The curricular and co-curricular music programmes at the College are well resourced. 

The purpose-built Music Centre boasts a central rehearsal auditorium, three large ensemble rooms, a fully equipped Mac lab with Logic, MIDI and Audio Interface, soundproof classrooms and studios all with an upright piano. Two Kawai Grand Piano are utilised in classroom and ensemble rehearsals as well as performances during the year.


Music Classes, Private Music Lessons and Music Groups


Music is compulsory in Year 7, and optional from Year 8-13. Students experience a range of practical and creative activities embedded with music literacy from classical and contemporary genres.

NCEA Music (Years 11-13) and IB Music (Year 12-13) provide performance, composition, technology, literacy and history modules that will prepare students for tertiary studies, industry training as well as extended music appreciation. It is a well-rounded subject with transferable, cross-curriculum knowledge and skill sets, allowing students to further their talent and understanding in the arts.

The introduction of ‘Music Project’ classes in recent years offers our contemporary musicians a practical based NCEA Music course with solo and group performance, song writing, music technology and sound technology standards.

Regardless of our music students’ interests and intended pathway, we provide many opportunities through regional and national music organisations to connect, mentor and network our students with tertiary and industry professionals. Alumni musicians are invited as guest artists at our music showcase throughout the year.

The high percentage of students who receive Excellence in subject endorsements in music is a reflection of the teaching and learning combined with great attitude and effort that takes place in the classroom. NZQA Scholarships can be taken at Year 12 and 13, and we have had great success with scholarships, Outstanding Scholarships and Top in Subject awards gained. Music is an UE approved subject.


Private Lessons

The Music Department prides itself in the high calibre of music staff, most of whom are practicing musicians and industry professionals. We have over 30 staff member and more than 400 private music lessons that take place during the school day. From orchestral, band or vocal, classical to contemporary, for enjoyment or for examination, we can connect you with the right tutor to start or continue your music journey.


Music Groups, Events and Opportunities

The College is proud to engage a group of inspiring and passionate ensemble directors to lead our musicians in rehearsal, performance and competitions.

Through weekly rehearsals for the full school year, our ensembles prepare for performances representing the College in outstanding fashion. The premier orchestra, bands and choir are consistently placed in the top regional and national groups in competitions. Our premier choir, Kentoris, has been invited to take part in the International Youth Choral Festival 2020 in Carnegie Hall, New York.

We have 11 large ensembles (choirs, orchestras, jazz and concert bands), 25 small Ensembles (chamber groups and rock bands). Whether the student is at the beginning stages of learning, wants to play/sing for enjoyment, or competes at the top level, there are groups suitable.

With over 30 dedicated music concerts and competitions for our ensembles each year, and the annual Solo Music Competitions for our top orchestral and vocal musicians, we pride ourselves in creating a music culture that together, grows positively passionate musicians.

House Music

Our annual, sell-out House Music Evening brings six large House Choirs with over 200 students per choir, together with a choir from Bruce House, our boarding facility, to the stage, all vying for the coveted House Music Cup. 

Each House also showcases their most talented musicians in the ‘band’ competition. This evening is a huge amount of fun that gives a large number of students the chance to discover the love of singing and the thrill of performing in a professional venue.


The Pipes and Drums of Saint Kentigern

The skirl of the bagpipes, the beat of the snare drums; these sounds hold a special place in the hearts of Scots, those of Scottish descent and our own extended Saint Kentigern family. 

Saint Kentigern College may be on the other side of the world and far removed from the Scottish Highlands, but it is irrevocably linked to a Scottish ancestry with which we closely identify; students, staff and families alike. The sound of our Pipes and Drums stirs our blood; it connects us to one another, it connects us to the past. 

Since they first paraded in 1958, the Saint Kentigern Pipes and Drums have taken on the role of cultural ambassadors for Saint Kentigern; performing at ceremonial occasions on all campuses, welcoming guests to the College and lending support to our top sporting teams at important events. 

One of the highlights of the College year is the annual Ceilidh that brings the Saint Kentigern community together for a hugely enjoyable evening of traditional Scottish country dancing along with a superb dinner of Scottish fare. Diners are led into dinner by the Pipes and Drums and are treated to a spine-tingling drum fanfare. Likewise, the Pipes and Drums are in attendance to lead the parades at our two primary schools celebrations — Celtic Day at the Boys’ School and Flora McDonald Day at the Girls’ School. 

In addition to performances on campus, the band regularly appears in public in and around the Auckland area and enters competitions each year at local and national level where the band is always recognised with an award. 

The band also regularly travels much further afield to compete - when they make their pilgrimage to Scotland to tour, perform and take part in Scottish competitions and Tattoos or more recently. the Basel Tattoo in Switzerland

Wearing the Hunting McFarlan tartan in honour of our founding Headmaster, the Pipes and Drums are a special cultural feature and a proud tradition at the College. Saint Kentigern is one of only three Colleges in New Zealand to offer tuition in both Piping and drumming.