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March 24, 2014 | by  | in News |
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Music to Vic’s Ears

Years of student complaints and disagreement between three different tertiary institutions may be resolved by a new proposal from the New Zealand School of Music (NZSM).

Massey and Victoria, which jointly manage NZSM, are considering a proposal under which future NZSM courses would only be administered by Victoria.

Students would be able to complete their studies under their current regulations and have their degree conferred jointly by both universities.

Victoria plans to offer programmes similar to those offered currently through NZSM for those enrolling from 2015. Massey will develop a new programme in the area of popular music practice, technology, and business-based music education.

Until now, Music students based in Wellington have been taught by the NZSM, which is administered by both Victoria and Massey University. The two universities had entirely separate Music courses prior to their merging in 2006.

This three-way relationship has meant that Music students must travel frequently between the Mount Cook and Kelburn campuses, and that they are often confused as to which student association represents them.

This arrangement has also meant that committees from Victoria and Massey must come to consensus before action can be taken to adjust any Music courses. This process can take longer than six months.

NZSM student representative Stephen Clothier said that the proposed changes “will remove a lot of unnecessary bureaucracy and convolution from the system.”

However, Clothier is concerned about the changes. He told Salient: “I can’t help but wonder how dividing these programmes again will affect those wishing to study, for example, music technology and classical composition, which is possible under the current system but might become problematic if those programmes are administered through different universities.”

It is unclear how this process will be set in motion. In 2006, government funds were specifically allocated to the building of new music facilities for the NZSM. This money was later withdrawn. The current split campus between Mount Cook and Kelburn was only meant to be temporary until the funds were reinstated. This never eventuated.

The Kelburn campus cannot currently host all Music students, meaning that the Massey classrooms will still need to be leased by Victoria in the foreseeable future. There have been suggestions of building new Music rooms at Kelburn, reusing old Science lecture theatres, or creating a completely new Music campus at a different location.

 The universities are seeking student and staff feedback on the proposal, and fora will be held at both Massey and Victoria campuses, before a decision is made by both university councils later in the year. The Victoria forum will take place from 10.30–11.30 am on Wednesday 26 March in Room MS209.

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