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.

Alan Robinson Guitar Award

28 Feb 2017
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The annual Alan Robinson Memorial Award for most promising first-year guitarist was jointly awarded to David Stupples and Justis Atkins-Te Kowhai, who both achieved a very similar grade at the end of their first year of study at Ara Music Arts (2016). Alan Robinson was a promising guitar student who passed away during his studies at Ara Music Arts (formerly CPIT Jazz School). This guitar award is given in his memory.

This is the seventeenth year the award has been presented, and has the names of many great guitar graduates on it, including David Haslett (currently touring NZ), Andrew Knopp (recently returned from Canada with his wife/band mate), Sam Blakelock (based in New York) and Richard Ashby (based in Sydney).

Programme Leader Gwyn Reynolds of the recipients;

“It’s great to see the award going to two students who are both into different genres of music [Jazz for David and Contemporary for Justis] but who are both expressing their passion for music through the same medium, the electric guitar. Both these guys are already great players and I can’t wait to hear them in a few years’ time.”

 

Photo – (from Left) Des Robinson, David Stupples, Gwyn Reynolds (Programme Leader – Ara Music Arts), Richard Marrett (Manager, Performing Arts)

M.A.K.E. - Isaac Paneha

21 Feb 2017

M.A.K.E. - Isaac Paneha

My project for the end of year performance was the toy train drum machine. The idea came about after I watched an episode from a talkshow called AKBingo where they used a pair of rubber mallets attached to a train and ran that train through a series of glass bottles to recreate Rossini’s William Tell Overture. Dave combined the idea of the toy train with a previous project from a previous year of using slot cars equipped with a sensor. When the slot car would pass an object it would trigger a sound. We figured that using a toy train on a track would be better than slot cars because the speed of a toy train would be more consistent than slot cars and thus would keep tempo better.

Firstly we had to buy a motorised toy train. In the end we chose Tom and Jerry train set that was made in China and it was not a very good toy. Regardless of how terrible the toy was it was sufficient for the project. Dave Cooper and I (mostly Dave Cooper) then put together a sensor and attached it to the train and we hooked it up to a wireless set that would send messages to a computer to create sounds. The sounds were triggered based on how far away the object was from the sensor and we programmed it to play different sounds based on distance (it didn’t work half the time…). We chose drum sounds because it was a good idea to use this project to control a drum sound and it also meant that we didn’t have to program too many sounds.