About the School of Music

The School of Music is highly regarded nationally and internationally for its specialist facilities and high-calibre music educators.

School of Music courtyard.
Photo: Patrick Reynolds


Although the then Auckland University College had offered academic music courses since 1888, it wasn't until 1956 that the College established a proper music school by introducing a qualification for performing musicians, the "Executant Diploma Course" – a first for New Zealand universities. At this time the Department of Music was "temporarily" housed in a corrugated iron building on the site now known as the Barracks Wall Green. Then in 1969 the department moved, again "temporarily",  into Pembridge, at 31 Princes Street. The "permanent" School of Music building, which had been in discussion since the late 60s, was finally built in 1986 on a small site and a tight budget by Hill Manning Mitchell Architects. Described  by the judges as an "inventive and joyful work of architecture that... continues to communicate a sense of delight", the building was awarded the Enduring Architecture Award 2013.

Inspire Partnership Programme 

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and University of Auckland School of Music work together to enhance and nurture aspiring young musicians through:

  • Linking young musicians with professional mentors.
  • Providing fellowships, internships and scholarships for young artists.
  • Hosting masterclasses with visiting APO international artists, and holding open rehearsals to develop in-depth understanding of the music-making process through observation of professional artists at work.
  • Providing concert attendance opportunities at low-cost which motivate and inspire.
  • Creating performance opportunities for young musicians and composers. 

APO programmes to develop young talent

The Pettman National Junior Academy of Music (PNJA)

The PNJA has recently become an important adjunct to the School of Music. This unique programme offers young New Zealand musicians the chance to work with university teachers, gain experience in both solo and ensemble performance and improve their musicianship and choir skills. Through the generous sponsorship of the late Professor Barrie and Mrs Maureen Pettman, the Academy offers 45 scholarship places annually, each of which is valued at $4000. In addition, it offers a preliminary programme in which students continue to learn from their existing teachers and are offered an additional monthly lesson with one of the distinguished team of PNJA teachers.

PNJA students have been highly successful in both national and international competitions, winning prizes at the Brahms Competition (Austria), the Padova Competition (Italy), the Viotti Competition (Italy), the Kocian Competition (Czech Republic) and others.

Former PNJA students are now studying at institutions such as the Juilliard School, the Royal Academy of Music, the Royal College of Music and the Hochschulen Hannover, Detmold, Berlin and Freiburg.

Read more on the Pettman's website

Facilities and resources

The School of Music has a number of teaching and rehearsal spaces and several well-equipped composition and recording studios at its main Symonds Street building. Additional studios, practice spaces and recording facilities are located at the Kenneth Myers Centre (KMC) on Shortland Street. KMC is used for the teaching and learning of jazz, popular music, sound and dance, and also houses the Gus Fisher Gallery, creating exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

The 155-seat Music Theatre, which has excellent acoustics and a sophisticated lighting system, can be used as a performance space for dramatic productions, music lectures, concerts and rehearsals.

The Music and Dance Library, located in the main School of Music building, houses a wide selection of audio-visual material and international music journals. The emphasis is on western art music since the Middle Ages and, to a lesser extent, ethnomusicology, jazz and popular music.

Visit the Music and Dance Library
Online student resources
Map of Creative Arts and Industries