'Better integration' needed for gifted musicians

An academy teaching some of Christchurch's most gifted musicians should be better integrated into Canterbury University's School of Music, a report says.

The academy operates efficiently but could be more fully integrated into the university's music school, a report into the academy by Auckland University head of music Professor Robert Constable said.

Children as young as eight attend the academy.

The Pettman Junior Academy of Music was created in 2005 and has been almost entirely funded by wealthy philanthropists Barrie and Maureen Pettman, who are based in Britain.

Last year, the Pettmans said they would donate nearly $1 million to the academy during the next five years, allowing the number of places available to rise from 25 to 45.

The pupils pay fees but they are heavily subsidised by the Pettmans.

The academy report, obtained by The Press through the Official Information Act, said there was insufficient co-ordination between the interests of the university's music school and those of the academy.

Constable said in the report that the academy should be under the academic control of a head of music and College of Arts pro-vice-chancellor Ed Adelson.

The report also recommended talking to the Pettmans about changing the way the funds were allocated, with the possibility of increasing fees and creating tertiary scholarships for students who transfer from the academy to the music school.

Constable said introducing Pettman tertiary scholarships could improve the percentage of pre-tertiary pupils becoming tertiary students at the music school.

The report also recommended closer partnering with high school music teachers and other leading music teachers.

The academy report was completed alongside a review of the music school, which said the school was in crisis and needed to reverse a student decline to survive.

A university spokesman said it was too early to say whether any recommendations in the report would be adopted.

Professor Barrie Pettman is the co-founder of Emerald Group Publishing, the world's leading publisher of scholarly journals and books.

The Press