Specialist Music Programme

Creating opportunities for high-performing musicians to work alongside similarly minded students, guided by tuition from professional musicians.

Applications are now closed for the year.

Welcome to

The Specialist Music Programme

The Specialist Music Programme (SMP) is a unique institution in New Zealand, devoted to nurturing young musicians.

The stated aim of the programme is to “provide the highest possible standard of musical education, training and opportunities for children of high musical talent and potential, in a seamless, co-ordinated programme from primary to tertiary levels.”

In the 25 years since its inception in 1997 through an Act of Parliament, the SMP has provided the opportunity for hundreds of talented young musicians to achieve their potential through a dedicated programme of high-level musical activities.

Enrich Your Music Education at:

The participating institutions involved in the SMP are Westburn Primary School, Burnside High School and the University of Canterbury and the programme includes weekly tuition provided by some of Canterbury’s finest musicians.

The results of the programme speak for themselves with SMP musicians featuring annually in national competition finals as well as making significant contributions to musical ensembles and productions at the participating institutions and within the wider community.

While it is not feasible that all SMP members take up a professional career in music, many do and are to be found in ensembles and music organisations nationally and across the world.

Whatever they choose as their career, SMP students know what it means to work at the highest level and what is possible when you realise your passion.

About Us

We are people who are passionate about music and about getting the best out of our young people. The Specialist Music Programme aims to offer the very best opportunities to young musicians between the ages of 10 and 18 with a wide range of music-making opportunities that enable our students to follow their musical interests alongside like-minded peers. Based in the northwest of Christchurch at Westburn Primary School, Burnside High School, and the University of Canterbury, the programme offers a seamless music progression that can take the promising beginner through to accomplished young musician capable of taking part in performances at the highest level.

Have you got questions about SMP?

We would love to hear from you, fill in the form below.