There has been a sharp drop in the number of first-year student enrolments at the Australian National University (ANU) School of Music.

Last year the university cut 13 jobs and changed the school's curriculum from a conservatorium style to a university music model, as part of a controversial restructure to save $1.5 million.

The cuts sparked community outrage, with students and teachers rallying for the changes to be abandoned.

Stephen Darwin from the National Tertiary Education Union says first-year enrolments have fallen to about 40 students. Last year's intake was about 100.

Mr Darwin says there has also been a 20 per cent loss of students across other years.

He says the figures reflect the uncertainty about what is happening at the school.

"Sadly students have voted with their feet and the model proposed by ANU management was clearly unattractive to students," he said.

Mr Darwin says the restructure has been a failure.

"Although there will be some attempt to blame bad publicity, students are wise enough to see a good program and have made a judgement," he said.

"We also think this is a warning to ANU that crude cuts to budget are always going to end badly."

But ANU deputy vice-chancellor Professor Marnie Hughes-Warrington says enrolment numbers are good for the first year of a new program.

"We're very comfortable with the numbers," she said.

"I've been listening to the students playing music across campus all week for our orientation week.

"We are really pleased with the new program and we're looking forward to seeing it grow in future years."

Professor Hughes-Warrington says the ANU stands by the School of Music program.

"It's a brand new program, it will take a little bit of time," she said.

"But we're actually delighted with the quality of the students that have enrolled."

Exact enrolment figures will not be known until the university completes its student census on March 31.