Ara Institute Of Canterbury, Christchurch




Duration: Three years full time study.
Courses start: February 2022
No. of students per intake: Up to 50

Entry criteria: Academic NCEA Level 3 (60 credits at Level 3 and 20 credits at Level 2 or higher) which must include 14 credits at Level 3 in each of three approved* subjects and 14 credits at Level 3 in each of three approved subjects* as well as Literacy* – 10 credits at Level 2 or above, made up of 5 credits in reading, 5 credits in writing, and Numeracy* – 10 credits at Level 1 or above (specified achievement standards, or unit standards 26623, 26626, 26627)
OR New Zealand Certificate in Study and Career Preparation (Level 4) Ara Performing Arts Pathway or equivalent.
If you have undertaken examinations other than NCEA (e.g. International Baccalaureate, Cambridge Examination), Ara will assess your qualification for academic entry equivalency.

*NZQA approved subjects: see

Emphasis: The programme focuses on the practical; even the ‘academic’ subjects are taught in a style that relates directly to the practical application of those subjects. More than half the programme content is practical in nature, a higher proportion than most music degrees in New Zealand. With such a focus on the practical, you’re a musician from day one at Ara.

The degree offers three pathways: Music Creation (composition), Music Performance and Music Production. This choice lets you specialise in the area you’re passionate about, while learning alongside and working with musicians from other pathways. Your third-year capstone project allows you to design your own major project (which can include a work placement if relevant) with dedicated specialist tutor support.

Qualifications gained: Bachelor of Music (BMus)

Career prospects:

More than ever, music is a portfolio career and this degree sets you up perfectly to excel in the ‘gig economy’. As a graduate you’ll possess a comprehensive and varied set of skills, backed up by a working knowledge of the industry and how to establish your place within it. Possible career outcomes include: teaching, performance, production, sound engineering, event management, promotion, composition and arranging.

Facilities: Purpose-built three-level Music Arts building. Built in 1998 its air conditioned and sound-proofed rooms include a mixture of individual practice rooms, ensemble rooms, class teaching rooms, computer/keyboard suite, CD and resource library, a 99-seat auditorium, recording facilities, quality grand pianos and high-end backline. Students have access 6am to 11pm, seven days a week. On the edge of Christchurch’s CBD, the Music Arts building continues its role as a centre for music performance and education in the city.

Tutors: Andrew Snell (Manager, Performing Arts), Gwyn Reynolds (Programme Leader), Cameron Pearce, Darren Pickering, Scott Taitoko, David Saunders, Doug Brush, Harry Harrison, Michael Story, Andrew Genge, Bob Heinz, Joe McCallum, Kate Taylor, Luke Smillie, David Cooper, Lee Borrie, Byllie-Jean Rangihuna- Billingsley, Tyrone Frost, Tom Rainey, Antony Pickard.

Prominent graduates: Nick Gaffaney, LA Mitchell, Oakley Grenell, Joe McCallum, Brett Hirst, Gerard Masters, Sam Blakelock, Emily Browning.

Cost: (indication) $7,017 – $7,831 per year

Applications: Applications now open. 

Contact: Gwyn Reynolds (Programme Leader)




Duration: One year full time 
Course starts: February 2022
No. of students per intake: 20
Entry criteria: 10 in NCEA  Level 1 literacy credits. 

Emphasis: This qualification is for individuals who wish to develop their experience and practice in music. It provides the music industry with performers that have the technical ability to perform with confidence. Graduates can contribute to the cultural, social and economic life of Aotearoa New Zealand.

Qualification gained: Certificate in Contemporary Music (Level 4)

Career prospects: You will be able to pursue career opportunities in the music industry, perform as a soloist or band member in a range of contexts, pursue music tuition and engage in a music retail position.

Facilities: As above for Bachelor of Music.

Tutors: Kate Taylor, David Saunders, David Cooper, Harry Harrison, Scott Taitoko, Michael Story, Luke Smilie.

Cost: (indicative) $6,000 – $6,814

Contact: Gwyn Reynolds (Programme Leader)

Address: Ara Music Arts, PO Box 540, Cnr Madras & High Streets, Christchurch 8140

Phone: 0800 24 24 76


Contact: Gwyn Reynolds (Programme Leader)


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