Undergraduate Studies in Music

Music at Otago

Music at Otago offers you a wide range from which to choose, including Western classical music, contemporary rock music, music technology and world music.

If you want to develop as a performer, a composer or a songwriter we have stimulating papers in the creation of music to explore to a high level.

Music as a Major subject

How much music do you want to study?

Do you want to perform music?

In order to be admitted to papers in performance you must pass an audition.

Music to honours level

Both the MusB and the BA in Music can be studied to honours level.

Music as part of a double degree

You can study Music as part of a double degree - for example a Bachelor of Music (MusB) and a Bachelor of Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), or as part of a double major – for example Classical Music Performance and Popular Music for a MusB, or Music and History for a BA.

Music as a Minor subject

Music can also be studied as a Minor subject for the BA or another degree, and you can take stand-alone papers in Music.

The range of areas of Music you can study at Otago

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Classical Music Performance Major

The Classical Music Performance programme develops performing potential through individual lessons and workshops under expert staff guidance. The Department of Music offers a supportive and inspirational environment in which individual instrumental or vocal technique and musical awareness are fostered and promoted. Many Classical Music performance students have achieved outstanding national and international success, based upon the foundations and mentoring offered by the classical performance staff. On offer is a broad spectrum of instrumental and vocal possibilities, with regular performance opportunities both within the University’s public music programmes and beyond. This major is a preparation for a possible career as a performer, or as a studio music teacher. Entry to the performance programme requires an audition. Early applications are encouraged.

In the first year students on this programme will normally take

     MUSI 101 Materials of Music 1
     Two of:
     MUSI 102 Music in Western Culture
     MUSI 103 Music in Popular Culture
     MUSI 104 Music in World Cultures (one of these 2 papers can be left until your 2nd or 3rd year)
     And
     MUSI 141 Performance 1

If you are interested in this programme please contact a Music Adviser. Please email either Mr Peter Adams, Dr Ian Chapman, Dr Robert Burns or Professor Henry Johnson.

Composition Major

A comprehensive training in Composition (including Music Technology and Songwriting) is provided to students at all levels of study. Broad-ranging in content, the Composition major caters to all forms of musical creativity and music style. In the first year of study students may specialize in one area or mix different interests, such as Classical Music or Popular Music. In the following years, opportunities are made available for specialization in writing for other media such as film, dance, television or theatre. There are no minimum entry requirements for the first-year composition papers but students with little or no music theory ability are strongly encouraged to up-skill in the first semester by taking MUSI 191 Introduction to Music, or waiting until their second year of music study.

In the first year students on this programme will normally take
    MUSI 101 Materials of Music 1
    Two of:
    MUSI 102 Music in Western Culture
    MUSI 103 Music in Popular Culture
    MUSI 104 Music in World Cultures (one of these 2 papers can be left until your 2nd or 3rd year)
    And
    MUSI 131 Composition 1 AND/OR
    MUSI 135 Songwriting
together with other 100-level papers (MUSI132 Music Technology 1 is recommended) in Music or another subject, and an Adviser of Studies will help you make good choices. In later years you will specialize more in Composition with backup papers in other areas of music.

If you are interested in this programme please contact a Music Adviser. Please email either Mr Peter Adams, Dr Ian Chapman, Dr Robert Burns or Professor Henry Johnson.

Contemporary Music Performance Major

Two study pathways are offered in Contemporary Music Performance. Students have a choice of study between the band-based, original music writing orientated pathway (MUSI145), and the one that specializes in instrumental technique with a view to becoming a freelance musician (MUSI146). Both of these options offer students a path of study that has been constructed by Department staff with backgrounds in the professional world of music making at the highest levels. Students are also able to combine study in Contemporary Music Performance with historical, analytical and cultural studies of music, providing a vital insight into the consumption and effect of popular music in contemporary societies. This major is a preparation for a career in the musical community, or as a studio music teacher. In order to be admitted to papers in performance you must pass an audition, and early application is advised.

In the first year students on this programme will normally take
    MUSI 101 Materials of Music 1
    Two of
    MUSI 102 Music in Western Culture
    MUSI 103 Music in Popular Culture
    MUSI 104 Music in World Cultures (one of these 2 papers can be left until your 2nd or 3rd year)
    And
    MUSI 145 Contemporary Performance 1 OR
    MUSI 146 Professional Practice 1A and MUSI 156 Professional Practice 1B
    In later years you will specialize more in Contemporary Music Performance with backup papers in other areas of music.

If you are interested in this programme please contact a Music Adviser. Please email either Mr Peter Adams, Dr Ian Chapman, Dr Robert Burns or Professor Henry Johnson.

Music Studies Major

The Music Studies major is the most flexible of the Music majors. If you are interested in learning more about the history of western art music, the impact of popular music on the modern world, or music from different societies and cultures then this major is for you. The academic study of music generally falls into three areas: musicology (the study of classical western art music), popular musicology (the academic study of popular music) and ethnomusicology (the study of world music). This major is the least specified and allows students to structure their own course of papers. As well as its flexibility, the Music Studies major will be useful to students who start a Performance or Composition major but then decide not to go to third year in that discipline.
It is also possible to do a double major with music studies and one of the performance or composition majors. See Peter Adams if you are interested in a double major.

In the first year students on this programme will normally take
    MUSI 101 Materials of Music 1
    Two of
    MUSI 102 Music in Western Culture
    MUSI 103 Music in Popular Culture
    MUSI 104 Music in World Cultures (one of these 2 papers can be left until your 2nd or 3rd year)
together with other 100-level papers in Music or another subject, and an Adviser of Studies will help you make good choices. If you wish to take a paper in music performance you will need to pass an audition.

If you are interested in this programme please contact a Music Adviser. Please email either Mr Peter Adams, Dr Ian Chapman, Dr Robert Burns or Professor Henry Johnson.

Music Industry (Minor)

The Music Industry minor enables students to negotiate the modern music business and achieve success in their careers. This minor provides a pathway for those students wishing to gain a comprehensive insight into the ways in which the creative industries work.

Consisting of papers in music industry studies, music technology, songwriting, marketing and communication and popular culture studies, the Music Industry minor reflects the plurality of creative and business skills necessary for achieving your goal as a performer, composer, producer or music industry professional.

This pathway provides a professional focus for students whose aim is to combine their artistic and creative abilities with practical and necessary commercial skills. This combination of skills will prove very valuable in the music industry.

If you are interested in this programme please contact a Music Adviser. Please email either Mr Peter Adams, Dr Ian Chapman, Dr Robert Burns or Professor Henry Johnson.

Music Technology (Minor)

The music world of today is comprised of overlapping media and technologies and new music professionals will need a range of skill-sets to make their mark. Desktop tools for music creation and production provide an unparalleled opportunity for people to create their music outside of traditional studio-system production houses.

Along with these increased opportunities comes a need for related skill-sets in using the technology to create sophisticated and meaningful media products. The Music Technology minor caters to any music genre or style, from classical to traditional folk music, jazz and beyond.

The papers are designed to empower students with the tools necessary to create, perform, record and enjoy music on all levels in the constantly expanding digital environment we experience today.

If you are interested in this programme please contact a Music Adviser. Please email either Mr Peter Adams, Dr Ian Chapman, Dr Robert Burns or Professor Henry Johnson.

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© Department of Music
Te Tari Pūoro
PO Box 56
Dunedin 9054
New Zealand

Tel 64 3 479 8885
Fax 64 3 479 8885
Email music@otago.ac.nz