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Bachelor of Media Arts (Commercial Music)


  • Semester 1 starts February 2018
  • Semester 2 starts July 2018
  • Winter School starts June 2018
  • Duration - 3 years full-time or part-time equivalent
  • Fee Guideline -$6,978* per year + material costs. (International students: Please click here for fee information)
  • Campus - City Campus, Hamilton

If you are seeking a career in commercial music then Wintec's Bachelor of Media Arts (Commercial Music) is an exciting and innovative programme relevant to song writing / composition, music production and performance.

The Commercial Music endorsement of the Bachelor of Media Arts is for you if you wish to focus on the composition or production of music. A feature of this programme is the industry based projects which give students commercial practical experience.

Music students have 24 hour access to six recording studios, including a fully equipped Pro Tools HD system with, a Control 24 mixing console, and 25 digital audio workstations. Under the Media Arts umbrella you will have the opportunity to undertake collaborative projects with arts and media students in disciplines such as moving image, graphic design, photography, painting / sculpture, journalism and public relations / advertising. Your projects will involve; sound for film, installations, television and radio advertising.

Programme Content

In your first year you will study:

  • Harmony
  • Ear training
  • Notation
  • Songwriting
  • Music Technology
  • Contemporary Issues in Music
  • Communication Skills

    In your second and third years, you will choose to specialise in one of the following:
  • Songwriting
    You'll write your own lyrics and melodies, record your own songs, and perform them or have them performer in-house or at community or corporate events.
    • Music Production
      You'll work at an industry-standard digital audio workstation in a studio classroom, and become familiar with Pro Tools and LogicPro audio software, Sibelius notation writing software as well as associated hardware
    • Contemporary Music Performance
      You'll perform solo and in ensembles, as well as working in interdisciplinary areas such as songwriting, music composition and other media arts. You'll have the opportunity of an internship, working at live sound events or working with bands and artists from New Zealand and overseas.

      Further electives are available from across the Media Arts programme, regardless of your endorsement of entry. For example, you may wish to specialise in music production, but do a number of moving image electives. The BMA structure is designed to let you maintain an interest in a number of disciplines.

In Harmony For Your Future

For various projects, you will join with other students in other programmes such as Moving Image, Graphic Design, Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising, Painting, Sculpture and Photography. It's an exhilarating way to learn, and your projects could involve sound for film, installations, and television or radio advertising.


During SPARK, Wintec's annual week-long festival of media, arts and design, a range of world class professionals in art, design, music, writing and more gather to engage, educate, and inspire students. You'll gain valuable insights into the professional world and how it works.

Career Opportunities

The Bachelor of Media Arts may lead to employment as a Musician, Audio Engineer, Songwriter, Sound Designer, Composer or Music Producer.

Entry Criteria

NCEA Level 3 comprised of 60 credits at NCEA Level 3 or above and 20 credits at NCEA Level 2 or above, including:

  • 14 credits each at NCEA Level 3 in three approved subjects including a Language Rich* subject; and
  • Literacy (10 credits at NCEA Level 2 or above made up of 5 credits each in reading and writing);
  • Numeracy (10 credits at NCEA Level 1 or above)
  • Or 60 credits at NCEA Level 2 in four subjects including 12 credits in a Language Rich* subject, or equivalent;
  • Or a total score of 16 or less in four Sixth Form Certificate subjects including a Language Rich* subject, or equivalent;
  • Or New Zealand University entrance or equivalent.

*(History, Classics, Media Studies or English)

In addition, for admission into the Commercial Music endorsement's songwriting and music production pathways, candidates will:

  • Have gained grade three music theory, or
  • A music theory test as determined by the School, and
  • Will submit a portfolio of work as specified below, and
  • If shortlisted, may be required to participate in an interview

For admission into the Commercial Music endorsement's Contemporary Music Performance pathway, candidates will:

  • Have gained grade 6 Practical Trinity College London, Royal School of Music London, Rock School London, or
  • Attend an audition to demonstrate equivalent skills and abilities in instrumental performance.

Candidates who have English as a second language are required to have an International English Language Test Score (IELTS) of 6.0 across all bands.

Special admission may be granted to candidates aged 20 years or over who do not meet the specified entry requirements. These candidates may be required to demonstrate an ability to successfully complete the programme through a process of an interview and / or assessment.

If you do not meet these requirements see the Certificate in Media Arts (Level 4).

Download the full programme regulations:

Your Portfolio

Your portfolio of work must include an audition CD, USB drive or internet link containing two songs of no more than two minutes duration:

  • 1x standard or cover version of a well-known song
  • 1x original work

Note: Please indicate what instrument(s) you are playing. The work can be a simple "home" recording. 

You must include a one page Curriculum Vitae:

  • This should outline your musical background, including a reference from a private music tutor stating your practical theory knowledge and ability to read music.

You must include a 300 word essay stating why you wish to be accepted on to the Commercial Music programme:

  • This work should include your career goals, former musical experience and what you want to achieve through study. You could mention industry professionals you look up to, genres of music you're interested in and your chosen instrument or area of musical strength (i.e., composition, production and/or performance).

Note: Please submit work on A4 sheets. Please put your name on each piece of work, including the USB/CD.

Check what documents are required to enrol in this programme.

​​​About the Faculty

This programme is offered by the School of Media Arts who provide innovative, interdisciplinary education that prepares students for careers in the creative industries.

Experienced staff and state-of-the-art facilities help you develop a unique range of skills and the ability to apply them in the professional world. Check out examples of student work, some of our successful graduates, Media Arts' Industry connections, all the latest news and events, and more.

Find Out More

Learn From the Experts



With more than 40 years involvement in music and theatre as musical director, composer, orchestrator/arranger and pianist in a broad range of musicals, it is no wonder David Sidwell has become one of the country's most highly acclaimed directors of musical productions.

As an accomplished pianist, David has worked with numerous New Zealand recording artists and featured as the pianist for the New Zealand Film Archive touring road shows. His work as arranger and orchestrator has taken him throughout New Zealand, Australia, and the USA.

As a composer, David's composition, Recuerde el Pasado, had its world premiere in Kazan, Russia at the "Muz-Tranzit" festival, 2007. His work Conversation Between Theremin & Soprano premiered in August 2011, featuring Lydia Kavina (Theremin) and Pamela Wallace (Soprano) and more recently in Kazan at the International conference "Galeyev Readings", Kazan Tupolev National Reseach Technical University.

Having recently completed the soundtrack for Yaniv Saves the World, a documentary film, David is currently composing a musical based on the short stories of the Russian author Nikolai Gogol. A concert workshop performance of this is scheduled for August at SPARK - Wintec's School of Media Arts, Arts Festival.

In his early career as Musical Director, some of David's many productions included Godspell, Jesus Christ Superstar, Chicago, Evita, Annie, Hello Dolly!, Nunsense I & II, Juke Box, A Chorus Line, Les Misérables, Gypsy and Caught in the Act (with Tina Cross).

With the support of musical theatre giants Bobbie Alderton and Robert Young, David made the ambitious move to Director. His many successful productions include; My Fair Lady, Hair, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Mack and Mabel, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Chess - the musical, Big - the musical, Jesus Christ Superstar, 70, Girls, 70, Les Misérables, Tell Me On A Sunday, Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Fame, Seussical, Blood Brothers, Godspell, Little Shop of Horrors, Crazy For You, Forbidden Broadway, AIDA, Hairspray, the 'audience participation' version of The Sound of Music, a 'new experience' Grease and the sensational Hamilton seasons of The Rocky Horror Show, CATS! and OLIVER starring Richard O'Brien as Fagin.

Working professionally with theatre groups in Australasia, David has had rewarding seasons as Director for Andrew Lloyd Webber & Friends (Gold Coast & New Zealand), Westend to Broadway with Wellington Musical Theatre and the Wellington Sinfonia, Tell Me On A Sunday (Circa Theatre), the critically acclaimed Wellington productions of West Side Story and Phantasmic and the New Zealand premiers of The Secret Garden, Big - the musical, The Full Monty and High School Musical.

David manages the Postgraduate and Music Department in the School of Media Arts at Wintec. David's 2014 production schedule will see him direct Broadway on the Boardwalk for the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, Phantom of The Opera!,Pippin (for St Peter's School) and AIDA for Rotorua Boy's and Girl's High Schools, whilst also carrying out preliminary research and preparation for MAMMA MIA, 2014. Alongside these full-scale productions David will direct the entertainment for numerous community events. 

Come on tour with us!

Book a tour and learn more about Wintec's School of Media Arts

Application Process

  1. Check that you meet the entry criteria
  2. Submit your application to enrol form as well as:
    • a verified copy of your academic results
    • a 250 word personal statement outlining why you would like to study the programme
    • a character reference from someone (not related to you or living with you) who knows you well, stating your suitability for your chosen field of study
    • a one page curriculum vitae (CV) - click here for an example of how to build a CV
    • a portfolio of your work - more info here about building a portfolio
    • an essay of approximately 400 words analysing your submitted work, including the successful aspects, where your ideas came from, how you developed them and how you might develop them in the future. We are particularly looking for your ability to engage critically with a wider visual culture, and your understanding of where your work 'fits' in the wide range of art and design practices in the world. This may include art, but you might also like to refer to movies, magazines, online work etc.
  3. Receive acknowledgement of your application
  4. Application assessed by the Bachelor of Media Arts review panel
  5. Interview with one of our tutors - This is an opportunity to review your study plans and discuss opportunities within the School. You may be asked to write a short essay on a current event at your interview
  6. Application outcome - You will receive a letter advising you of the outcome of your application
  7. Confirmation of entry - Letter confirming placement to be returned to the School

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