The Music Department offers a diverse range of musical opportunities at all year Levels. It prides itself on the high calibre of music staff, most of whom are practising musicians and industry professionals.

The specialist Music Centre has a central rehearsal auditorium, three large ensemble rooms, a keyboard lab, two classrooms and nine soundproof studios, each with its own piano.

There are a large number of instrumental groups, ensembles and choirs that perform and compete throughout the year.

The extensive itinerant music programme offers both instrument and vocal lessons.



Students study a core course in music in Year 7 as one of the ‘essential learning’ areas of ‘The Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum,’ and can take music as an option from Year 8. From Years 11-13, students have the option of studying NCEA Music or International Baccalaureate Music. There are many performance opportunities in the academic programme preparing students for tertiary studies, industry training, as well as extended music appreciation.

The many excellence endorsements in music every year reflect exceptional teaching and learning and the attitude and enthusiasm of the music cohort. NZQA Music Scholarship can be taken at Year 12 and 13, and we have had great success with NZQA Scholarships, Outstanding Scholarships and Top in Subject awards gained. Music is a UE approved subject.

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.

We provide many opportunities through regional and national music organisations to connect, mentor and network our students with tertiary and industry professionals. Our musicians regularly gain mentoring from APO and NZSO musicians, and we organize workshops with Australian, US, UK and European visiting artists to work with our ensembles. Alumni musicians are often invited as guest artists at our music showcases.


Saint Kentigern Music Highlights 2020

Watch the highlights of our musicians performing their pieces for KBB. You can watch the entire playlist here -

Private Lessons: 

Most of the music staff are practising musicians and industry professionals. There are 30 staff members 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 students with the right tutor to start or continue their musical journey.

We offer lessons in the following: 

  • Bassoon
  • Cello 
  • Clarinet
  • Double Bass
  • Drum Kit
  • Euphonium  
  • Flute
  • French Horn
  • Guitar
  • Oboe
  • Pipes & Drums
  • Percussion
  • Piano
  • Saxophone
  • Trombone
  • Trumpet
  • Tuba
  • Viola
  • Violin
  • Voice

Music Ensembles

  • ORCHESTRA – Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, String Ensemble
  • BAND – Concert Band, Wind Band
  • CHAMBER – Trios, Quartets Quintets, Octets
  • CHOIR – Kentoris Premier Choir, All comers Choir, Boys Choir
  • JAZZ – Big Band, Stage Band, Jazz Combos
  • PIPE – Pipe bands 1, 2 and drums
  • ROCK– Rock bands
  • PRODUCTION BAND - accompanying the school productions

Music Events

  • Jazz Café
  • Choral Showcase
  • Chamber Music Showcase
  • Rock Showcase
  • Large Ensembles Showcase
  • Middle School Solo Music Competition
  • Middle School Music Evening
  • House Music
  • Rock the Quad
  • Senior School Solo Music Competition

Music Successes

We are one of the best music departments in the country and with some of the best music directors in Auckland, our premier ensembles were able to achieve the following results:

  • KBB Music Festival – Triple Gold & Gala performances 2020, best ever single-school result
  • Chamber Music Contest- National semifinalists 2019-2020 as fully SKC formed group
  • Big Sing Auckland Regional- Runner-Up, Best SATB choir
  • Big Sing National Finale- Silver Award 2018-19
  • National Concert Band Festival- Gold Award
  • Auckland Jazz Festival- Silver for Big Band & Combo 2019
  • Rockquest Auckland Regional finalists for group and solo/duo

Our individual musicians audition successfully for regional and national ensembles such as NZ Secondary Schools Choir, National Youth Choir, National Youth Symphonic Winds, National Secondary Schools Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra. Individual competitive successes include winners of the Wallace Junior Piano Competition, National Concerto finalist and oversea invitation of masterclass participation.


House Music

Our annual, sell-out House Music Evening brings seven large House Choirs and one from the boarding house with over 200 students per choir, together to the stage, all vying for the coveted House Music Cup.

Each House also showcases their most talented musicians in the ‘band’ competition. This is always a fun evening for students and parents alike  - in honour of their love of singing and the thrill of performing in a professional venue.


The Pipes and Drums of Saint Kentigern:

Saint Kentigern College may be on the other side of the world and far removed from the Scottish Highlands, but it is linked to and closely identifies with its Scottish ancestry.

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

The band regularly appears in public in and around the Auckland area. Also travelling much further afield to compete, they make their pilgrimage to Scotland to tour, perform and take part in Scottish competitions and Tattoos and 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.