Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship Music 2021

Standard 93305

Part A: Commentary

A well prepared and presented scholarship portfolio and critical reflection is original and submitted specifically for NCEA Scholarship Music. Reading the criteria and requirements on the NZQA website provides candidates with the information required to successfully compile all the necessary elements for a successful submission. Maximum time and word limits should be adhered to but candidates are reminded that submissions well under these limits are unlikely to be successful (e.g. 7-8 minute portfolios and 1,500 words for a critical analysis) as they are supplying half the material requested and are unlikely to demonstrate a high level of technical ability or a comprehensive reflective analysis with such limited submissions.  Candidates are also reminded to use clefs when using musical annotation examples in the critical reflection.

It is strongly recommended that candidates prepare a portfolio specifically for Scholarship, rather than using performances (in particular) which have been prepared for some other purpose.

Part B: Report on performance

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance commonly:

  • submitted a performance portfolio which was prepared to specifically meet the requirements for this scholarship – a carefully planned and authentic performance in front of an audience with appropriate stage etiquette (introduction of their pieces, engagement with the audience, strong communication with their accompanist (where applicable))
  • presented a performance repertoire which was varied and demonstrated a highly advanced level of technical ability and musical awareness/understanding of the works, and a high level of communication was consistently demonstrated throughout the whole performance
  • demonstrated a high level of musicality in their interpretations of the pieces - expressive and mature playing that was highly musical; not just technically accurate
  • provided a composition portfolio that was well presented and carefully chosen to meet the guidelines of the scholarship criteria
  • submitted compositions which were highly creative, well structured, and in which the instrumentation had been carefully considered
  • presented thematic material that was original, well developed, and demonstrated exceptional quality in style
  • provided recordings of the works (both visual scores and records) which demonstrated an exceptional level of quality
  • provided a critical analysis that was insightful, highly reflective, and analysed the whole process (e.g. from planning to performance/final completed work/performance) and well as future steps
  • Presented written evidence of critical analysis that was well supported by references to other material as well as highly relevant annotation and/or links made to the score/s
  • Demonstrated writing of exceptional quality which effectively utilised appropriate terminology, well-informed conclusions, insights, and overall the written communication of their response was at a consistently high level throughout
  • provided a critical reflection that was original and did not draw from material from the previous exemplar online.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly presented portfolios which demonstrated the following:

  • Performance – advanced technical skills and understanding of their chosen works demonstrated throughout the entire performance. The performance was well prepared, the material was at an appropriate level (ie not too difficult or too easy) and a consistently high level of communication was apparent throughout. A succinct and confident introduction was provided by the candidate at the beginning of the performance, communication was clearly evident with the audience (regardless of its size) and excellent communication with the accompanist/other performers (where applicable) was maintained throughout.
  • Composition – originality and comprehensive understanding of elements, characteristics, and performance techniques. The technical demands and capabilities of the instruments chosen were well understood. Visual representation of the works was highly accurate, applicable to the genre, and very detailed. Recordings of the work/s were of high quality.
  • Musicology – an in-depth critical discussion that clearly analysed the effectiveness/success of the work in regard to the musical contribution of significant elements used. The quality of the comprehensive, substantial written response was consistent throughout and made strong, applicable links to the score. Submitted a critical reflection that was reflective, original, and made relevant links to their portfolio and external sources throughout. The submission was comprehensive, insightful, and the candidate effectively and convincingly communicated a written response that was unique/linked strongly to their specific portfolio material. Well-chosen and applicable/relevant annotations were included.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • submitted a portfolio that did not sufficiently meet the specified guidelines e.g. a performance portfolio that was only 8 minutes long (essentially only half a portfolio), or a composition portfolio of one or two pieces adding up to 5mins or less of music
  • submitted a portfolio that did not meet the criteria as outlined on the NZQA site (e.g. performance video was edited and was not one recording made specifically for NCEA Scholarship music, the compositions submitted were collaborative works instead of just their own work, elements of the musicology portfolio were not completed as per the guidelines provided)
  • did not demonstrate a high level of technical ability on their chosen instrument (performance),
  • submitted works which lacked advanced instrumentation writing skills and thematic development, or understanding of the instruments they were writing for (composition)
  • did not demonstrate an advanced understanding of their chosen works – for example the analysis included errors and/or a lack of comprehensive detail or the candidate had selected works which were not able to demonstrate suitable depth (musicology)
  • wrote a commentary that described rather than reflected and analysed their works for their critical analysis submission and/or discussed (often at length) aspects of their musical background as a performer/composer/musician that was not relevant nor required for a critical analysis
  • presented a critical reflection was not substantial; very brief with minimal relevant evidence included, (musical examples, sources, discussion of other performances), a lack of detail relevant to their chosen portfolio material and/or little to no sources used and referenced correctly
  • presented a critical reflection that lacked originality and drew on structural elements and/or wording from exemplars.

Subject page

Previous years’ reports

2021 (PDF, 180KB)

2020 (PDF, 115KB)

2019 (PDF, 94KB)

2018 (PDF, 84KB)

2017 (PDF, 44KB)

2016 (PDF, 188KB)

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