Music Arts blog

Apra/Ara Artist in Residence

14 Sep 2017
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2017 Ara Music Arts Artist in Residence Anna Coddington
Funded by APRA AMCOS NZ

Anna Coddington, known for her enchanting live performances and songwriting prowess, recently spent an intensive three days with Ara Music Arts students. Kicking off with a brilliant performance, including our own Music Arts tutors, Anna also presented inspiring workshops, forums and small group sessions for students.
Students were treated to valuable insights on Anna’s songwriting process, feedback on their own writing and advice on being an artist in the New Zealand music industry. Music Arts students had many questions for the visiting artist, as well as the opportunity to perform their own work in front of an experienced artist.
As the successful residency closed, Anna’s mindful advice to students was to remember that ‘they are responsible for lighting the motivational fire beneath them.’
Stay tuned for the announcement of the 2018 Ara Music Arts Artist in Residence. 

2017 - Ara Music Arts Songwriting Competition Winner

08 Jun 2017

The 2017 winner of Ara Music Arts Songwriting Competition, in association with Musicworks, was announced on Sunday 21st May at an exciting concert by the ten finalists. The finalists were selected from entries by Canterbury Year 11,12 &13 High School and Ara Music Arts students.

Best overall song was awarded to Tarn Puentener-King from Christchurch Boys High for his electro-pop song ‘Reality’

Best Secondary School song was awarded to Sam Burt from Burnside High for his acoustic ballad ‘Over and Over’. Two runner up awards were presented to Music Arts student Jesse Ranson for ‘Favourite Season’ and Rongomai Callaghan for ‘Fly So High’.

This year’s judges Lauren Mitchell and Matt Barus said the quality of songwriting was exceptionally high, with many music styles represented. The caliber of songwriting in Christchurch has always been high with many of NZ’s finest, Bic Runga, Anika Moa and Julia Deans, hailing from these parts.  

The finalists’ concert is a great opportunity for the writers to gain performance experience, connect with an audience and get some valuable feedback from the judges. This year saw even more use of computer technology, incorporating Digital Work Stations (DAW’s) and backing tracks. However, still well represented are the classic combination of voice and guitar or piano.

With the global success of Lorde and other new rising NZ artists, young writers are seeing that it is possible to make it in today’s music industry. The Ara Music Arts programme caters specifically for students wishing to focus on studying Songwriting and Production.

Look out for the 2018 Ara Music Arts Songwriting Competition in May next year!

Songwriting Competition

04 May 2017
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The 2017 Ara Music Arts Songwriting Competition is an annual event with this year’s entries closing on 7 May. Sponsored by Ara and Musicworks, the competition is open to all songwriters in Canterbury year 11, 12 & 13 Secondary school students and Ara Music Arts students. It is free to enter and there are cash prizes and Musicworks vouchers to be won.

The competition culminates with an awards concert at 2pm 21 May in the Music Arts DCCR Auditorium

Historically, Christchurch has produced an amazing past line of songwriting talent, with artists like Bic Runga, Anika Moa and Julia Deans all hailing from here. Ara is proud to announce that this year's judges will be Lauren Mitchell and Matt Barus. Together they form the Christchurch experimental indie folk duo Terrible Sons and independently have had successful artist careers. Lauren aka LA Mitchell, is a successful pop recording artist, singer songwriter and ex member of Dave Dobbyn's band. Matt was the lead singer and songwriter of successful pop band The Dukes. Matt recently had one of his songs recorded by international artist Blondie. Both Lauren and Matt live in Christchurch.

The competition encourages young people to write songs and demonstrates that it’s possible to focus a musical career around song writing. Last year’s event attracted a good mix of styles and sounds, with 11 finalists performing solo and in bands at the prize giving show.