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New UCOL programme supports Wairarapa music scene

29 November 2011

New UCOL programme supports Wairarapa music scene

UCOL Wairarapa expects strong support from the Wairarapa music scene for its new Contemporary Music Performance programme, on offer for next year.

It is the first time a professional music qualification has been available at UCOL Wairarapa but Campus Manager Angela Hewitt says the programme can only go ahead if enough students enrol. “It has a strong practical component and involves students forming bands. It needs a reasonable number of enrolments to work as a study programme,” she says.

Programme Leader Kane Parsons, who heads the Contemporary Music programme from UCOL in Palmerston North, says the 34 week programme is based on the highly successful certificate offered by the Auckland based Music + Audio Institute of New Zealand or MAINZ.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for musicians who already have some proficiency in singing or playing an instrument to improve their performance and learn new skills. We are big on live performance. Students form bands and are trained to perform in eight different styles during the year. There will be regular band rehearsals, 13 hours per week of classroom tuition and practical tuition and practical tutorials covering music theory, composition, and in arranging music.

“Students will also go out into the Wairarapa community for live performances, giving them an opportunity to get valuable experience in public and adding colour to the local community as well.”

The programme’s tutors will include musicians from the Wairarapa: including well-known local musician Pat McKenna. Students will use facilities at Paddi Addison’s The Mobile Studio in Carterton.

The aim is to prepare graduates to work in the music industry: Kane says most students who completed the Palmerston North programme went on to further study or to form their own bands or take up positions in the industry, in New Zealand or offshore. “For example, two are now on a contract, playing music in Kuwait.”

He says the timing is right for the new programme. “The success of Kiwi musicians over the last few years; Lady Hawke, Tiki Taane, Liam Finn, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Kora, the Datsuns, Smoky Feel, to name a few, allows people to see it’s now a viable career. You can make a living as a professional musician.”

He says the Wairarapa is a great place to run a serious Contemporary Music programme. “The music scene here is vibrant and very active. The local fraternity includes performers such as Ladyhawke, Barrie Saunders from the Warratahs, industry technicians such as Paddi Addison (who worked with Pink Floyd and Beastie Boys), Lenny Tuwhare and Phil Randall (session musicians across Australia and America, for the likes of BB King). The summer season is particularly active, with summer concerts and festivals, including concerts at Te Kairanga vineyard, Toast Martinborough with bands at each participating vineyard, the Wairarapa Wines Harvest Festival at The Cliffs, Carterton and the Summer Hummer and Summer Heat multi-band concerts at Colin Pugh Sport Bowl.”

There is also a large number of local bands performing at venues like The Lounge, Strada Café, the Left Bank and Tin Hut and several music clubs such as the Blues Club and Folk Music Club.

Kane says music is also a strong part of secondary schools in Wairarapa. “Facilities at Wairarapa College include a sound studio as well as music facilities as part of their recently completed hall. Rathkeale College has a large auditorium which the community is able to access for performances. Every secondary school in the region takes part in the annual battle of the bands, with most entering multiple bands.”

As well as the music, the Contemporary Music Performance programme is rounded off with study in running a small business, computing, tikanga Maori and advice on how to succeed in the industry, including via online outlets like I-Tunes.


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