STUDY JAZZ COMPOSITION
AT THE NEW ZEALAND SCHOOL OF MUSIC
Victoria University OF WELLINGTON
All successful jazz musicians are composers on some level. Everyone writes their own tunes. Others become composers of music for larger jazz ensembles, studio orchestras, electroacoustic music, film work, and contemporary composition in many other areas. Jazz composition courses at the NZSM give students a fundamental set of skills in jazz composition and arranging, while creating a substantial, practical portfolio of new music for ensembles of various sizes and instrumentation. Undergraduate students who complete these courses have the option to pursue degrees in jazz composition at the Honours, Master’s and Doctoral level.
All offers of Wellington Doctoral Scholarships consist of a NZD $27,500 annual stipend plus full domestic tuition fees for up to three years.
(For the PhD, the "domestic" tuition is the same amount regardless of the citizenship of the student, so the scholarship covers all fees. The DMA isn't funded to the same extent for foreign students so the international fees aren't covered by the scholarship. For this reason it usually makes sense for foreign students to opt for the PhD.)
The Master's scholarship comprises a $15,000 tax free stipend, plus tuition fees for one year (domestic fees only).
HONOUR'S IN JAZZ COMPOSITION
The Honour's year follows your three year undergraduate music degree. Jazz students interested in composition usually choose courses in jazz composition (NZSM 401 and 402) as 25% or 50% of their degree programme. Contact: for details and permissions.
UNDERGRADUATE JAZZ COMPOSITION MINOR
The New Zealand School of Music offers an undergraduate degree in Music Composition, a substantial amount of which can be jazz composition. For jazz musicians, I usually encourage students to complete the jazz performance degree and take the numerous jazz theory and composition/arranging courses offered through that programme.
For undergrad students interested in more jazz composition options, a new undergraduate minor has been created for composition and a specialized version of this minor for jazz composers includes the following four classes. Contact: for details and permissions.
Jazz students complete a portfolio of original tunes for small jazz ensemble.
Composing/Arranging for Small Ensembles (Classical/Jazz)
Jazz students complete two works for jazz octet: one composition and one arrangement.
Advanced Techniques in Instrumental/Vocal Composition
Jazz students complete a portfolio of original tunes for ensemble(s) of their choosing.
Composing/Arranging for Large Ensembles (Classical/Jazz)
Jazz students complete two jazz orchestra works: one composition and one arrangement.