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Massey offers scholarship for future music industry players

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  Katherine Winitana with one of her Massey tutors, Warren Maxwell.

Katherine Winitana with one of her Massey tutors, Warren Maxwell.

Massey University is seeking applications for the 2017 Bachelor of Commercial Music Scholarship, which will provide full tuition fees to a promising student studying for the Bachelor of Commercial Music degree launched this year at the School of Music and Creative Media Production.

The three-year undergraduate degree is run by a number of notable musicians and industry experts including Warren Maxwell (from the bands Trinity Roots, Little Bushman and an ex Fat Freddy’s Drop member) and Devin Abrams (Pacific Heights, founding member of Shapeshifter).

Associate Head of School and Music Programme Leader, Dr Oli Wilson (who is also a keyboardist with alternative indie act The Chills), says the degree responds to significant demand from the music and creative media industries nationally and internationally for graduates who combine high-level skills with critical and creative thought processes.  “We teach our students to be multi-skilled practitioners who can excel in fields such as production and sound design, software and hardware design and event management.”

Demand from the music and creative media industries in New Zealand and worldwide means that graduates of the new commercial music degree will enter a strong job market too, he says.

The scholarship will be awarded to a student who is seen to be contributing to the music scene. “The scholarship is not just for performers, and could be awarded to somebody who is doing great things in the industry or community like organizing music events, developing exciting new music hardware or software, or using digital platforms or technology to make and distribute music in new ways,” Dr Wilson says.

Katherine Winitana was the recipient of the inaugural 2016 scholarship and has nearly finished her first year as a Music Practice major. The talented composer and performer was not only chosen for bringing a fresh creative approach to music, but also for her commitment to bringing about positive social change through music in her community of Flaxmere in Hawke’s Bay. A former head girl of Hastings Girls’ High School, Ms Winitana, was involved in organising many events in her community and sang at the national Waiata Māori Music Awards held in Hastings last year.  Her love for her community was acknowledged when she was chosen to feature in the 2015 Flaxmere Heroes Calendar that showcases the achievements of local people.

“Massey is so cool. I love my course. It’s challenging at times, but suited to what I want to do and is making me think differently.  The tutors are working in the industry now. They are in touch with the reality, they don’t sugar coat anything but they really want you to succeed,” Ms Winitana says.

“I have a passion music, but I am working on my song-writing and putting my own sound to things. The question for me is whether I continue jumping between genres or whether I am better spending time on one – I want to figure out where I sit in the industry.”

The Bachelor of Commercial Music, at the University’s College of Creative Arts in Wellington, focuses on mentoring students to have long-term careers in the highly competitive music industry. Majors are offered in Music Practice, Music Technology and Music Industry. The programme is technology-driven with a focus on originality and innovation and will be supported by new cutting-edge recording, multi-media, rehearsal and teaching facilities, due for completion in 2017.

Further information and application details for the 2017 Bachelor of Commercial Music Scholarship, open to all New Zealand residents, can be found at

Applications for the scholarship close Sunday December 4, 2016.