Some things to consider if you wish to study music
Prior knowledge of music
Most of our courses assume that students are able to read music and have at least a basic understanding of harmony. But there are exceptions, including MUSI 103 Introducing Music, MUSI 109 From Rags to Swing, MUSI 125 Music Recording and Production Techniques and MUSI 126 Digital Music. All these can be studied with little or no knowledge of music theory.
MUSI 107 Introduction to Materials of Music, covers music theory and aural from beginner level. By taking this course you can acquire the necessary knowledge for taking your music studies further. From here you could go on to take other 100-level courses (such as MUSI 171 Materials of Music and MUSI 131 Europe's Musical Heritage) which are the prerequisites for many of our 200-level courses.
BA or Mus B?
The Mus B is our specialist music degree, allowing access to almost all our courses, with the chance to specialise in areas such as composition and performance as well as music history, education, ethnomusicology, and musicianship. If you are interested in complementing your studies with a few music courses then the BA is most appropriate. If you want to study music more intensively, and especially if you want to study performance or composition, you should be looking at the Mus B. You will still be able to take a number of courses in other areas.
We group our music courses under six broad headings:
- Music Theory and Musicianship
- Music Education
- Music History, Culture and Research
- Composition, Digital Music, Sonic Art and Recording Technology
The Mus B degree requirements
* 360 point minimum in total
* 90 points at the 300 level
* 105 points in core courses (listed below)
See Courses for details of course available.
The following courses are compulsory for the Mus B degree:
- MUSI 112 Basic Keyboard Skills (or MUSI 120)
- MUSI 113 Choir and Sightsinging
- MUSI 120 Keyboard Musicianship (or MUSI 112)
- MUSI 131 Europe's Musical Heritage
- MUSI 171 Materials of Music 1
- MUSI 172 Materials of Music 2
- MUSI 271 Materials of Music 3
Link to Course Progression
Performance, both solo and ensemble, is taught at a very high level at the school, usually starting at NCEA Music performance Level 3, grade 8 or above, with entry by audition. With many opportunities for performing music at the University, it is sometimes possible to take part in an ensemble without being formally enrolled. Applications for audition are due by 15 September in the year prior to enrolling though late applications may be considered on a case by case basis. For more information enquiries may be at the School office, or talk to the staff tutor concerned. Performance Application Forms and Referee Report Forms may be downloaded below:
Preparing for music study at the University
Students intending to major in music at the University would be most appropriately prepared with the following skills and knowledge:
Music reading skills: An ability to read short scores (for example, piano scores with treble and bass clefs) and familiarity with open scores (such as orchestral scores, string quartet scores, wind band scores).
Music rudiments: Knowledge of rudiments - such as scale structures, intervals, musical terms - ideally at the level where these are employed instinctively.
Harmony: An understanding of tonality, harmonic progression, cadence and phrase.
Music literature: A knowledge of the music of the main historical periods by having listened to representative examples and read about their historical context.
Musicianship: Aural training in melodic and rhythmic dictations, identification of timbre and basic chords. Keyboard skills are desirable to facilitate the playing of musical examples being studied and of written exercises.
Performance: Students who intend to major in performance should be working with repertory at a level which is set at the grade 8 level or above.
Admission to performance requires an audition, and in making an assessment, the auditioning panel takes into account:
the projection of musical style, artistry, interpretation, musicianship and personality in the performance of music;
the technical proficiency of the applicant in relation to the demands of 100-level performance;
the prospect of the applicant being able to develop skills further and to realise musical potential as is expected at graduate level by the end of three years' study in the performance Bachelor of Music degree.
Because of the complex interaction of these factors, it is not possible to predetermine fixed standards, or to take evidence of successful performance elsewhere into account.
Composition: Previous efforts at musical self-expression, especially in initiating original and imaginative ideas, and seeing them through to performance and/or recording is an advantage.
Note that there are additionally a number of restrictions on these courses: if in doubt see the University of Canterbury Calendar or the Course Information System