Music study options

Study Music Arts at Ara and every day you'll be exposed to a range of music styles, instruments and skills to help you identify your strengths, your passions and the direction your music career will take – whether it's as a performer, composer, producer or industry professional working with venues and artists.

We offer two qualifications: The Certificate in Contemporary Performance, and the Bachelor of Music Arts. The degree programme is available in two strands: jazz (with pathways in percussion, performance, arranging and composition) and contemporary (with pathways in performance, percussion, production and song writing).

As a Music Arts student, you'll become proficient in your chosen instrument; write and perform in your own band(s) in purpose-built facilities including rehearsal studios and a 150-seat auditorium; record in our state-of-the-art recording studios; be inspired by workshops and masterclasses from international musicians as part of our Visiting Artist Programme.

If you choose a jazz pathway you'll also:

  • learn jazz theory and improvisation on your chosen instrument
  • learn the theory and practice behind being a great jazz performer, composer or arranger
  • play alongside our acclaimed jazz tutors
  • become part of Christchurch's exciting jazz scene

If you choose a contemporary music pathway you'll also:

  • develop your skills for a career in pop, rock, electronic dance music or as a singer/songwriter
  • learn how to write and arrange songs
  • work alongside tutors/practicing professionals with profiles in the music industry
  • work alongside well known musicians as part of the APRA songwriter in residence programme (Warren Maxwell 2014, Flip Grater 2015)


Image of Liam O'Toole

Bachelor of Music Arts

Programme code:

The Music Arts degree programme will equip you with the skills and attributes required to enjoy a rewarding career as a practioner in the music industry.

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level7 ProgrammeIsOfTypeDegree sortOrder1030 Performing_arts
Image of Tara Walsh

Certificate in Contemporary Music Performance

Programme code:

This certificate is a great way to take your first big step to becoming a music professional. You will benefit from a strong focus on contemporary music, especially live performance experience.

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level4 ProgrammeIsOfTypeCertificate sortOrder1050 Performing_arts