Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit examines a range of music-making practices in Australia. Students are introduced to key concepts that inform scholarly discourse surrounding Australian music including a study of the musical practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and transplanted musical cultures. The unit explores Australian art music and Australian popular music and listening and performance are used as vehicles for analysing and understanding examples of music practice. Students develop skills in music research and scholarly writing and develop an appreciation of the diversity of musical expression in Australian culture.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

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

LO1 - Demonstrate in-depth knowledge of the cultural, political and social contexts underlying music and music-making in Australia (GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8)

LO2 - Demonstrate critical awareness of music styles and genres practiced in Australia (GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9, GA10)

LO3 - Apply skills in critical analysis of music scores, recordings, primary source material and scholarly readings (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO4 - Construct evidence-based arguments and narratives around the issues that surround music-making in Australia (GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9)

LO5 - Demonstrate skills in written and oral communication incorporating appropriate use of discipline-specific terminology (GA8, GA9, GA10)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include:

  • a survey of music and music-making in Australia
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander music and music-making and its role in societies and cultures
  • the transculturation of musical styles, genres and traditions in Australia
  • the place of music in Australian society and culture
  • social and political influences on the sustainability of music institutions and organisations
  • the exploration of national identity and cross-cultural influences in Australian music
  • developments in Australian art and popular music, composition and performance

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The unit is designed to promote understanding of the context and development of music in Australia. The learning and teaching strategy encourages critical and reflective thinking, and assists students to develop values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline of music in the Australian context. Students are required to work independently and collaboratively to evaluate research and examples of music practice in context. The exploration of Australian music is organised around relevant historical and social themes, and opportunities for practical performance of Australian music are offered.

Three assessment tasks have been developed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.

Assessment one is an individual task that requires students to select, research, and critically analyse a topic that relates to an aspect of Australian music and culture. Assessment two requires students to express their understanding of music in an Australian context through performance or the construction of an informative program. Assessment three is an individual task that requires students to interpret and comment on music styles, genres and music making in Australia through listening to music examples.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. Such procedures may include, but are not limited to: essays, reports, examinations, student presentations or case studies.

The following table gives examples of the types of assessment that may apply to this unit.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Research task

Requires students to demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a particular aspect of Australian music and culture


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10

Presentation: Performance or Program  

Requires students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding through performance or development of a program



LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8, GA9, GA10

Listening Analysis Task

Requires students to demonstrate understanding of Australian music through analysis of musical materials.


LO2, LO3

GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Bebbington, Warren Arthur, ed. The Oxford Companion to Australian Music. Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Brunt, S., & Stahl, G. Eds. Made in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand: Studies in Popular Music. Routledge, 2018.

Dunbar-Hall, Peter, and Chris Gibson. Deadly Sounds, Deadly Places. Sydney: UNSW Press, 2004.

Harris, Amanda, ed. and Reuben Brown. Circulating Cultures: Exchanges of Australian

Indigenous Music, Dance and Media. Open Access E-Books. Canberra, ACT: Australian National University Press, 2014.

Hijleh, Mark. Towards a Global Music History: Intercultural, Convergence, Fusion, and

Transformation in the Human Musical Story. London, UK: Routledge, 2018.

Reid, Anna, Neal Peres da Costa and Jeannell Carrigan. Creative Research in Music:

Informed Practice, Innovation and Transcendence. London, UK: Routledge, 2021.

Richards, Fiona, ed. The Soundscapes of Australia: Music, Place and Spirituality. Aldershot:

Ashgate, 2007. E-book 2017.

Ryan, Christian, ed. The Best Music Writing under the Australian Sun. Richmond, AU: Hardie Grant books, 2014.

Symons, David. Australia’s Jindyworobak Composers. London, UK: Routledge, 2021.

Wheeler, Belinda, ed. A Companion to Australian Aboriginal Literature. Camden House,


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