Monash University

Undergraduate - Course

Students who commenced study in 2015 should refer to this course entry for direction on the requirements; to check which units are currently available for enrolment, refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course.

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This course entry applies to students commencing this course in 2015 and should be read in conjunction with information provided in the 'Faculty information' section of this Handbook by the Faculty of Arts.

If you are seeking to commence your studies in 2016, please visit our new Find A Course for 2016.

Course code0821
Managing facultyArts
Abbreviated titleBMus
CRICOS code017113G
Total credit points required144
Standard duration of study (years)3 years FT, 6 years PT

Students have a maximum of eight years to complete this course.

Study mode and locationOn-campus (Clayton)

Students may select non-music elective units from any campus, but should be aware of the teaching location as this may require travel to another campus. Students may also select units offered in off-campus mode.

Admission, fee and application details
Contact details

Tel: 1800 MONASH (1800 666 274) Web address:


  • Unit codes that are not linked to their entry in the Handbook are not available for study in the current year.


The Bachelor of Music allows students to build a high level of expertise in their chosen specialisation - classical or jazz performance, composition, musicology, ethnomusicology or creative music technology - while also allowing them the flexibility to sample a variety of musical approaches.

Students benefit from a vibrant, nurturing and productive environment, with modern facilities, unique archival collections and scholarship opportunities. They will enjoy a wide range of performance opportunities, including with international visiting artists, and have the option of undertakings overseas units as part of their degree. In addition to learning practical skills, students are exposed to the historical, creative, technical and cultural aspects of music making and musical thinking.

Double degrees

Student completing the Bachelor of Music as a double degree should refer to:

  • this course entry for the requirements of the Bachelor of Music
  • the course entry for the partner course in their double degree.

The Bachelor of Music is available as a double degree in the following courses:

  • 3054 Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Music
  • 1185 Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Commerce
  • D3004 Bachelor of Education (Honours) and Bachelor of Music
  • L3006 Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and Bachelor of Music


The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music teaches, researches, and promotes public outreach in five fields of music endeavour: performance, composition, musicology, ethnomusicology and creative music technology. Students specialise in one field, but gain experience in a unified way in all five areas.


Students with strong musical aptitude undertaking this specialisation are expected to acquire an assured technique and an awareness of the history of performance style and practice. Students develop their stylistic understanding and interactive musical skills by performing in a variety of ensembles. Throughout the program students are examined on both solo and ensemble work.


Students undertaking this specialisation can expect to acquire experience and skills in music composition. The program offers supervision of students' compositional projects and encourages work in various media, including traditional, electronic, and contemporary solo and ensemble combinations. The Sir Zelman Cowen School of Music organises a number of large and small instruments and ensemble choral groups and encourages performance of students compositions.

Musicology and ethnomusicology

Students who choose either of these specialisations, or a combination of both, can expect to develop their critical thinking about music, including broadening their understanding of the role of music in society, music history, philosophical and aesthetic aspects of music, performance practice, and the music traditions of different cultures.

In the musicology stream, students undertake close studies of music history, biography and historiography from various periods and from a wide variety of perspectives.

In the ethnomusicology stream, students make detailed area studies of selected music cultures of Asia and/or Africa, and may learn to perform in an Indonesian gamelan and in other Asian and African traditions as appropriate for a particular unit for which a student enrols.

Creative music technology

The creative music technology specialisation is focused on the creative application of technology within professional music, sound, broadcast and multimedia and research contexts. Students will develop creative and music technology skills for employment and research within new media, composition, recording and performance creative industries. The program explores the use of music, sound and media, and promotes creative outcomes enabled through current technologies. These are studied within the context of their creative applications.


These course outcomes are aligned with the Australian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate AttributesAustralian Qualifications Framework level 7, the Bologna Cycle 1 and Monash Graduate Attributes (

The Bachelor of Music is designed to allow students to develop advanced skills and knowledge in their chosen specialisation. The opportunities to diversify the degree to engage in cross-cultural and cross-genre interactions help to develop students' creative and critical thinking abilities. These skills inform both their music practice and writing, enable the effective communication of musical ideas, and encourage innovative responses to practical and conceptual challenges in a range of areas, as well as fostering a broader sense of global responsibility.

Upon successful completion of this course as a single degree or as a componeent of a double degree, it is expected that graduates will be able to:

  • undertake sustained high-level independent practice in their chosen specialisation
  • engage creativity, critical judgement, analysis and imagination in resolving musical and conceptual problems related to their practice or research
  • effectively communicate complex ideas associated with their chosen specialisation
  • demonstrate a critical awareness of how their own practice or research is placed within a broader industry or disciplinary context
  • draw from a range of resources and skills to enhance adaptability and effectively prepare for a career in their chosen music specialisation
  • actively engage with the international and cross-cultural elements of their discipline.


This course consists of core music units and electives.

No more than 10 units (60 points) are to be completed at first-year level.

Students must complete a minimum of 36 points at third-year level.


All students

All single and double degree students must complete:

  • ATS1349 Chief music study 1
  • ATS1350 Chief music study 2
  • ATS1345 Music and history
  • ATS1346 Music in culture
  • ATS1899 Music theory and ear training 1
  • ATS1900 Music theory and ear training 2
  • ATS2808 Chief music study 3
  • ATS2809 Chief music study 4*
  • ATS2901 Music theory and ear training 3
  • ATS2902 Music theory and ear training 4
  • ATS3830 Chief music study 5*, or ATS3819 Applied music 1: Orchestration
  • ATS3831 Chief music study 6, or ATS3820 Applied music 2: Conducting
  • 24 points of music electives from the list below or level three units not completed

* Students must achieve at least a credit (60 per cent) in this unit to continue on to ATS3831 Chief music study 6 in performance.

Single degree students only

Students in the single degree of Bachelor of Music must in addition to the above also complete:

  • 48 points of electives

A minimum of 36 points must be chosen from music electives from the list below or level-three core units not already completed. Students can complete up to 12 points of non-music elective units.

Non-music electives can be identified using the browse units toolbrowse units tool ( and indexes of unitsindexes of units ( in the current edition of the Handbook. The level of the unit is indicated by the first number in the unit code; undergraduate units are those that commence with the numbers 1-3. Note: Some non-arts units may require permission from the owning faculty. Students must be able to meet any unit prerequisites. Students must be able to meet any unit prerequisites.


Semester one
  • ATS1343 Popular music: From spirituals to YouTube
  • ATS1347 Music ensemble 1
  • ATS2139 Song writing: How to write a pop tune
  • ATS2333 Jazz history 1: Readings in history and biography
  • ATS2687 The ethnomusicology of improvisation
  • ATS2800 Music ensemble 3
  • ATS2804 From the erotic to the exotic: Music in the nineteenth century
  • ATS2805 Music, identity and place
  • ATS2807 Composition techniques: Structures, pitch and space
  • ATS3021 Chamber music 1
  • ATS3818 Drumming traditions of West Africa
  • ATS3819 Applied music 1: Orchestration
  • ATS3822 Jazz history 2: Readings in improvisation and cross cultural musical relationships
  • ATS3824 Popular music and society
  • ATS3828 Music composition techniques: Film and orchestration
  • ATS3829 East Asia and its music: Silk road histories and popular contexts
  • ATS3899 Jazz composition/arranging 1
Semester two
  • ATS1342 Music and popular culture: Asia
  • ATS1348 Music ensemble 2
  • ATS2060 The art of teaching music performance (classical)
  • ATS2085 The art of teaching music performance (improvisation)
  • ATS2139 Song writing: How to write a pop tune
  • ATS2799 Audio culture: From Cage to Gaga
  • ATS2801 Music ensemble 4
  • ATS2900 Music aesthetics and criticism
  • ATS3022 Chamber music 2
  • ATS3061 Music in Australian society
  • ATS3094 The music business: How to be successful in the music industry
  • ATS3820 Applied music 2: Conducting
  • ATS3821 From critical theory to creating new musical work
  • ATS3823 Improvising musical traditions of South Asia
  • ATS3825 Western art music in the 20th and 21st century
  • ATS3900 Jazz composition/arranging 2
  • ATS3926 Gongs, punks and shadow plays
Overseas study units

* This unit will require payment of an additional fee that may cover items such as accommodation, entry fees, excursions, coaches, transfers, flights and university administration.


Bachelor of Music