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Music Theatre: Singing Sondheim (MUST20008)

Undergraduate level 2Points: 12.5On Campus (Southbank)

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Year of offer2019
Subject levelUndergraduate Level 2
Subject codeMUST20008
Availability(Quotas apply)
Summer Term
FeesSubject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date

This subject is an exploration of the works and influences of Stephen Sondheim, one of the most extraordinary composer/lyricists of music theatre, delivered through a weekly 2-hour large ensemble singing class and a one-hour lecture. Most popularly known as the lyricist of West Side Story, Sondheim’s work covers an astonishing range of subject matter, exhibiting song-writing craft that has challenged and ultimately contributed to the development of new forms of music theatre. The practical work, delivered in the supportive environment of singing within a large group, will explore the complexity and joy of Sondheim’s music whilst developing skills in safe voice usage and speech quality as a stylistic choice to privilege the lyric in song. Lectures will focus on the Sondheim’s early influences and the influence he has had on artists like Adam Guettel and Jason Robert Brown, as well as developing an understanding of the stylistic variation in both the form and content of Sondheim’s works. The subject will conclude with a short performance featuring a sample of the repertoire covered. No former singing or musical experience is necessary.

Intended learning outcomes

Upon completion of this subject students should:

  • have developed an appreciation of the significance of Sondheim’s work, his influences and the influence he has had on those who have followed him
  • have developed a better understanding of safe and unsafe vocal practices in both singing and speech
  • have developed skills in critical listening
  • be able to identify stylistic traits of a range of Sondheim’s works
  • Have developed an embodied understanding of the stylistic traits of speech quality in application to song

Develop enhanced research skills into artistic works and practices and the capacity to present these in essay form

Generic skills

On completion of this subject students will be able to:

  • Exhibit knowledge of the works of Stephen Sondheim, his collaborators and influences.
  • Demonstrate skills in large ensemble singing, including part-singing, harmonies and blend.
  • Demonstrate understanding of principles of safe voice usage
  • Perform selected repertoire to concert standard
  • Participate with ability and self-confidence as a team member of a performing group

Eligibility and requirements





Non-allowed subjects

MUSI10210 MUSI30234

Core participation requirements

The University of Melbourne is committed to providing students with reasonable adjustments to assessment and participation under the Disability Standards for Education (2005), and the Assessment and Results Policy (MPF1326). Students are expected to meet the core participation requirements for their course. These can be viewed under Entry and Participation Requirements for the course outlines in the Handbook.

Further details on how to seek academic adjustments can be found on the Student Equity and Disability Support website: http://services.unimelb.edu.au/student-equity/home



  • 2 x Blog entries: 600 words each, Classes: 4 & 10 - 30%
  • 30-minute test, Class 7, - 10%
  • Essay: 2,000 words, examination period, - 50%
  • Continuous: assessment will be based on the level of attainment in preparation of parts, individual and/or sectional practice and active participation in all rehearsals, classes and performances as directed, Classes 1-12, - 10%

Hurdle Requirement

Participation in the final performance is a hurdle requirement. Less than 80% attendance will result in a fail. All assessment components must be attempted in order to pass the subject.

Quotas apply to this subject

Dates & times

  • Summer Term
    Mode of deliveryOn Campus — Southbank
    Contact hoursContact hours 36 hours Total time commitment 120 hours
    Total time commitment120 hours
    Pre teaching start date 4 February 2019
    Pre teaching requirementsPrincipal coordinator Jayde Kirchert Mode of delivery On Campus — Southbank
    Teaching period18 February 2019 to 1 March 2019
    Last self-enrol date 6 February 2019
    Census date22 February 2019
    Last date to withdraw without fail 1 March 2019
    Assessment period ends15 March 2019

Time commitment details

120 hours

Additional delivery details

This subject has a quota of 80 students. Selection is automated and based on the order in which students enrol. Your enrolment in this subject guarantees a space unless you withdraw. Once the subject quota has been reached, all enrolled students will be contacted.

If the subject is full, spaces may become available in the future as others withdraw. The only way to check this is by attempting to enrol. Please note that there are no waiting lists for this subject.

As entry into this subject is based only on the order in which students enrol, special permission will not be offered to any students.

Further information

Last updated: 10 August 2019