Music Style and Composition Units 3 and 4


Music Style and Composition is the VCE music subject ideal for those who love to create their own music, and investigate how other music is put together.

There are three main areas: Responding, Exploring and Creating.

In Responding to music, your job is to listen and respond to music from a range of different eras, locations, and styles: Medieval chant, jazz recorded last year, traditional music from Peru, Beethoven string quartets, songs by Radiohead.

In Exploring the organisation and context of music works, we put specific pieces of music under the microscope and explore how they are constructed. In Unit 3, we explore a Mozart movement and a short work by Australian composer Matthew Hindson. In Unit 4 we study another contemporary piece.

And in Creating, you get a chance to create your own music. Unit 3 requires two very short exercises in response to the music we cover. In Unit 4, you create a music piece of 2 to 4 minutes. The style is up to you, as long as you meet some specific guidelines.

Who is it for?

Music Style and Composition is ideal for every student who loves music. You are not assessed on performance at all, but on the music you create and how much you “get” the music you study and listen to.

What do you do?

In Music Style and Composition you will:

  • write responses to short extracts from a huge range of music in every style imaginable
  • delve in depth into two musical works in different styles and writing about what you learn
  • create short musical compositions using some discovered techniques in Unit 3, and a major work (2-4mins) in Unit 4.

What skills do you need?

There are no prerequisites, however:

  • reading music is an essential part of the study
  • AMEB Theory to grade 3 is an advantage
  • previous participation in musical ensembles and other music activities is an advantage.

What skills do you develop?

You will develop skills including:

  • active and focussed listening and response strategies
  • music analysis
  • compositional techniques and creative reflection.



You must have access to the internet in order to access this course. All weekly work will be completed and submitted online.

Recording / notation software for creating original music is required. Our recommendation is Sibelius. Sibelius First is a free entry-level program.

Creative submission must include some form of notation.

Things to think about

Creative work is assessed externally by the VCAA, and that means creative work needs to follow specific guidelines. There is some freedom, as long as certain criteria are being met.

Reading music is a distinct advantage, as is some music theory knowledge.

Things you can do now

The main thing you can do now is to listen and immerse yourself in a wide variety of music.

The more you think about how different music “works”, the more you are prepared.

Go to the VCAA website for more information about this subject.




Things to have a look at

Music Style and Composition

Past students talk about studying Music Style and Composition.