Music Curricular

The Music Department delivers balanced programmes of study across performance, composition, research and analysis with the aim of producing musicians who can walk the walk and talk the talk, are respected for their knowledge and talents, and who respect others for their skills. Tertiary institutions and employers from a variety of industries are keen to take on those who have included music in their NCEA studies as they acknowledge the individual determination, diligence, trust, teamwork and mutual respect music develops.

Christopher Wilson
Director of Music

The Junior Music Programme

The Junior Music Programme covers the nuts and bolts of music through mostly practical and digital learning. Students develop keyboard skills as well on their chosen instruments, as soloists, in small groups and as a whole class band. Students use computers – particularly the Sibelius notation program – to compose short pieces in a number of styles such as Rocket Launch, Freestyle and 8-bar Rock Piece.

As part of a wider Arts delivery, Drama is also taught for one of the five Year 9 Option Music lessons. It is delivered in accordance with Level 4 of the National Curriculum and is mostly held in the Performing Arts Hall. The programme identifies and strengthens each boy’s personality, where everyone is equal, positively contributes and develops confidence and mutual respect. Year 10 continue developing performance skills and compose longer and more advanced pieces including song-writing. Year 10 is supported by the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music system to understand chords, terminology and how notes work together. This has proven to accelerate students as composers and players and they can then sit the ABRSM examination and receive certification from this internationally-renowned organisation.

The Junior School Gig is an informal concert whereby our burgeoning musos perform – possibly for the first time – where we feature our Junior Band, Guitar and String groups, soloists and self-led bands. Altogether, the Junior Programme complements and contributes to the traits of the St. John’s young man.

The Senior Music Programme

  • In Year 11, students compose a rock-pop instrumental piece and an imaginative dramatic piece as well as perform solo and group pieces. Most exciting is the Level 2 Music Technology course where we have some sessions in a recording studio and follow-up sessions with the sound engineer at school.
  • In Year 12, students choose either performing or non-performing programmes within Year 12 Music Course. Composition is an ‘instrumentation’ whereby they assign the music from a piece (most popular choice being Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody!) to a new group of players. Students research an aspect of New Zealand music and from year 12, students can also continue the ABRSM grades and take Score reading and Aural externals as optional extras.
  • In Year 13, the Senior Music Programme allows more autonomy for students’ composition, arranging, performance and research topics. Students can elect to study academic music without performing, focussing on credits for composition, research and analysis.


All examination standards are internally-assessed. See the NCEA Achievement Standards : Music Matrix below