Like learning a language, learning music is an activity best achieved through interaction and communication with others. A pivotal part of the curriculum is our commitment to regular forums that provide a unique opportunity to consolidate learning in a collaborative and supportive environment. Guided by an expert in each respective field of musical endeavour, students, artist-teachers, visiting musicians and music industry specialists join together to discuss and support the development of the necessary skills to achieve excellence as a professional performance musician.

The unique aspect of these forums is the emphasis we place on collaboration. All who participate – from the very youngest to the most advanced players – will be encouraged not only to play, but to also share experiences, reflect, express ideas, observations and opinions. It is in this context that we collectively develop a deeper understanding of music. Beyond ‘playing the right notes’ and ‘producing beautiful sounds’, our specialized forums ensure that Conservatorium students are equipped for creative and emotionally-connected music-making of the highest calibre.


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Music Language

This forum consolidates the pivotal connection between the formal ‘music language’ skills that students are learning and the repertoire that they are playing.

• Students apply their formal analytical and theoretical skills in practice.

• Attendance at Auckland-based concert events followed by discussion and review.

• Review of recordings, books, and articles that have particular relevance to current study in discussion with the wider group.

• Cultivates a critical ‘listening ear’ to form justified opinions and conclusions about matters of style and interpretation.


Today, more than ever before, it is essential for young musicians to listen to the master works of all periods of music. The pillars of classical music history and composition must be experienced to shape a young musician’s being.In the listening forum students will:

• Experience the broader spectrum of the classical repertoire through engaged listening and historically-informed thinking.

• Explore aural perceptions and how they affect musical judgements, interpretations, values and expectations.

• Learn to confidently and convincingly express their knowledge, judgements and opinions about a broad range of the classical repertoire.

• Acquire the academic writing skills required for entry into international programmes of study.

The art of listening is an essential extension to the practical music language skills that all Conservatorium students will study. It is within this broader musically-enriched context that we nurture our exceptional young instrumentalists and conductors to become ‘young artists’ and true musicians.

The ‘Music Business’

The Music Business is a wide-ranging forum that discusses the organizational and administrative aspects of a professional music career. Students have access to the combined experience of staff, and industry experts through this forum.

• ‘Writing for musicians’ assists students with a wide range of practical transactional writing skills including how to write:
- a CV and letters of introduction
- artist biography and promotional material
- programme notes

• Artist and event promotion:
- Social media – what to use and how to use it effectively
- Website design and use – keeping up to date
- Photos and media interviews

• Audio and video production:
- Preparation for recording and the recording process

• Contract negotiation, money, tax, management and agent relationships and agreements.

• Entrepreneurship:
- Creation and advancement of innovative ideas and commercial opportunities.

Musicians’ Health

Guided by a registered clinical psychologist and Feldenkrais practitioner, this forum addresses both physical and mental well-being - the ‘real life’ issues that can prevent a promising music career from blossoming. This forum will engage with:

• Mental well-being ~ Clinical Psychologist
- Work/life balance
- Psychological strategies to assist with the pressures of concert performance

• Physical well-being ~ Feldenkrais Method
- Body awareness
- Keeping active and healthy
- Injury prevention


A well-rounded performer needs to experience the interface between composition and performance. This exchange is vital for an insightful, meaningful interpretation of all music, contemporary or historical. The privileged opportunity to observe and discuss the creative process of ‘how a living composer works’ helps the performer in his/her quest for a deeper understanding of how to interpret the music they play.

• Invited composers will speak with students about the process of composition, their sources of inspiration, and will assist students with useful practical exercises and advice about composition projects.

*Composition as such will not be taught.

Visiting Artists

This forum allows all students the opportunity to interact with visiting artists about their work and experiences.