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The study of music language and pre-compositional craft in contemporary tertiary contexts is subject to a range of challenges including changing levels of prior learning on the part of different cohorts; different repertoire priorities related to the character and focus of various institutions; the implications of inherited pedagogical methods that exclude or marginalise some contemporary repertoire; and the funding constraints that limit the amount of teaching time dedicated to this aspect of music practice. This paper compares the rationale, resources, repertoire focus and assessment regime used in the teaching of music language and precompositional craft to first-year undergraduates in a selection of Australian tertiary music programs. This comparison functions to benchmark a snapshot of Australian practice, analyse the diversity of repertoire embedded in each program and identify the extent to which assessment is overtly linked to professional practice. The paper concludes that while the resources that inform and support the teaching of music language and pre-compositional craft are regularly renewed, the rationale, repertoire and assessment regime that underpins many of these programs are heavily indebted to various inherited modes of pedagogy, many of which lack a clear link between the competencies that are developed and the likely professional pathways pursued by graduates.

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Conference Paper

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