Unit of competency details

CUSMPF603A - Refine performance techniques and expand repertoire (Release 2)


Usage recommendation:
Is superseded by and equivalent to CUAMPF603 - Refine performance techniques and expand repertoireUpdated to meet Standards for Training Packages. Minor edits to elements and performance criteria. 14/Jan/2016

Release Status:
ReleaseRelease date
2 (this release) 02/Nov/2011
(View details for release 1) 29/Oct/2010

Accredited courses that have this unit in the completion mapping


SchemeCodeClassification value
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100101 Music  

Classification history

SchemeCodeClassification valueStart dateEnd date
ASCED Module/Unit of Competency Field of Education Identifier 100101 Music  29/Oct/2010 
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Modification History



Release 2

Created to fix formatting errors only.

Released with CUS09 Music Training Package version 1.2

Unit Descriptor

This unit describes the performance outcomes, skills and knowledge required to expand repertoire and present an extended professional performance.

Application of the Unit

This unit builds on CUSMPF506A Develop technical skills and expand repertoire, and can apply to refining skills on either a first or second instrument.

A higher level of competence in areas such as performance preparation, craft skills and musicianship is required of musicians as they seek regular professional performance opportunities, either on a contract basis or as employees of orchestras. They are expected to show a real commitment to improving their skills and to expanding their repertoire in ways that allow them to demonstrate higher levels of technical and expressive skills. A willingness to act on feedback from colleagues and mentors is also essential.

Licensing/Regulatory Information

No licensing, legislative, regulatory or certification requirements apply to this unit at the time of endorsement.


Not applicable

Employability Skills Information

Not applicable

Elements and Performance Criteria Pre-Content

Elements describe the essential outcomes of a unit of competency.

Performance criteria describe the performance needed to demonstrate achievement of the element. Where bold italicised text is used, further information is detailed in the required skills and knowledge section and the range statement. Assessment of performance is to be consistent with the evidence guide.

Elements and Performance Criteria



1. Use personal practice time to refine skills

1.1 In consultation with appropriate personnel , identify strengths and weaknesses in own performance skills

1.2 Develop a practice plan and strategies  that incorporate realistic goals as a basis for refining performance technique 

1.3 Identify repertoire  that will help achieve technical and expressive development goals and incorporate them into practice plan

1.4 Ensure that practice routine makes best use of resources 

1.5 Use private practice to continuously develop technical control of chosen instrument  to enhance musical expression and refine individual style

1.6 Experiment with and exploit repertoire and exercises  to continuously refine technical accuracy 

1.7 Listen critically to own performance to assess technical strengths and weaknesses and adjust practice regime accordingly

1.8 Ensure that practice is undertaken with due consideration to personal health and safety 

2. Plan repertoire to meet performance goals

2.1 Research new repertoire to identify pieces or works that advance performance scope and skills

2.2 Use opportunities to trial new work for peers and/or mentors and incorporate their critical feedback into private practice

2.3 Practise a range of pieces or works that focus on identified areas of technical development

2.4 Include new pieces from a range of repertoire for listening and private practice to identify options for repertoire development

3. Use technical skills to convey interpretive and expressive qualities in performance

3.1 Use control of the chosen instrument to interpret music convincingly and realise the expressive qualities of the instrument in performance

3.2 Consistently and reliably demonstrate control of sound production across the range of repertoire for the selected musical style

3.3 Continually extend physical coordination and control over the instrument to produce a highly accomplished standard of performance

3.4 Listen to own work critically to produce accurate intonation and tone colour across the dynamic range of the instrument

4. Present a professional performance program to an audience

4.1 Undertake appropriate psychological and physical warm-up and warm-down activities to enhance short and long-term performance outcomes

4.2 Interpret music from memory, improvisation or reading from charts or musical notation as required

4.3 Perform a range of instrumental techniques in a fluent and confident manner to a professional performance standard

4.4 Control intonation, rhythm, tempi, expression, phrasing and nuance to a professional performance standard appropriate to the repertoire and musical style

4.5 Perform in a variety of instrumental and/or vocal combinations, including works in solo and group performances

4.6 Maintain stage fitness to ensure a professional technical standard in performance

5. Evaluate technical skills in performance

5.1 View or listen to recordings of own performance to analyse technical and expressive aspects of own performance

5.2 Note areas for improvement and take action accordingly

5.3 Seek feedback on performances from appropriate personnel and incorporate their feedback into own continuous improvement strategies

Required Skills and Knowledge


This section describes the skills and knowledge required for this unit.

Required skills 

  • communication, teamwork and organisational skills sufficient to:
  • interpret music appropriately for performance
  • respond appropriately to constructive feedback on own performance
  • self-management and planning skills sufficient to:
  • plan own practice time
  • setprofessional development goals
  • identify areas of weakness and plan practice accordingly
  • investigate repertoire to contribute to the scope of programming and to continuously develop excellence in performance
  • listening skills sufficient to:
  • monitor and adjust intonation as required
  • recognise intervals, chords, scales and chord progressions in selected area of specialisation
  • use appropriate sound and tone production for instrument or voice
  • produce a controlled sound with variations in tone as required
  • apply acoustic principles to own performance
  • initiative and enterprise skills in the context of:
  • producing sounds in a range of ways appropriate to selected musical style and repertoire
  • developing an increased awareness of the subtleties and variations of tone colour available on chosen instrument and their use in performance
  • adapting repertoire to own performance in area of specialisation
  • learning skills in the context of:
  • improving music performance skills and expression through practice
  • expanding repertoire
  • using appropriate repertoire for technical development
  • technical and problem-solving skills sufficient to:
  • use a range of instrumental techniques on a first or second instrument
  • tune instrument to achieve intonation
  • play an extensive range of scales, rhythms or chord patterns in selected area of specialisation
  • produce planned sound consistently across a wide dynamic range
  • discriminate and adjust pitch to produce the required sound

Required knowledge 

  • acoustic principles relevant to selected area of specialisation
  • instrument parts, applications, range, capabilities, care and maintenance
  • repertoire relevant to the selected area of specialisation
  • issues and challenges that arise in the context of refining performance technique and expanding repertoire
  • OHS principles relevant to particular performance contexts, such as:
  • legislation
  • policies and best practice
  • hearing protection
  • protection of body against overuse injury
  • safe lifting practices
  • performance anxiety

Evidence Guide

The Evidence Guide provides advice on assessment and must be read in conjunction with the performance criteria, required skills and knowledge, range statement and the Assessment Guidelines for the Training Package.

Overview of assessment 

Critical aspects for assessment and evidence required to demonstrate competency in this unit 

Evidence of the ability to:

  • confidently present at least two performance programs of a professional standard on the selected instrument in area of specialisation
  • use aural discrimination to monitor and adjust own performance to achieve the required sound
  • plan and monitor progress in own skill development
  • expand repertoire in area of specialisation
  • respond positively to constructive feedback on own performance.

Context of and specific resources for assessment 

Assessment must ensure:

  • access to relevant instrument and equipment
  • opportunities to present performance programs before an audience
  • access to suitable acoustic space
  • use of culturally appropriate processes, and techniques appropriate to the language and literacy capacity of learners and the work being performed
  • opportunities to demonstrate improvement in technical skills and expansion of repertoire.

Method of assessment 

The following assessment methods are appropriate for this unit:

  • observation of practice or performances
  • process diary detailing practice planning, goals and strategies
  • written or oral questioning on technical development strategies, planning and career goals
  • written or oral questioning to test knowledge as listed in the required knowledge section of this unit
  • video and/or audio recordings of performances or practice sessions
  • self-evaluation sheets
  • samples of work plans for private practice sessions, including monitoring progress against goals
  • case studies and scenarios as a basis to discuss issues associated with refining performance technique and expanding repertoire.

Guidance information for assessment 

Holistic assessment with other units relevant to the industry sector, workplace and job role is recommended, for example:

  • CUSMPF501A Prepare a program for performance
  • CUSMPF503A Perform accompaniment
  • CUSMPF508A Provide musical leadership in performance
  • CUSMPF601A Present a music performance
  • CUSMPF602A Manage stagecraft aspects of performances
  • CUSMPF604A Extend improvisation techniques.

Range Statement

The range statement relates to the unit of competency as a whole. It allows for different work environments and situations that may affect performance. Bold italicised wording, if used in the performance criteria, is detailed below. Essential operating conditions that may be present with training and assessment (depending on the work situation, needs of the candidate, accessibility of the item, and local industry and regional contexts) may also be included.

Appropriate personnel  may include:

  • musical director
  • performer
  • mentor
  • teacher
  • coach
  • tutor
  • conductor
  • producer
  • agent
  • sound engineer.

Strategies  may include:

  • working effectively with an appropriate tutor
  • practising as a performer
  • participating in relevant groups or associations
  • participating in professional development and other learning opportunities
  • attending master classes
  • attending performances
  • listening critically to a wide range of live and recorded music.

Technique  may include:

  • vocal and instrumental sound production
  • physical dexterity and coordination
  • improvising
  • playing an extensive range of pieces that require work on different areas of technical development in area of specialisation
  • playing an extensive range of rhythms and rhythm patterns
  • playing an extensive range of chords and chord patterns
  • controlling rhythms, including syncopation, rhythmic contrast and simultaneous cross rhythms
  • controlling tone colour across a wide dynamic range
  • phrasing and shaping performance in style and nuance
  • controlling dynamics
  • controlling performance at the required speed
  • integrating a range of elements in performance.

Repertoire  may include:

  • complex pieces composed for the selected instrument
  • complex pieces or works specially arranged for the instrument in area of specialisation
  • diverse range of solo and ensemble pieces of varying levels of complexity and difficulty
  • improvised pieces
  • a full performance program
  • works from a range of genres and styles.

Resources  may include:

  • performance space
  • instruments and equipment
  • time.

Instruments  may be first or second instruments and may include:

  • acoustic or electronic
  • voice
  • stringed
  • keyboards
  • wind
  • tuned and untuned percussion
  • brass
  • plucked.

Exercises  may be aimed at developing:

  • ability to play a wide range of scales, triads, arpeggios, chords or rhythms
  • varied tone colour
  • bowing techniques to achieve good phrasing and a range of articulation options
  • embouchure to achieve good tone production across the range and special techniques
  • fingering patterns to achieve required phrasing, articulation and dynamics
  • posture appropriate to good sound production and OHS principles
  • hand and/or foot patterns
  • plucking and picking patterns
  • drumming expertise with mallets and beaters
  • pedalling techniques
  • microphone techniques.

Technical accuracy  may relate to:

  • rhythms
  • tone colour
  • pitch and register
  • dynamics
  • phrasing.

Health and safety  considerations may include:

  • correct posture to support facility and longevity in practice
  • ensuring that practice sessions are of reasonable duration to avoid fatigue
  • hearing protection
  • protection of body against overuse injury
  • safe lifting techniques
  • strategies to overcome performance anxiety, such as:
  • focussing on a single element or action at a time
  • relaxation techniques, such as meditation and deep breathing
  • focussing on patterns rather than individual notes
  • warm-up routines.

Unit Sector(s)

Performing arts - music performance