MUS 103 : Music Fundamentals

Creative Arts and Industries

2023 Summer School (1230) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

A practical and theoretical overview of the fundamental written and aural skills required for music literacy. This course prepares students for MUS 104 and further university-level study and practice in music.

Course Overview

This course aims to provide students with foundational knowledge and skills in the areas of music theory, and practice in aural perception and active listening. This will enable the student to begin developing the musicianship and notation skills necessary for all musical disciplines. Topics include: 

  • melody (key signatures, scales and intervals)  
  • rhythm (time signature, metre and note grouping)  
  • harmony (triads and 7th chords, simple harmonisation) 
  • aural perception and musicianship 

Course Requirements

Restriction: MUS 100, may not be taken with or after passing MUS 101, 104, 174, 184, 284

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Capability 5: Independence and Integrity
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Music

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an understanding of simple and compound time signatures, correct rhythmic grouping, and accent patterns (Capability 1 and 4)
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of clefs, staves, key signatures, scales and modes, intervals, basic melody writing and transposition. (Capability 1 and 4)
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of chords and their inversions, writing and labelling basic chords using classical, popular and jazz chord notations. (Capability 1 and 4)
  4. Demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between music notation and performance through musical terms, signs and articulations. (Capability 1 and 4)
  5. Develop musicianship through the practice of active listening, including identifying and notating simple rhythms and melodies, intervals, chords and their inversions. (Capability 1 and 2)
  6. Develop competency in basic aural tasks using the aural training software Auralia. (Capability 1, 2 and 5)
  7. Apply fundamentals of music in community contexts (Capability 1, 2, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Weekly Tasks 30% Group & Individual Coursework
Module One Assessment 20% Individual Test
Module Two Assessment 20% Individual Test
Module Three Assessment 30% Individual Test
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Weekly Tasks
Module One Assessment
Module Two Assessment
Module Three Assessment
Assignments are to be submitted, according to submission type specified on CANVAS, by the due date. In the event of illness or other circumstances that prevent completing an assignment, please contact the course coordinator with evidence as appropriate before the due date. Late assignments that do not have an approved extension will be penalised 10% for each day or part thereof. No assignment will be accepted after that assignment has been returned to students. 

Teaching & Learning Methods

This course has one interactive web-based learning component per week which will include video and interactive content materials, weekly course notes, repertoire, notated examples and interactive questions and activities. There will also be a weekly series of drills to complete, using aural/theory training programmes: Auralia, Musition and Noteflight. Weekly tutorials will introduce music making and discussion activities that will contribute to 30% of coursework. Tutorials will also prepare students for assignments and offer clarification when needed.   Students are also expected to spend regular time practicing on the aural training programme Auralia and written and performance aspects will also utilise Noteflight (for written and performance assignments) and Musition (for written assignments).  

Please note that although this paper begins at a basic level, it shall swiftly move into more complex musical theory. It is important to keep up with the material and the course structure will allow you to progress quickly.  Staff are available through email and tutorials to answer any course-related questions. 

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 50-60 hours of interactive web-based learning content, 20  hours tutorials and online class discussions, 40-60 hours on aural, theory and performance drills and 20-30 hours on assessment and assessment preparation.  

Delivery Mode

Online & Online

Attendance is expected at scheduled online activities including interactive web-based modules/tutorials/online discussions to complete components of the course.
The course will include live online events including tutorials and online discussion forums.
Attendance on campus is not required for the assessments.
Where possible, study material will be released progressively throughout the course.
This course runs to the University semester timetable and all the associated completion dates and deadlines will apply.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Other Materials or Software : 
Students will also receive cloud access to the Aural Perception programme Auralia, Noteflight and Musition. We encourage you to spend time familiarising yourself with these programmes in the first week of the Semester.  

Supplementary Reading (optional): 
Clendinning, Jane P. & Marvin, Elizabeth W. The Musician’s Guide to Theory and Analysis, Third Edition. New York: Norton, 2016 
This text and the accompanying workbook is also used in MUS 203, 204 and 205. The textbook gives you access to many online resources linked to the chapters of the book. The textbook, workbook and all online resources are also available together as an e-text subscription. Copies are available at the University Bookshop or through

Taylor, Eric. The AB Guide to Music Theory Parts 1 and 2. London: Associated Board of the Royal School of Music 1989. 

Duckworth, William. A Creative Approach to Music Fundamentals, 7th edition, Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 2001. 

Fitzgerald, Jon. Popular Music Theory and Musicianship, revised edition. Fortitude Valley, Qld.: Hazelmount, 2003. 

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

Student feedback has been received from previous offerings of the course and detailed changes to course content and structure have been applied to the current  offering. 

Other Information

Students are expected to engage fully with all online web content, attend all tutorials online, to complete a series of coursework drills, contribute to online discussions, and complete four assessment tasks (one formative, one written, one performance and one aural). 

Digital Resources:
All course materials are available in through Canvas each week will including: an interactive web-based learning module (including video lecture content, reading and notes, repertoire, links to drills, discussions and other important course materials. Canvas will also hold the link to regular weekly Zoom tutorials, links to online discussion forums (for weekly task assessments) and to assessment tests (Auralia, Musition and Noteflight).  

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and your assessment is fair, and not compromised. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the University Website for information about how to proceed.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 07/03/2023 11:43 a.m.