But when she discovered the New Zealand Certificate in Music(external link) programme at NMIT, she realised she could get the more personalised education in her hometown.
Ngaio moved from Nelson to Wellington in 2015 straight after high school to study music at university, but the experience of big class sizes wasn’t the right fit for her.
She tried switching to another degree, but she soon found herself back in Nelson thinking that study wasn’t for her.
That’s when she heard about the music programme at NMIT and decided to enrol.
Ngaio says the decision paid off as she finally found study inspiring, fun, challenging and rewarding.
The Certificate in Music (Level 4) is a one-year course designed to prepare you to be a professional musician, sound technician or event management assistant.
Students get to use NMIT’s state-of-the-art facilities including the Johnny Cash performance theatre and recording studios.
Ngaio says the course provides a good balance of theory and practical experience, and the tutors were much more involved than her university lecturers.
“The tutors also took the time to understand how each person learnt and what we need to apply the theory into our work. For me that was really key and allowed me to enjoy my study experience,” she says.
“At uni you don’t even know your tutor, but at NMIT I didn’t feel like I was just a number.”
The guitarist and vocalist learned new skills such as how to set up a music venue and use professional recording software. She also developed her songwriting and production abilities and had the opportunity to learn from successful Kiwi musicians, Julia Deans and Hollie Smith.
Ngaio says the facilities at NMIT are “awesome” and students always have the freedom to use the music space whenever they feel inspired.
“I’ve realised that you don’t need to leave Nelson to get good quality education. My experience at NMIT was way better than my time at university.
“I feel inspired now with my music and I have music goals. I’m keen to record my music and catch up with my classmates to play gigs.”