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Certificate in Contemporary Music Performance

Level 4

Love music? It could be your career. Have you thought about strengthening your skills with UCOL’s Certificate in Contemporary Music?

Music student plays a guitar in a class at UCOL
Quick info

Level: 4

Locations: Palmerston North, Whanganui

Duration: 1 year, full-time (part-time study options are available)

19 Feb 2018 - 30 Nov 2018

Domestic Fees:*
$6,275.00Scholarship info

Find out if you're eligible for fees-free study

International Fees:*
Please enquire.

Additional Fees
Compulsory course costs may apply.

* Fees are indicative only, and are inclusive of the student services levy and GST (goods and services tax). The fee shown is for one year of study.

If you are a drummer, a keyboard player or a bass player or have other musical talents such as guitar or vocals, this music course might be the qualification you need to give your career a boost. 

You will develop your individual and band performance across many popular music styles and you’ll gain skills in live sound and recording, theory, song writing/composition and music management.

New Zealand Certificate in Contemporary Music students love nothing more than a jam session. Here's a little 30 second snapshot of the class of 2017 performing:


 Career & Study Outcomes

Successful graduates of UCOL's Certificate in Contemporary Music Performance have a good understanding of the music industry and the business of music, and are able to demonstrate proficiency in:

  • Their specialist instrument 
  • Performing within an instrumental ensemble to an industry standard 
  • Music theory, analysis and technology to communicate musical ideas
  • Composing and performing original music

Possible career options include:

  • Musician
  • Singer
  • Songwriter
  • Sound engineering
  • Teaching
  • Band management
  • Event management
To find out more about possible job prospects and salaries, see Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment's Occupation Outlook for Performing Artists and Film, TV and Music Technicians.

Education pathway

Graduates who wish to further specialise can enrol in:

 Course Information

Music Knowledge 1 (21 credits)
Gain an understanding of music concepts including written musical notation, pitch, rhythm and harmony.

Music Knowledge 2 (15 credits)
Build on the skills and knowledge from Music Knowledge 1 so that you will have the skills and knowledge to analyse music styles and to compose music in a range of styles.

Music Performance 1 (20 credits)
Gain the skills to perform before a live audience on a chosen instrument.

Music Performance 2 (24 credits)
Build on the performance skills from Music Performance 1 so that you are able to perform a variety of songs as part of a band, in a variety of musical styles.

Music Technology (24 credits)
Gain knowledge related to the technological aspects of sound.

Working in Music (10 credits)
Gain the skills and knowledge required to work in the music industry.

Communications (6 credits)
Gain skills in effective communication including oral, written, electronic and multicultural.

 Industry Connections

Throughout this course you will be performing in different environments from UCOL to a range of venues throughout the Manawatu, Whanganui and Wairarapa districts. Our lecturers are of the top calibre, playing with bands all over New Zealand and the world.

 Learning Facilities

UCOL has rehearsal rooms, computer mac suite for composing and theory along with classrooms where we relax and learn. Recording facilities on all campuses, with the centralised recording studio on the Palmerston North campus where the mastering suite is located. All students have opportunities to compose and record their music.

 Domestic Entry Requirements

You must be able to play a musical instrument and/or sing confidently and competently in front of others. 

NCEA Level 1 or equivalent.


For more information about NCEA Credits see UCOL's NCEA explained page.

 International Entry Requirements

In addition to the Domestic Entry Requirements, the following applies to international student applicants.

English language proficiency
International student applicants whose first language is not English must have a General or Academic IELTS score of 5.5 with no band score lower than 5. (or equivalent including TOEFL)  UCOL is a TOEFL iBT testing centre

Under 20 years of age
For international applicants under 20 years of age who do not hold NCEA, International Academic Qualifications Entry Criteria apply.

 Advice & Guidance

UCOL's Certificate in Contemporary Music Performance comprises 120 credits.

Application checklist
It will make the process easier if you prepare the following before you apply:

  • National Student Number (NSN) (If you don't have a NSN, you may request one from NZQA, or you can supply a verified copy of your birth certificate, passport or Whakapapa statement.)
  • Evidence of your highest level of academic achievement (and evidence of prior learning, if applicable)
  • Evidence that you meet the entry requirements of the programme
  • Check if you're eligible for additional support or a scholarship. If you're 19 years or younger, you may be eligible to enrol in one of our free Youth Transition programmes.

Note that you will need to provide any verified documents in person, via post or email.

Recognition of prior learning
Applications for Recognition of Prior Learning, including Cross Credit, Credit Transfer and Assessment of Prior Learning may be made on the Recognition of Prior Learning Form where a student believes all learning outcomes for a course or unit standards have already been met.


The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under the provisions of the Education Act 1989, and Universal College of Learning (UCOL) Trading as Universal College of Learning (UCOL) is accredited to teach it.