Ara Institute Of Canterbury, Christchurch




Duration: Three years full time study.
Courses start: February 2021
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: Provides an industry-relevant professional qualification that prepares you for a range of career paths in contemporary music. The programme integrates study in instrumental or vocal performance, music theory, composition, arranging, contextual studies, improvisation, sound production and professional practice. You can choose a number of pathways – with options in performance (jazz, contemporary and percussion), arranging, songwriting, production and industry. The Music Arts programme has a vibrant Visiting Artist programme including an annual Songwriter in Residence.

Qualifications gained: Bachelor of Music Arts (BMusArts) [exit Diploma in Music Arts (DipMusArts) available after two years study].

Career prospects: You will be able to engage in many musical and artistic situations including 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) $6,830 – $7,450 per year

Applications: Applications now open. 

Contact: Gwyn Reynolds (Programme Leader)




Duration: One year full time 
Course starts: February 2021
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 Arts.

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

Cost: (indicative) $5,710 – $6,200

Applications: Open now

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)