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NSW Curriculum
NSW Education Standards Authority

7–10Music 7–10 Syllabus

Record of changes
Implementation in 2026

Course overview

Organisation of Music 7–10

Figure 1 is an overview of Music 7–10 showing that knowledge, understanding and skills are built through engagement with 3 interrelated practices: Performing, Listening and Composing.

A diagram detailing the course overview of Music 7–10. Details in text after image.
Figure 1: The organisation of Music 7–10

Image long description: Organisational diagram of Music 7–10. The focus areas Performing, Listening and Composing are positioned vertically across the 3 content groups Music in practice, Music in context and Elements of music connected by one line, intersecting them.

Focus areas

In the Music 7–10 Syllabus, knowledge, understanding and skills are developed through the 3 interrelated focus areas: Performing, Listening and Composing.

For some students, engagement with the focus areas of Performing, Listening and Composing may include the use of assistive technologies. Music may be expressed, accessed and created through a range of senses.

Performing: practical music-making in solo or ensemble situations. It includes learning and interpreting songs, instrumental pieces, accompaniments and pieces of music composed individually and with others. Performing involves experimenting with a variety of media such as voice, instruments and digital technologies across a wide range of repertoire, and evaluating and reflecting on performances to develop technical, expressive and communication skills.

Listening: the processes through which students experience music. It includes the ability to hear, understand and respond to musical stimulus, and discriminate between sounds and make judgements about the use of musical elements in a variety of repertoire. Listening also involves score reading and musical analysis. Listening is developed through interaction with a wide range of musical genres and styles.

Composing: organising sound in both individual and group settings. Activities include engaging and experimenting with a wide variety of media and technologies to organise, record and manipulate sound, together with opportunities to analyse and reflect on compositions. Students may use voice, instruments, sound sources, recording equipment and/or digital audio workstations to improvise, arrange and create original works, as well as devise accompaniments. Through composing, students become familiar with different methods of notating and documenting music.

Content groups

The content within the focus areas of Performing, Listening and Composing is organised into 3 content groups: Music in Practice, Music in Context and Elements of Music.

Music in practice

Music in practice refers to the active application of knowledge and the development and enactment of skills related to performing, listening and composing, where students:

  • perform, listen, compose, improvise, arrange, conduct, experiment and use technologies
  • demonstrate musical literacies through the application of musical terminology, symbols and signs and interpret a range of scores and recordings
  • use instruments, voice and other tools to perform, compose, analyse, record, manipulate and communicate musical ideas.

Music in context

Music in context relates to the settings in which a piece of music is created, adapted, performed or experienced, and includes consideration of:

  • genre and style
  • purpose and influences
  • composer, audience and performer perspectives
  • performing media and settings
  • cultural and social protocols.

Elements of music

The elements of music are:

  • duration – the lengths of sounds and silences in music
  • pitch – the relative highness and lowness of sounds
  • texture – the way layers of sound are combined in a piece of music
  • performing media and timbre
    performing media – the instruments/voices/sound sources used in a piece of music
    timbre – the distinctive quality of a sound that enables the sound sources to be identified
  • dynamics and expression
    dynamics – the volume of sound
    expression – the musical detail that articulates a style or interpretation of a style
  • structure – the design or form in music. It refers to how a composition is constructed in sections or parts.

Course requirements

The Music 7–10 Syllabus contains both Mandatory and Elective courses.

To meet the mandatory curriculum requirements for students by the end of Year 10, schools must timetable 100 hours of Music in Years 7–8 as coherent units of study and not split over a number of years.

Schools may choose to offer and/or deliver 7–10 elective courses which may be studied in any year as 100 or 200 hours of study.

Elective courses in Years 9 and 10 contribute towards the RoSA.

Students must complete the mandatory Music course (Stage 4 outcomes and content) before starting the elective courses.

Course numbers:

  • Stage 5 200-hour (elective): TBA
  • Stage 5 100-hour (elective): TBA
  • Stage 5 200-hour Life Skills (elective): TBA
  • Stage 5 100-hour Life Skills (elective): TBA

Exclusions: Students may not access Life Skills outcomes and other outcomes from the same subject.

Repertoire requirements

Engaging with repertoire is central to the study of Music in Years 7–10. Repertoire refers to a body of music and is not limited to a single piece of music. Teachers select repertoire based on their understanding of students’ interests, strengths and needs. Well-chosen repertoire enables students to study features within and across pieces of music to enhance their knowledge, understanding and experience of music.

In each stage of learning, students must meaningfully engage with the following repertoire:

  • Music of Australia, including music of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
  • Art music
  • Jazz
  • Popular music
  • Global music culture.

The requirements indicate the scope of repertoire to be studied, ensuring students meaningfully engage with a range of music that reflects its significance across stylistic, cultural, historical and social contexts.

The repertoire requirements do not need to be represented proportionately in teaching and learning programs.

Teachers may select additional repertoire.

Notating and documenting music

Students become familiar with different methods of notating and documenting music. Musical notation is a written means of documenting musical thought through signs and symbols. Documenting music may also take the form of digital recording. Forms and methods of notating, documenting and/or recording include staff notation, pre-notation, graphic notation, notations drawn from global music cultures, braille, scores, charts, lead-sheets, and audio and/or audiovisual recordings. Some forms and methods are associated with particular genres or styles. Notating and documenting may involve the use of digital tools.

Depth study

Students are required to undertake a depth study in Stage 5. Students draw on content studied in class, and apply knowledge, understanding and skills in an area of individual interest. Depth studies may be completed individually or collaboratively. Students may choose to specialise in one or more of the focus areas: Performing, Listening and Composing.

Guidelines for depth study:

  • 8 to 10 hours of class time is recommended

A music depth study may include:


  • a live performance and supporting material
  • a recorded performance and supporting material
  • leading or directing an ensemble and documenting the process of musical preparation
  • an investigative presentation of a piece of music, incorporating live performance.


  • a live or recorded presentation of a musical investigation
  • a musical investigation presented as a viva voce
  • a musical investigation presented in written and/or multimodal form.


  • an arrangement of an existing song or piece and documentation of the development process
  • an original composition and documentation of the process
  • a collection of short compositions linked to the work of other songwriters or composers.

Life Skills outcomes and content

Students with disability can access the syllabus outcomes and content in a range of ways. Decisions regarding curriculum options should be made in the context of collaborative curriculum planning.

Some students with intellectual disability may find the Years 7–10 Life Skills outcomes and content the most appropriate option to follow in Stage 4 and/or Stage 5. Before determining whether a student is eligible to undertake a course based on Life Skills outcomes and content, consideration should be given to other ways of assisting the student to engage with the Stage 4 and/or Stage 5 outcomes, or prior stage outcomes if appropriate. This assistance may include a range of adjustments to teaching, learning and assessment activities.

Life Skills outcomes cannot be taught in combination with other outcomes from the same subject. Teachers select specific Life Skills outcomes to teach based on the needs, strengths, goals, interests and prior learning of each student. Students are required to demonstrate achievement of one or more Life Skills outcomes.

Protocols for collaborating with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities and engaging with Cultural works

NESA is committed to working in partnership with Aboriginal Communities and supporting teachers, schools and schooling sectors to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal children and young people.

In Music, consideration of music created, performed, inspired or influenced by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Knowledge Holders is informed by principles and protocols. Cultural Knowledge Holders include Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander performers and composers who have created pieces of music or Cultural works incorporating music, as well as Communities, families and people who own the Cultural Knowledges that inform these works.

Community roles, such as Elders, men and women, may influence the ways that music can be performed and shared with audiences. In Music, students should be taught respectful protocols for performing, listening to and composing music developed by or in collaboration with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander artists and local Communities. The sites and locations of customary and ceremonial Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performances hold Cultural significance.

Balance of content

The amount of content associated with a given outcome is not necessarily indicative of the amount of time spent engaging with the respective outcome. Teachers use formative and summative assessment to determine instructional priorities and the time needed for students to demonstrate expected outcomes.

The content groups are not intended to be hierarchical. They describe in more detail how the outcomes are to be interpreted and demonstrated, and the intended learning appropriate for the stage. In considering the intended learning, teachers make decisions about the sequence and emphasis to be given to particular groups of content based on the needs and abilities of their students.