Whitireia music programme helps student break into industry

Music student Sam Notman is about to embark on a summer tour with Thomas Oliver, and has credited the Whitireia programme with helping him jump-start his career in the industry.


Sam enrolled in the Certificate in Rock, Jazz and Commercial Music in 2012 after a friend recommended the course, and has just finished the third and final year of a Bachelor of Applied Arts (Music)​. The drummer from Taranaki said the programme had allowed him to improve considerably as a musician and to develop industry-relevant skills.

“I decided to do the certificate course instead of my last year of high school as I knew I wanted to become a professional musician and felt that would prepare me better for the degree.”

Sam said the Bachelor of Applied Arts (Music) was a natural progression from the certificate and that it had further equipped him with the tools necessary to be successful in the industry.

“The exposure to a range of quality tutors has helped me become a much more technical and well-rounded musician,” Sam said.

During his end-of-year assessment in 2014, Sam performed some original material in front of Wellington musician Thomas Oliver, who is often brought in by Whitireia as a guest lecturer and assessor. Oliver was obviously impressed and asked Sam if he would contribute to his forthcoming album and play on a nationwide tour this summer in support of it.

“It’s really exciting to be working with Thomas,” said Sam. “I’m a fan of his music and we’ll be playing some big gigs. Without the introduction through Whitireia I probably wouldn’t have had this kind of opportunity so early.”

Thomas Oliver’s latest single – ‘If I Move to Mars’, which features Sam on drums, is currently storming the New Zealand charts.


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