Undergraduate study in Creative Practice: Popular Music

What can you study in the Creative Practice: Popular Music specialisation?

In the first year you will compose, perform and record songs on a weekly basis, have one-on-one instrumental lessons, study music technology and production, 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.

All School of Music students have access to auxiliary performance studies. You will also study other topics of interest to you, including music education, pedagogy, music technology, conducting, music studies, musicians’ health and various industry-related topics.

The core courses of the BMus degree include music theory and other music studies subjects. 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.

General Education

Entry requirements for Bachelor of Music in Creative Practice: Popular Music

You must meet the entry requirements for a Bachelor of Music, detailed on the BMus programme page.

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 and audition portfolio. Your portfolio will consist of typed lyric sheets, a statement of musical background, a referee contact email address and your video performance audition, or live in-person audition. 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 that 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 that 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.

You can choose to attend an in-person live audition if you wish, and you will be asked to identify this as part of your SlideRoom submission (you will be contacted once you have completed your SlideRoom submission): Bachelor of Music – Creative Practice: Popular Music live audition guidelines.


Structuring your undergraduate programme


  • 4 x core courses
  • 3 x specialised theory and musicianship courses
  • 9 x creative practice courses
  • 6 x elective courses
  • 2 x General Education courses

2019 Bachelor of Music - Creative Practice: Popular Music degree requirements:

* 60 points from: MUS 104, 143, 243, 343

* 45 points from: MUS 284, 287, 288

* 135 points from: MUS 180, 181, 196, 280, 281, 282, 380, 381, 382

* 60 points from: MUS 103 - 188, 206 - 288, 306 - 389

* 30 points from: ANTHRO 103, 106, 202, 217, 234, 301, 327, 329, 357, MAORI 190, MUS 103-397, PACIFIC 110

* 30 points of General Education

You can also find degree structure information in the University Calendar.


See a list of courses available within the Bachelor of Music, including those for Creative Practice: Popular Music:

Music courses 2019.

Help and advice

You are welcome to email or visit our Student Centre with any subject-related queries.

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