Activity Introduction

Quick summary: Retired AFL star Adam Goodes is known to many for his resilient journey in the face of detrimental treatment by AFL spectators and the media beginning in 2013.

In this lesson, students explore the elements of music and how they can create deeper levels of meaning in a song. They analyse the use of musical elements in ‘Every Day My Mother’s Voice’, the award-winning song from The Final Quarter documentary. Students have an opportunity to also analyse the music video. They then create an analysis piece, where they use evidence to determine the quality of the song.

Using only archival footage aired at the time, The Final Quarter holds a mirror to Australia and is an opportunity to reconsider what happened on and off the football field. Learn more about the film here.

We highly recommend that students view the film in its entirety before participating in subsequent lessons. Our Watching the Film lessons are designed to support you in facilitating this process. Given the content, it is also important for teachers to communicate with parents and guardians of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students before playing the film and/or engaging with the teaching and learning resources. 

Note: This film may not be suitable for viewing by all young people. Teachers are advised to use their discretion when deciding whether to show this film. If teaching in a context with a high proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, it is imperative that guidance is sought from the Principal and Aboriginal Education Officer (or equivalent) prior to screening the film.

Learning intentions:

  • Students understand what the elements of music are and how they are used.
  • Students understand how music videos use symbolism and connect with the musical elements to create meaning.
  • Students understand how the elements of music can be analysed individually and in combination to unpack hidden meaning in a song.
  • Students understand how the quality of songs can be judged on a variety of levels.

21st century skills: 

CommunicatingCreative ThinkingCritical ThinkingCultural Understanding

Australian Curriculum Mapping

Content descriptions: 

Years 9 & 10 Music:

  • Evaluate a range of music and compositions to inform and refine their own compositions and performances (ACAMUR104)
  • Analyse a range of music from contemporary and past times to explore differing viewpoints and enrich their music making, starting with Australian music, including music of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and consider music in international contexts (ACAMUR105)

Years 9 & 10 Media Arts:

  • Evaluate how technical and symbolic elements are manipulated in media artworks to create and challenge representations framed by media conventions, social beliefs and values for a range of audiences (ACAMAR078)

Syllabus outcomes: MUS5.7, MUS5.8, MUS5.9, MUS5.10, MUS5.11, MUS5.12

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking

Cross-curriculum priority: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures (OI.6, OI,9)

Relevant parts of Years 9 & 10 Music achievement standards: 

Students analyse different scores and performances aurally and visually. They evaluate the use of elements of music and defining characteristics from different musical styles. They use their understanding of music making in different cultures, times and places to inform and shape their interpretations, performances and compositions. They use aural skills to recognise elements of music.

Relevant parts of Years 9 & 10 Media Arts achievement standards: 

Students  evaluate how genre and media conventions and technical and symbolic elements are manipulated to make representations and meaning. 

Topic: Learning Through Film, Social Issues, Indigenous Education

This lesson is part of the wider unit of work: The Final Quarter – Composing For Film – Music – Years 7-10

Time required: 60 mins.

Level of teacher scaffolding: Medium – facilitate class discussion and support students with activities.

Resources required:

  • Device capable of presenting a video to the class
  • Student Worksheets – one copy per student.

Keywords: music, elements, analysis, musical elements, song, songwriting, Paul Kelly, The Final Quarter, film, documentary, award, Adam Goodes, music video.

Cool Australia’s curriculum team continually reviews and refines our resources to be in line with changes to the Australian Curriculum.


Teacher Worksheet

Teacher Preparation

Learning intentions: Students understand…

  • … what the elements of music are and how they are used.
  • … how music videos use symbolism and connect with the musical elements to create meaning.
  • … how the elements of music can be analysed individually and in combination to unpack hidden meaning in a song.
  • … how the quality of songs can be judged on a variety of levels.

Success criteria: Students can…

  • … analyse how the elements of music operate individually and in combination.
  • … uncover hidden meanings in songs.
  • … use evidence to explain their analysis of a song.
  • … make judgements about the quality of a song.

Teacher content information:

This lesson will be centred around the acclaimed 2019 documentary, The Final Quarter. This film explores the detrimental treatment of AFL star Adam Goodes and the media and community responses. An Aboriginal player, and number 37 for the Sydney Swans, Adam Goodes was singled out for verbal abuse, booing and jee

- or - to view worksheets

Student Worksheet

Thought starter: “Music works on deeper levels than what the words are saying.” ~ Paul Kelly

The Elements of Music

1. Consider how each of the listed uses of the elements of music might contribute to creating mood or character. Write these in the second column:

Musical element How this element creates mood or character
Fast, uneven rhythms
Repeated rhythms or ostinatos
Small range of pitches
Very low-pitched melody line
Extreme and varied dynamics
Dynamics that grow throughout the whole song and quickly fade at the end
Stretching and contracting the beat
A catchy melodic theme or hook that repeats throughout the song
Muddy and mellow tone colour
Distorted tone colour
Only a few instruments and voices spread across background, mid-ground and foreground
Many voices singing different melodies over one another

Music Analysis

2. Listen to 'Every Day My Mother’s Voice' by Paul Kelly: https:/

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