit Learning Outcomes

Course Learning Outcomes


1 Deep disciplinary knowledge 1, 4 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 1, 4
2 The ability to apply knowledge and skills in innovative ways 2, 4 4, 5, 6, 7 1, 4
3 A commitment to lifelong learning 2, 4 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 2, 4
4 Effective communication skills for diverse contexts 3, 4 3, 5, 6, 7 3, 4
5 The capacity to work independently and collaboratively 1, 2, 3 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 1, 2, 3, 4