Music at CAS

Welcome to the
Music Department

We believe that every child has musical ability and can connect with God and with others through the gift of music. We offer students a variety of opportunities to develop their musical talents and, as they get older, to have the option to gain credits in Music at NCEA level.

Junior primary students engage in musical activities with their classroom teacher and curriculum Music with a specialist teacher commences at the intermediate level. At this stage all students gain the opportunity to learn instrumental techniques on recorder, ukulele or marimba, as well as acquiring musical literacy and ensemble skills. 

Developing practical knowledge is a key focus - we believe that students learn most about music and how musicians work when they are actively making music. There are plenty of opportunities for working with others on collaborative projects, especially at the junior secondary level where students focus on group performance and the use of music technology. We are blessed to have a well-resourced Music Room and we are continually building on the collection of instruments and sound equipment available for students to use in projects both in and out of class. 

At Senior level, students are able to take NCEA Music through to Level 3, including Scholarship Music. Year 11 students work on a range of practical and theoretical standards selected by the teacher with the aim that students are enabled to make informed programme choices at Years 12 and 13. The standards offered at Levels 2 and 3 are negotiated with students to allow for flexible, individualised course structures that reflect the strengths, aspirations and academic needs of each student.


In addition to curriculum Music, students from New Entrants to Year 13 are able to access on-site lessons in a growing number of instruments. During 2023, students can choose from voice, drums, guitar, bass, piano/keyboard, cello and double bass. All on-site tutors are experienced musicians who have been police vetted and support the special character of the school.

Concert Attendance

In a regular year, students have the chance to attend various performances at heavily discounted rates, or sometimes free of charge. Some opportunities are aimed at senior Music students, in recent years these have included educational workshops with the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and New Zealand String Quartet, but most performances are open to any high school student who is interested.

Every year a group attends a New Zealand Opera dress rehearsal as well as a range of concerts by international ensembles like Red Priest and Juilliard415, hosted by Chamber Music New Zealand.

Performance Opportunities & Groups

Within the Christian school environment, students have rich opportunities for gaining real performance experience. Our natural audience is our church community, and while every musical item we share within a worship context is not a “performance” in the traditional sense, it is always our goal to both share our love for the Saviour while still honouring Him by offering our best.

Every year we present a full church service at two of our local congregations. We also perform by invitation at other events like the Conference Session, regional services, rest homes, and of course prize giving. 

Getting Involved

Most extra-curricular music groups at CAS are non-auditioned and we encourage anyone to give it a try. For students in Years 4 to 8 we have a Junior Choir and, additionally, at intermediate level there is a Marimba Group. Secondary students are able to join the Recorder Consort or Senior Vocals and smaller ensembles are formed frequently for specific events. Across the school, students are able to join regular Chapel praise and worship teams and every year a limited number of students are selected to be a part of the praise and worship teams for each campus’ Week of Worship. The Weeks of Worship are an incredible opportunity for student-led, student-planned worship and the music is always a highlight of the week.

In addition to the music we perform within church and school chapel contexts, students across the school are able to participate in a range of secular events. Primary students present items at occasions like Mother’s and Father’s Day breakfasts, Grandparents’ Morning Tea, and our pre-Christmas visits to rest homes around the neighbourhood. All the students in the upper primary classes (with the support of some of our high school students) participate in the annual Strum Strike Blow Festival on ukulele, marimba and/or recorder. This event is one of the highlights of the year where we join with about 1000 students from schools around the Canterbury region to present a programme of massed musical items at the Horncastle Arena. 

Our senior students hold an annual Performance Evening to celebrate and share the work they have done throughout the year towards their NCEA performance standards. This is a major highlight which we will advertise later in the year. We would love to see you there to celebrate the love of music and to honour the hard work students have put in!