Popular Music major

Pop Music major


The Popular Music major is designed for aspiring songwriters and popular music performers looking to expand their songwriting, music technology and performance skills and provides a sound understanding of ways to effectively engage with the popular music industry. This major offers a unique opportunity to interact with a network of fellow student songwriters and performers, and collaborate with the talented instrumentalists studying in the jazz major. This close-knit network of fellow students will potentially go on to become your future professional musical collaborators, band members and studio engineers. 

During the degree you will compose, record and perform as a solo artist, lead your own bands and ensembles while supporting your fellow students’ musical projects. You will perform regularly at concerts held at the historic Kenneth Myers Centre, formerly Auckland’s principal radio and television studios and at other public popular music venues in the city.


Performance teachers

We understand that decisions about where to study music are often based upon the calibre of the teachers and the teacher-student relationship. You can review our available instrument and performance teachers by discipline here. You are invited to contact staff directly with any queries you may have. If your desired instrument is not listed please, contact us.

Student profile

Shana has just completed a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Commerce conjoint degree.
Shana Llorando

"I really enjoy our performance classes and being able to play new songs and receive constructive feedback from other creatives. It's a great way to test out new material in a positive environment, and be inspired by the songs of other students. 

"Becoming a professional music artist and travelling the world with my songs - that's my career goal. Being taught by renowned lecturers in an internationally-acclaimed University has been a great first step."

Shana has just completed a Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Commerce conjoint degree. You can find out more about her on Facebook and Soundcloud

Degree structure

What you'll be studying

In the first year you will compose, perform and record songs on a weekly basis, have one-on-one instrumental lessons, study music technology, arranging, vocal performance and music notation, theory and history. In the second year you will continue to add to your skills with the goal of establishing your own distinctive creative process and style. The third year offers an opportunity to concentrate on advancing either your music technology and music production skills, or your performance skills, while still composing and performing as a songwriter. Each student finishes their degree with the creation of a significant portfolio of their final creative work and a major public concert.

You will also take two General Education courses offered by other faculties from across the University to acquire a broader range of skills and understanding, and be exposed to cross-disciplinary research.

You can download a degree planner below, which outlines your course content and programme structure in more detail. You can also find course prescriptions in the University Calendar

If you are planning to undertake a conjoint programme, these course planners below outline the structure of each degree:

Further study

The BMus, and associated conjoint programmes, lead into further study options at the School of Music. Our postgraduate degree programmes encourage initiative, critical analysis and independent thought about music in social, cultural and academic contexts as well as creative excellence. 

Research programmes
Master of Music (MMus)
Doctor of Music (DMus)
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Taught programmes

Bachelor of Music (Honours) (BMus(Hons))
Postgraduate Diploma in Music (PGDipMus)
Graduate Diploma in Music (GradDipMus)

How to apply

For rank score and grade point requirements for the BMus and associated conjoints, please refer to the entry requirements tab on the following programme page Bachelor of Music

All applicants are required to submit an audition portfolio via the online portal system SlideRoom. Selection will be based on the combined strength of your academic achievement, audition and statement of musical background. Your portfolio will consist of typed lyric sheets, a statement of musical background, a referee contact email address and video performances of your audition. You can choose to attend an in-person live audition (you will be contacted once you have completed your SlideRoom submission). 

Your referee should be your current instrumental/music teacher who can comment on your musical work and suitability for study. 

Your video performances must adhere to the following:

  • Show yourself as the principal singer AND instrumentalist – you must sing AND play either guitar or piano/keyboard on ALL songs.
  • Perform two original songs which were written and composed by you during the last two years. Covers will not be accepted.
  • Upload your performances as two separate files or Youtube / Vimeo videos.
  • Each file must be 3 - 5 minutes in duration.
  • Recorded in one take and be unedited and/or unmodified.
  • If uploading recordings, then each file must be no greater than 500MB and in one of the following formats: .mov (QuickTime), .wmv (Windows Media Player), .mp4, or .m4v files.
  • If submitting Youtube / Vimeo video links, then these must be set to public and you must not delete these files.
  • You must review your recordings before uploading them to ensure that they are of good quality, clearly audible, and represent your best work to date.
  • Choose songs which demonstrate your proficiency and overall musicianship; that highlight what you feel best represents your present standard of playing.


Your typed lyric sheets must adhere to the following:

  • A4 sheets, saved as one single pdf file for uploading
  • Simple chord chart for both of your songs.
  • Choral changes and structure can be written or typed on your A4 typed lyric sheets.
  • Chart every bar in the song and use headings such as "VERSE", "CHORUS", and "BRIDGE" or as appropriate at the start of each section.

(If you are successful and offered a place, then a musicianship test will be required.  This will determine if we recommend for you to begin study with MUS 100 – Basic Musical Techniques in Summer School)


Get in touch

Creative Arts and Industries Student Centre

Level 2, Building 421
(Architecture and Planning Building)
26 Symonds St
Open Monday-Friday, 9am-5pm
Email: info-creative@auckland.ac.nz