The Saint Kentigern College Music Department offers a diverse range of musical opportunities for students of all ages at the College. 

Download 2017 Music Lesson Application Form

The curricular and co-curricular music programmes are well resourced and students have access to a purpose-built Music Centre which boasts a central rehearsal auditorium, three large ensemble rooms, a keyboard lab, two classrooms and nine soundproof studios, each with its own piano.

There are 13 pianos in the department including a Kawai K5 Grand Piano in the atrium.

Students study a core course in music in Year 7/8 and can take music as an option from Year 9. Every student taking senior music is provided with a copy of the latest version of ‘Sibelius’ to use for composition, arrangement and instrumentation tasks.   

Concert Band (1).jpg

The large number of students who play musical instruments to a high level provides examination students with outstanding group performance opportunities.

The College has a well-resourced itinerant music programme offering students lessons on a wide range of instruments as well as vocal lessons. 

There are a number of grants offered in the Middle School to pay for the first 10 lessons on specific, less commonly played instruments such as the bassoon, cello and tuba.

As a result of the strong teaching programme, the College has a large number and varied range of instrumental groups and ensembles that both perform and compete throughout the College year.

There is also a very strong choral programme.


A distinctive and appealing feature of the music programme is the Pipes and Drums. The band, one of only three in New Zealand schools, is an integral part of many events in the College calendar.

The unique skirl of the bagpipes can be heard at many of our College functions from prize givings to rugby matches.

The College ensembles are also fortunate to be able to undertake a number of local, national and international tours. 

In recent years, musical groups and choirs have undertaken successful overseas tours to Singapore, USA/Canada and Argentina, whilst the Pipes and Drums tour regularly to Scotland.


A large number of our students take part in the itinerant music programme at the College, taking advantage of the visiting specialist music staff who provide lessons each week on a wide range of instruments. These may be students who are learning a musical instrument for the first time, or others who are already proficient on one instrument but seek to gain new skills on another.

As a result, there are a number of students who play in more than one of our performance groups playing a different instrument in each. In recent years, our Chamber Ensembles, Jazz Band and Rock Bands have flourished.

Concert Band (4).jpg


Many of the College groups and ensembles play in festivals and competitions, notably the annual Auckland KBB Festival held at the Town Hall each year. Our musicians are always favourably placed amongst the top results.

In addition to the traditional competitions we also have a growing number of students who enter the Smokefree Rockquest and in recent years, there have been significant results for our Rock musicians.

The annual calendar is full of music events with opportunities for students to perform both individually or as a group at either small evening gatherings, to encourage confidence in our learners, or in significant concerts for large audiences. In recent years, the College has staged a themed musical evening where our own musicians combine with invited professionals to present a top programme of entertainment.

For our most advanced musicians, the highlight of the year is the Saint Kentigern Solo Music Competition. Through the use of subtle lighting, our performance venue is transformed to a concert chamber. A series of auditions brings 12 soloists in four categories to the stage in front of three top class judges from the music industry to compete for the coveted title of Soloist of the Year.


Whether a student learns music to become a top performer, to enjoy the camaraderie of making music as a group or simply for personal pleasure, there are many musical avenues to explore in the Saint Kentigern Music Department.

Download the 2017 Music Lesson Application Form

Jazz Band (3).jpg

Large Ensembles 

  • Concert Band
  • Stage Band
  • Orchestra
  • Chamber Orchestra
  • Sinfonia
  • The Pipes and Drums
  • Number 2 Pipe Band
  • Musical Orchestra 

Small Ensembles 

  • Premier Jazz Combo
  • Middle School Jazz Combos 
  • Various Chamber Groups
  • Various Rock Bands


Choir camp early each year sets the groundwork for our Premier auditioned choir, Kentoris, to expand their repertoire. Vocal coaching and the exploration of new works prepare them for their first performance early in the year at the Saint Kentigern College Open Day. Alongside our auditioned choir, there are three other main choirs for students with a love of singing. Menasing, our powerful, award winning Year 9 - 13 Boys' choir and Musettes, our stunning Year 9 - 13 Girls' choir bring students of all ages together for both performance and competition. The Year 7 and 8 Choir caters for our younger choristers.

Massed Choir Big Sing (1).jpg

The itinerant music programme at the College provides tuition for students who wish to hone their choral skills and during the course of the year there are many opportunities for our vocalists to perform either solo, as part of a small group or full choir at a number of performance evenings.

These performance opportunities range from small evening gatherings to encourage confidence in our learners to significant concerts for large audiences. Our choirs are also entered in the Auckland Regional section of the New Zealand Choral Federation's BIG SING competition held in the Auckland Town Hall each year where our performances are regularly commended at a high level.

Meet our itinerant music tutors

Each year, the College produces two significant musicals, one for the Middle School and a major Senior School production. Our top vocalists make a commanding presence in their leading solo roles for these productions.

There is a further choral event on the annual calendar that is enjoyed by an even larger number of vocalists. Our annual, sell-out House Music Evening at the Town Hall brings four large House Choirs with up to 120 students a choir along with a choir from Bruce House, our boarding facility, to the stage, all vying for the coveted House Music Cup. 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 College 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 school 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.

Every three years, the band also travels much further afield to compete - when they make their pilgrimage to Scotland to tour, perform and take part in Scottish competitions.

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 schools in New Zealand to offer tuition in both Piping and drumming.