Music Studies

Music Studies at Victoria is an innovative and dynamic programme that offers interdisciplinary study across the areas of musicology, ethnomusicology, theory and analysis, performance, and jazz studies. Music Studies offers engagement with contemporary issues and research in New Zealand music, European art music, music ethnography, Māori, Pacific, and Asian music, film music, historically-informed performance practice, popular music and jazz.

Programme highlights

Music Studies course work provides skills in critical thinking, listening, research, writing, communication and presentation that are transferable to a number of different fields and careers. The Music Studies programme offers a depth and range of study options (both academic and performative), which allow you to:

  • study under passionate and dedicated staff—all of whom are internationally active music scholars and researchers (both musicologists and ethnomusicologists) in research-led teaching across the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes
  • enjoy a flexible approach to study that requires no prior formal training in music and features opportunities for collaboration—both within music and interdisciplinarity—with students and staff.   
  • engage with local, national and international music scholars through our regular Music Forum seminar series
  • explore a specialty in new and emerging areas of study, such as music technology, 21st century music, and critical issues in music research
  • study the diverse music that can be experienced live in Wellington: from regular performances by the NZSO, and Wellington’s International Festival of the Arts, and jazz, and the many cultural communities in Wellington, to buskers on Cuba Street
  • explore the resources of the Universities: Massey and Victoria (including Te Herenga Waka Marae); and make your own discoveries in the National Library, National Archives and Te Papa
  • learn to perform music from traditions of Māori waiata, Pacific Island music, or the Javanese and Balinese gamelan (two percussion orchestras of South-east Asia), or explore other regular performance opportunities in the School
  • undertake undergraduate study in music through the options of the BMus degree or the BA degree based on your needs and interests
  • undertake music study through options of a defined pathway (in musicology, ethnomusicology or jazz studies), or through a pathway that suits your musical interests (without specialisation), or as elective courses
  • undertake postgraduate study through a variety of qualifications
  • obtain work in organisations such as Radio New Zealand, NZSO, Chamber Music NZ.

Specialisation of study

The full range of qualifications from the Bachelor of Music, or as part of a Bachelor of Arts to the PhD is offered with a concentration in music studies. At undergraduate level Bachelor of Music, NZSM offers four specialisations in the music studies programme:

  • Without specilisation
  • Musicology
  • Ethnomusicology
  • Jazz Studies.

Each specialisation provides you with the opportunity to develop your unique music interests and talents. Your Music Studies programme of study is tailored to suit the individual requirements of your chosen area of specialisation.

Without specialisation

Study a broad range of courses from within the School's offerings without particular specialisation in any one area. Areas include performance, composition, sonic arts, musicology, ethnomusicology and jazz studies.


Study European art music from the Middle Ages to the music of today, approached from a range of historical, critical, sociological, philosophical, and analytical perspectives. The NZSM offers study of a diversity of musics, with an emphasis on 18th, 19th, and 20th century music, as well as contemporary art music, orchestral, opera, film and popular music.


Study music in its cultural contexts from global and local perspectives and as an integral component of human life. The School offers academic and performance study in a wide variety of global musics, with emphasis on Māori and New Zealand, Pacific Island, and Asian musics, and study in indigenous, traditional, art, and popular music.

Jazz Studies

Study jazz as a style of music and as an art form, examining its social and cultural contexts together with understanding and analysing jazz idioms.

Take a look at some recent Music Studies photos from our Flickr pages.


Here you can find a list of all Music Studies staff currently teaching at NZSM.