Bachelor of Commercial Music – BCommMus

Radical shifts are happening in the global music industry. Learn how to perform, promote and produce the music of tomorrow, from leading New Zealand artists and industry specialists, in the Bachelor of Commercial Music.

Type of qualification

Bachelor's degree

Level of study

Undergraduate study

An undergraduate qualification is usually the first one you study.

NZQF level 7

Our courses follow the New Zealand Qualification Framework (NZQF) levels.

Find out more about NZQF levels

Time to complete

3 year(s) full-time (360 credits)
Up to 8 years part-time
Part-time available

International students

International students are not New Zealand citizens or residents.

Definition of New Zealand citizens and residents

Open to international students on campus in New Zealand

Study a Bachelor of Commercial Music – BCommMus

Note: This qualification may have an on-campus or in-person requirement and therefore requires that students submit a current My Vaccine Pass on enrolment.

In the Bachelor of Commercial Music, you will:

  • think critically about the music industry and where you want to position yourself
  • work collaboratively on a wide range of music events and experiences
  • become proficient with industry-standard production tools.

The degree has three majors: Music Practice, Music Technology, and Music Industry, so you can choose whether you want to make and perform new music, engineer live and studio sound as well as design new music technology, or immerse yourself in the business of the music industry.

Commercial Music has a strong emphasis on popular music genres and new technology and methods. You’ll consider the role of streaming and digital media in the music industry and explore how to disrupt and operate outside of traditional business models.

Alongside the core courses in your major, you’ll work with students from across the qualification to learn music content creation, online and media skills, organise and produce music events and experiences, and make and release recordings.

The critical content of the qualification spans new musicology, the political economy of music, and music philosophy. 

Learn from people who know the music industry

All our commercial music lecturers are active in the industry. They perform, record, tour, produce and manage successful music ventures in New Zealand and internationally.

Master your craft in world-class facilities

The purpose-built facilities at Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts are some of the best in the Southern Hemisphere. You’ll master industry-standard software and hardware, including recording and production methods, in world-class recording studios and rehearsal spaces.

Further study

Extend your study with postgraduate research in the Bachelor of Commercial Music (Honours), or take a creative product or idea to market in the Master of Creative Enterprise. Or, develop your own creative practice in a Master of Fine Arts.

A BCommMus is a good fit if you:

  • love creating new music and music technologies
  • want hands-on experience in high-tech production facilities
  • want to graduate with a portfolio of projects including music recording, distribution, live events and music media.

Entry requirements

Admission to Massey

All students must meet university entrance requirements to be admitted to the University.

Specific requirements

There are no specific entry requirements for the Bachelor of Commercial Music, outside of university admission regulations.

However for the Bachelor of Commercial Music (Music Practice) you must register for an audition. You should apply for entry to this degree before registering for your audition and you will be assessed for selection into the qualification. 

We also recommend you join us for a consultation if you’re applying for Music Technology or Music Industry, to make sure it’s right for you.

Due dates

Note that application dates vary per major:

Music Practice

  • 31 January 2022 for February 2022 (Semester 1) start.  Late applications may be accepted, subject to available spaces.

English language requirements

To study this qualification you must meet Massey University's English language standards.

Prior learning, credit and exemptions

For information on prior learning, exemptions and transfer of credit or other questions:

English language skills

If you need help with your English language skills before you start university, see our English for Academic Purposes (EAP) courses.

Official regulations

To understand what you need to study and must complete to graduate read the official rules and regulations for this qualification.

You should read these together with all other relevant Statutes and Regulations of the University including the General Regulations for Postgraduate Degrees, Postgraduate Diplomas, and Postgraduate Certificates.

Returning students

For returning students, there may be changes to the majors and minors available and the courses you need to take. Go to the section called ‘Transitional Provisions’ in the Regulations to find out more.

In some cases the qualification or specialisation you enrolled in may no longer be taking new enrolments, so may not appear on these web pages. To find information on the regulations for these qualifications go to the Massey University Calendar.

Please contact us through the Get advice button on this page if you have any questions.

Structure of the Bachelor of Commercial Music

If you study full-time, in your first year, you’ll take eight 15-credit courses, making a total of 120 credits.

If you wish to study over two semesters, you should aim for 60 credits per semester. You may be able to take some courses at summer school. Make sure you include courses that are prerequisites for the next level of courses you wish to study.

More information: ‘Yellow Book’. 

Courses and specialisations

Key terms

Courses
Each qualification has its own specific set of courses. Some universities call these papers. You enrol in courses after you get accepted into Massey.
Course code
Each course is numbered using 6 digits. The fourth number shows the level of the course. For example, in course 219206, the fourth number is a 2, so it is a 200-level course (usually studied in the second year of full-time study).
Credits
Each course is worth a number of credits. You combine courses (credits) to meet the total number of credits needed for your qualification.
Specialisations
Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Credit summary

360 credits

  • Compulsory courses – 165 credits
  • Compulsory course selection – 15 credits
  • Major courses – 120 credits
  • Electives including at least 15 credits at 200 level or higher – 60 credits

Ensure that overall, you have:

  • Not more than 150 credits at 100 level
  • At least 105 credits at 300 level

Course planning key

Prerequisites
Courses that need to be completed before moving onto a course at the next level. For example, a lot of 200-level courses have 100-level prerequisite courses.
Corequisites
Courses that must be completed at the same time as another course are known as corequisite courses.
Restrictions
Some courses are restricted against each other because their content is similar. This means you can only choose one of the offered courses to study and credit to your qualification.

Schedule A: Core courses

Compulsory courses (Choose 165 credits from)

Choose 165 credits from
Course code: 133152 Music Media 1 15 credits

This course explores and develops creative and technical knowledge of industry standard content production tools and environments used in the production of music related media. Students explore basic music media analysis and apply theoretical concepts to the production of online music and video content.

Prerequisites: 30 credits from 1331XX Restrictions: 133155

View full course details
Course code: 133153 Music Project 1 30 credits

In this course students apply creative and practical skills to develop live experiences and works for the music industry. As well as develop technical expertise, students will explore social, cultural and economic trends associated within the production and dissemination of music in New Zealand and internationally. Multidisciplinary teams will apply creative narrative skills to develop, manage, produce and iterate musical content, technical production, and promotion.

Prerequisites: 30 credits from 1331XX Restrictions: 133156, 133158

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Course code: 133154 Contemporary Musicology 15 credits

In this course students are introduced to a number of established theoretical approaches and perspectives on contemporary musicology. Students are supported and encouraged to embark on an exploratory intellectual journey providing a context and critical framework for their practice and research.

Restrictions: 133255

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Course code: 133253 Music Project 2 30 credits

In this course students apply technical skills and new creative approaches for the development of strategic, sophisticated and unique experiences and works in the music industry. In addition to developing new technical skills, students will apply and critique social, cultural and economic roles and trends associated with the dissemination of unique musical experiences through their creative practice. Multidisciplinary teams will explore innovative creative narrative and communication skills to develop, manage, produce, and iterate musical content, technical production and promotion.

Prerequisites: 30 credits from 1332xx and 133153 or (133156 and 133158) Restrictions: 133254, 133258

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Course code: 133256 Music Media 2 15 credits

This course explores and applies technical and creative knowledge of industry standard content development tools and environments used in the production of music related media. Students explore advanced music media analysis tools and apply theoretical concepts, via a range of new and emerging technologies, to the production of interdisciplinary music, video, and multi-media content.

Prerequisites: 133152 or 133155

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Course code: 133257 Philosophical Perspectives on Creative Practice 15 credits

In this course students study a range of philosophical perspectives on the nature, purpose and value of creative work, exploring theoretical positions to develop cognitive tools for the analysis of their own practice and research. Students are enabled to develop strategies of collaboration and communication within group environments and to employ reflective and analytical approaches formed through philosophy and critical theory.

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Course code: 133350 Major Project Pre-Production 15 credits

In this course students generate and evaluate innovative concepts for a music major project and carry out detailed investigation into planning and resourcing requirements along with analysis of cultural, social and economic values of the proposed project. Students work individually and as a team in and across major specialisms to agree the scope and roles of the proposed project.

Prerequisites: 133253 or 133258 Restrictions: 133367 or 133377 or 133387

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Course code: 133355 Political Economy, Freeconomy and Community 15 credits

Students develop theoretical approaches to analyse and contextualise their Music Major Project as a cultural form in relation to society, economy, and technology. Through engaging with the political, economic, industrial, and cultural contexts of their music practice and research, students employ strategies of critical reflection and analysis.

Prerequisites: Both of 133257, 133154

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Course code: 133356 Graduate Portfolio Development 15 credits

In this course students prepare for progression to postgraduate study or transition to industry in the development of an online portfolio managing processes advantageous to their graduate progression. Students also develop creative and organisational approaches to devising a range of strategies in developing professional networks and progression opportunities.

Prerequisites: 60 credits from 1332xx

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Compulsory course selection (Choose 15 credits from)

Any 100-level Music (133 prefix) course

Schedule B: Specialisations

Majors

Some qualifications let you choose what subject you'd like to specialise in. Your major or endorsement is what you will take the majority of your courses in.

Completing a major is compulsory. A major requires 120 credits.

You will have specialist classes in your chosen major. You will also study a range of shared courses and collaborate each semester on external projects, for example:

  • staging a live show
  • staging and promoting a tour
  • developing media campaigns.

Find out more

Minors (Choose 60 credits from)

You may complete a minor by passing at least 60 credits from the schedule for one of the Bachelor of Commercial Music majors, including:

  • at least 45 credits above 100 level, and
  • at least 15 credits at 300 level.

Due to prerequisites you may need to complete more than 60 credits to complete your minor. If you’re interested in doing a minor you should contact us using the Get advice button on this page. Our student advice team will be able to talk you through your options and help you plan your degree.

  • Music Industry
  • Music Practice
  • Music Technology

Schedule C: Elective courses

Any other courses offered by the University and may include (Choose no more than 60 credits from)

Choose no more than 60 credits from
Course code: 133178 Introduction to Ableton Live 15 credits

Students will learn techniques for music production on the Albeton Live digital audio workstation and relevant music technologies. Students will gain basic technical and theoretical skills in music production via Ableton Live, as well as practical understanding of how Ableton Live is used in a range of musical applications and contexts.

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Course code: 133179 Vocal Performance and Production 15 credits

Learn the fundamentals of vocal techniques and production skills relevant to a broad range of styles. Students explore the basic anatomy of the voice, vocal health, and live skills alongside studio techniques and etiquette. The course does not require an audition or existing vocal training, and comprises lectures as well as practical group-based vocal and production workshops.

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Course code: 133190 Music Special Topic 15 credits

This course focuses on a particular aspect or aspects of music. Offerings change from year to year and the course may not be offered in a particular year.

Prerequisites: Appraisal Required

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Course code: 133191 Contemporary Music Project 1A 15 credits

Students will be introduced to producing a creative work that develops an understanding of creative, technical and conceptual approaches relevant to music.

Prerequisites: Permission Course Coordinator

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Course code: 133192 Contemporary Music Project 1B 15 credits

Students will be introduced to producing a creative work that develops an understanding of creative, technical and conceptual approaches relevant to music.

Prerequisites: Permission Course Coordinator

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Course code: 133277 Electronic Music 15 credits

In this course students develop a knowledge and understanding of the techniques used in the production and performance of electronic music, including synthesis, and the use of relevant software and analogue and digital hardware. Students are supported in the development of commercial and experimental outcomes via practical, creative and technical approaches.

Prerequisites: 133176 or 133177

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Course code: 133287 Applied Lighting and Visuals for Music 15 credits

In this course students develop advanced skills in lighting and audio-visual technologies for a broad range of creative musical applications. Students apply a theoretical understanding of the relationship between sound and image via the creative lighting and interactive visual technologies. Students are supported in the development of commercial and experimental audiovisual outcomes.

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Course code: 133290 Music Special Topic 15 credits

This course focuses on a particular aspect or aspects of music. Offerings change from year to year and the course may not be offered in a particular year.

Prerequisites: Appraisal Required

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Course code: 133291 Contemporary Music Project 2A 15 credits

Students will produce an applied creative work that develops an understanding of creative, technical and conceptual approaches relevant to music.

Prerequisites: Permission Course Coordinator

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Course code: 133292 Contemporary Music Project 2B 15 credits

Students will produce an applied creative work that develops an understanding of creative, technical and conceptual approaches relevant to music.

Prerequisites: Permission Course Coordinator

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Course code: 133390 Music Special Topic 15 credits

This course focuses on a particular aspect or aspects of music. Offerings change from year to year and the course may not be offered in a particular year.

Prerequisites: Appraisal Required

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Course code: 133391 Contemporary Music Project 3A 15 credits

Students will produce an advanced creative work that develops an understanding of creative, technical and conceptual approaches relevant to music.

Prerequisites: Permission Course Coordinator

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Fees and scholarships

Fees, student loans and free fees scheme

Your tuition fees may be different depending on the courses you choose. Your exact fees will show once you have chosen your courses.

There will also be some compulsory non-tuition fees and for some courses, there may also be charges for things such as study resources, software, trips and contact workshops.

Already know which courses you're going to choose?

You can view fees for the courses that make up your qualification on the course details pages.

Student loans (StudyLink) and Fees Free scheme

You may be eligible for a student loan to help towards paying your fees.

The New Zealand Government offers fees-free tertiary study for eligible domestic students. Find out more about the scheme and your eligibility on the Fees Free website. To use the site's eligibility checking tool, you will need your National Student Number.

Current and returning Massey students can find their National Student Number in the student portal.

Fees disclaimer

This information is for estimation purposes only. Actual fees payable will be finalised on confirmation of enrolment. Unless otherwise stated, all fees shown are quoted in New Zealand dollars and include Goods and Services Tax, if any. Before relying on any information on these pages you should also read the University's Disclaimer Notice.

Careers and job opportunities

Recent developments in digital technologies and online platforms offer new and exciting entrepreneurial and employment careers in the music industry. Musicians can compose for films, TV, games, apps and digital platforms, produce recordings, tour, manage artists and promote their brand.

Working behind the scenes, you can find jobs in the recording and publishing industries such as artist and repertoire (A&R), marketing or management. The live sector is also lucrative, and provides jobs in promotion, venue management and a range of other support roles.

If you’re interested in music technology you can find entrepreneurial and employment careers in software and hardware development, sound engineering live and in studios, as well as lighting design, and stage and production design.

What our students say

“I play drums for New Zealand artist BENEE. We’ve toured internationally, travelling all over Europe and America.”
Felix Holton

Bachelor of Commercial Music

“Forward-thinking faculty with great connections with the tight-knit music industry of New Zealand—what else would I be doing?”
Elleana Dumper

Tour coordinator, Banished Music

Bachelor of Commercial Music

“I chose music because I was living and breathing it. I realised I didn’t want to do anything other than write music.”
Ellie Rose

Bachelor of Commercial Music