Music 1: Preparing for the viva voce
This article (written by Debra Gilmore from Sydney Boys High School) provides Music 1 students with valuable advice on preparing for the Musicology viva voce examination.
Viva voce (n). An examination where questions are asked and answered orally rather than by written paper. The Macquarie Dictionary The Musicology viva voce is a two-way discussion between examiner and student in which the student must demonstrate an understanding of the concepts of music in the topics studied. Music 1 Stage 6 Syllabus, page 40.
The viva voce examination requires students to spend ten minutes discussing their chosen topic with the examiners; a focused musicological discussion.
Ultimately, it will be up to the student to give the examiner enough information about their topic and to demonstrate depth of knowledge and focus of study.
It is important to remember that the musicology elective is equivalent to other electives and requires a similar amount of preparation. The focus is always on the music and the musical concepts. The examiners really want to hear about the music, and how the concepts have been used in relation to your topic.
There are a number of stages of preparation for this examination:
Decide on the topic, the specialisation within the topic and the hypothesis. Find the resources and analyse the music through the concepts. Practise the viva voce. Prepare your Outline Summary Sheet. Consider the set-up of the space you will be using.
Be positive, articulate and knowledgeable in the examination.
Decide on the topic
There are a number of approaches, but students need to keep in mind that a topic that really stimulates and interests them will be a pleasure to research and prepare.
It is easier to have an aim or hypothesis1 to discuss musical details.This will enable you to form conclusions about the music, and not just list facts about it. It will also assist you to structure your viva voce.