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Musicality classicf eel magazine


classicf eel magazine

This is the first in CLASSICFEEL magazine’s new series of Musicality supplements. Music is only one of CLASSICFEEL’s many areas of interest and expertise. Since our first issue rolled off the press, CLASSICFEEL has grown steadily to become South Africa’s number one arts, culture and lifestyle magazine, and the country’s first choice for news and opinions on classical music, jazz, visual art, dance, theatre, cinema, books, food, wine and travel. Whereas we are usually concerned with past and current achievers on the musical stage, in Musicality we turn our attention to the stars of the future – and those who dedicate their lives and talents to training them. An education in music is a luxury in South Africa but the presence of music in education is proving more and more to be an essential element in a child’s development. In Musicality, we look at some notable successes in this arena and put some of the country’s best music curricula under the spotlight. We showcase the fine schools that have blazed a trail in teaching musical excellence around South Africa. Look out for our next Musicality supplement towards the end of 2011. In the meantime, we hope you’ll find this first instalment both illuminating and enjoyable. The CLASSICFEEL team.

Contents © DeskLinkTM Media

02 2 Music and the Development of Children The benefits of musical training, whether it is in the form of studying a musical instrument, participating in a school orchestra, or learning to sing, appear to be myriad. Aside from the innate pleasure that music can bring, a continuously growing body of research suggests that embarking on the study of music can aid both social and intellectual development, as well as fostering an individual’s personal growth. 8 14 16 18 20

Trinity College London Kearsney College: Performance with Passion Keyboard Magic, East Rand Music and Drama School St John’s College: ‘Music can change the world’ St Mary’s School, Waverley: Giving our Girls the Edge

22 22 El Sistema: Music as Social Saviour

10 10 In Concert with Neo Motsatse Neo Motsatse finished off 2010 in a style few other children her age would even dream of. Before an appreciative audience at Country Club Johannesburg, the ten-year-old violinist headlined her very own classical music concert.

Venezuela’s El Sistema music education programme is an unprecedented phenomenon. Now funded by and operating under the auspices of the Venezuelan government, it is primarily seen as a social upliftment programme and it is not only transforming communities but also producing world class musicians from the ranks of impoverished children who participate. 23 25 27 29

Grove Primary School: ‘Music is the soul of society’ Jeppe High School for Girls: Holistic, quality education Music at Kingsmead College Pridwin Prepatory School Music Department: Where learning to make music is loads of fun! 31 St Peter’s School of Music Musicality 2011


Music 2

Musicality 2011


OF CHILDREN The benefits of musical training, whether it is in the form of studying a musical instrument, participating in a school orchestra, or learning to sing, appear to be myriad. Aside from the innate pleasure that music can bring, a continuously growing body of research suggests that embarking on the study of music can aid both social and intellectual development, as well as fostering an individual’s personal growth.


ost people have heard of the so-called ‘Mozart effect’ a term coined following a 1993 study that suggested that simply listening to classical music – Mozart, in particular – produced a slight improvement in individual IQ, specifically spatial reasoning skills. For the most part, however, this effect has been found to be at best short lived (usually in the region of a few minutes) with little or no long term improvement ensuing. However, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that a more intensive engagement with music – most commonly in the form of learning to play an instrument – may result in significant intellectual, academic and social development. To begin with, the long-held connection between musical and mathematical ability seems to have been backed up by a host of research conducted in recent years. Numerous studies have suggested a strong correlation between the study of music and improved spatial-temporal reasoning skills, essential for visualising objects in space as they change over a period of time, and in recognising relationships between objects. These skills come into play when one is engaged in activities such as reading a map or building a puzzle and improvements in these skills have been linked to higher achievements in both maths and the sciences. Many of these improvements have been demonstrated as early as at nursery school level and there may be reason to believe that, as in so many cases, the younger one introduces a child to music, the better. However, a host of studies have reported similar results in older children and adolescents – including a US study conducted in 1999 looking at some 25 000 secondary school students – which found that those students ‘who report consistent high levels of involvement in instrumental music over the middle and high school years show significantly higher levels of mathematics proficiency by Grade 12.’ This finding applied regardless of the student’s socioMusicality 2011

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‘Children taking music lessons improved more over the year on general memory skills that are correlated with non-musical abilities such as literacy, verbal memory, visuospatial processing, mathematics and IQ than did the children not taking lessons’ economic status and became more noticeable the longer that the student continued his or her involvement with instrumental music.1 Learning to read music and working with rhythm are similarly believed to improve mathematical ability by exposing students to fractions and proportions. Music is also thought to contribute to intellectual development in the form of reading and language skills, improved speech and pronunciation abilities – particularly helpful when learning a second language – as well as an enhanced verbal memory. Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI theory) of 1983 may also be worth considering when contemplating musical education for children. Although not definitively proven through empirical evidence, Gardner’s theory has been popular with many professionals (including educationalists) for several decades. His theory expounds the idea that individual human beings display a natural proclivity for one or more, different intelligences. Thus he defines nine intelligences: Spatial, Linguistic, Logical-mathematical, Bodily-kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Naturalistic and Existential. He defines intelligences thus: ‘Fundamentally, an intelligence refers to a biopsychological potential of our species to process certain kinds of information in certain kinds of way. As such, it clearly involves processes that are carried out by dedicated neural networks. No doubt each of the intelligences has its characteristic neural processes, with most of them quite similar across human beings. Some of the processes might prove to be more customised to an individual.’ 2 In relation to music education, the Musical and Bodily-kinesthetic intelligences are of the most interest. Gardner’s Musical intelligence would seem to predispose certain individuals towards ‘sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones and music’ as well as a natural ability for perfect pitch. In addition to this, they have a keen awareness of rhythm, metre, tone and melody. He theorises that such individuals have a strong, correlated auditory sense and may display strong language skills. This intelligence would seem to heighten an individual’s ability to ‘sing, play musical instruments and compose music’ and they may learn best through listening to lectures and using rhythm while studying. Suggested 4

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career choices for these individuals are logically: ‘instrumentalists, singers, conductors, disc-jockeys, orators, writers and composers’.3 Although it would seem less relevant, individuals with Gardner’s Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence may prove to be adept in controlling ‘bodily motions’ and handling objects (i.e. instruments) skilfully. Their muscle memory may prove superior to others who do not exhibit this particular intelligence, enabling them to learn body movements easily; this is enhanced by a possible proclivity towards a good ‘sense of timing’ – a skill which every musician should ideally possess. Interestingly, along with this intelligence, these individuals would seem to do best learning through physical action rather than reading or listening. Career choices suggested for individuals with the Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence include musician, dancer and actor. 4 For Gardner, the traditional concept of intelligence or the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) relates most distinctly to his Logical-mathematical intelligence. With continuing strides being made in the neurological sciences, including mapping of the brain, over time Gardner’s MI theory may just be proved completely valid. ‘In brain sciences, a decade is a long time, and the theory of multiple intelligences was developed over two decades ago. We now know much more about the functioning and development of the nervous system. I find the neurological evidence to be amazingly supportive of the general thrust of MI theory. The evidence supports the particular intelligences that I described and provides elegant evidence of the fine structure of such capacities as linguistic, mathematical, and musical processing.’ 5

“Learning to play an instrument, to read music or to sing all require that a student develop a certain degree of commitment and discipline, in order to make any significant progress”

Gardner’s theory also seems to support a connection between mathematical and musical intelligence. He states that ‘individuals who are mathematically talented often show an interest in music. I think that this linkage occurs because mathematicians are interested in patterns and music offers itself as a goldmine of harmonic, metric, and compositional patterns.’6 In considering multiple intelligences Gardner is careful to distinguish ‘showing an interest’ in a particular area from intelligence itself (and intelligence is only a show of potential in a particular area, not an automatic skill or mastery – that comes with practice). ‘Interest, however, is not the same as skill or talent; a mathematician’s interest in music does not predict that she will necessarily play well or be an acute critic of the performances of others. Of equal importance, the imputed link rarely works the other way. We do not expect of randomly chosen musicians that they will Musicality 2011


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be interested, let alone skilled, in mathematics. There may also be a bias in the kind of music at issue. Those involved in classical music are far more likely to be oriented toward science and mathematics than those involved in jazz, rock, rap, and other popular forms.’ 7 He elucidates further: ‘These observed correlations and lack of correlations suggest another factor at work. In certain families and perhaps also certain ethnic groups, there is a strong emphasis placed on scholastic and artistic accomplishment. Youngsters are expected to do well in school and also to perform creditably on an instrument. These twin goals yield a population with many youngsters who stand out in maths and music. There may be other common underlying factors, such as willingness to drill regularly, an inclination toward precision in dealing with marks on a piece of paper and a desire to attain high standards. One would have to sample a wide variety of skills 6

Musicality 2011

– from being punctual to writing cogent essays – before jumping to the conclusion that a privileged connection exists between musical and mathematical intelligence.’ With regards to Gardner’s MI theory and how this affects individuals during their lifetime, he firmly believes that, ‘Multiple intelligences seem a particular gift of childhood. When we observe children, we can readily see them making use of their several intelligences. Indeed, one of the reasons for my enthusiasm about children’s museums is their evident cultivation of a plethora of intelligences... [In time] it could be that multiple intelligences decline in importance as well as in visibility. But I believe that quite the opposite is true. As individuals become older, our intelligences simply become internalised. We continue to think differently from one another – indeed, differences in modes of mental representation are likely to increase throughout active life.’9 Indeed, this thinking may just

account for the almost infinite diversity of humankind and individual creativity that enriches our lived experience. Whether Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences proves accurate or not, evidence still abounds with regards to the overall benefits of music education for all children. A neurological study published in the online journal Brain (20 September 2006) used Magnetoencephalography (MEG) to measure brain activity in response to sounds in two groups of children over the course of a year – those studying using the Suzuki method and those not studying music at all. According to Dr Laurel Trainor, Professor of Psychology, Neuroscience and Behaviour at McMaster University and Director of the McMaster Institute for Music and the Mind, ‘... the children taking music lessons improved more over the year on general memory skills that are correlated with non-musical abilities such as literacy, verbal memory, visuospatial processing, mathematics and IQ than did the children not taking lessons. The finding of very rapid maturation of the N250m component to violin sounds in children taking music lessons fits with their large improvement on the memory test. It suggests that musical training is having an effect on how the brain gets wired for general cognitive functioning related to memory and attention.’ 10 Not only has an extensive body of research found a correlation between the study of music and improvements in these areas, but neurological research examining the physical transformations in the brain, as well as its efficacy in processing information, appears to support these findings. Musicians, it seems, possess larger planum temporale – a region of the brain associated with reading skills – and a thicker corpus callosum, i.e. the many nerve fibres which connect the left and right hemispheres of the brain than non-musicians. This is particularly pronounced in those who began musical training before the age of seven, again suggesting that the younger one starts, the better. While there is extensive evidence to suggest that the study of music aids intellectual development and that this is enhanced the longer the student continues to study music, this is by no means the only benefit that has been attributed to musical training. Research conducted by Northwestern University11 suggests that it aids not only IQ, but also EQ, as the study of music allegedly improves the individual’s ability to ‘recognise emotion in sound’, thereby increasing sensitivity to the emotional cues of others

and fostering a correspondingly better intuitive understanding of social situations – invaluable skills when it comes to building relationships with others and successfully navigating day-to-day life. One of the authors of the study – Dana Strait – goes on to suggest that musical training may therefore assist individuals whose ability to read emotional signals is impaired, as is often the case with those born with autism or Asperger’s syndrome. These are only some of the advantages that have been claimed for children who study music – a host of others have been put forward, varying from greater self esteem, improved concentration and better fine motor skills to a lower incidence of drug and alcohol abuse. Moreover, as with the pursuit of any ability, learning to play an instrument, to read music or to sing all require that a student develop a certain degree of commitment and discipline in order to make any significant progress. These are

“Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI theory) of 1983 may also be worth considering when contemplating musical education for children”

invaluable attributes, transferable to any endeavour that a person decides to embark upon. And while simply listening to music may not make one any smarter, most people would agree that it can go a long way towards improving mood and making one calmer, happier and more receptive. While the benefits that the study of music is alleged to bring are both impressive and desirable, and provide ample reason for incorporating the subject into any well-balanced curriculum, the most important reason for pursuing a musical education no doubt remains the sheer pleasure and passion for the subject that many students of music experience. Music is a labour of love and for those who love it, it makes life richer and more meaningful. And what’s more valuable than that?

1. (Catterall, James S., Richard Chapleau, and John Iwanaga. “Involvement in the Arts and Human Development: General Involvement and Intensive Involvement in Music and Theater Arts.” Los Angeles, CA: The Imagination Project at UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, 1999) 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. Northwestern University (2009, March 5). Musicians Have Biological Advantage In Identifying Emotion In Sound. ScienceDaily. Musicality 2011


Trinity College London, the international examinations board incorporating Trinity Guildhall, offers accredited qualifications in English language and the performing and creative arts. We conduct 500,000 assessments each year worldwide, from graded examinations and certificates to diplomas and higher level vocational qualifications. Through Trinity Guildhall we focus on the performing arts in music and drama, and now deliver an enhanced range of syllabuses and local services to teachers, tailored to allow flexible styles of learning and teaching. We emphasise overall performance rather than a prescriptive formula.

With expert examiners and the backing of leading specialists and academics, the quality of our product and our enduring relationships and approachable style give Trinity College London


encourage achieve





and motivate all students to



professional goals.



Rockschool examiner, Jerry Forbes, with diploma candidate, Charl du Plessis

Deon Mering, the first Rockschool candidate in Port Elizabeth

Examiner Joanne Yeoh from Malaysia with Annette vd Westhuizen and Amarillie Ackerman at Crawford

David Bobby, Head of Business Development at Trinity, visiting Edumusic in Roodepoort in May

The Alkemas and David Bobby visiting their shop in Cape Town

Examiner Joanne Yeoh with her mother who accompanied her on her trip to South Africa, in Johannesburg.



Neo Motsatse finished off 2010 in a style few other children her age would even dream of. Before an appreciative audience at Country Club Johannesburg, the tenyear-old violinist headlined her very own classical music concert, organised by her parents, Nick and Fezeka Motsatse, in recognition of her years of exceptionally hard work in both the musical and academic fields.

Classical music continues to prove that it has a place in South Africa and to confound critics who see it as outmoded, elitist and irrelevant. Neo Motsatse is living proof of the continuing appeal of the form. At only ten years old, she has already made her first steps towards launching a career as a classical musician. As the daughter of SAMRO CEO, Nick Motsatse, she began attending classical concerts at an early age, developing a deep fascination with the violin. At age six, she began learning to play the instrument and four years later, in December 2010, she headlined her very own concert at Country Club Johannesburg, presenting a programme made up of Baroque, Romantic and contemporary pieces. Exuding confidence, Neo executed a skilful and charming performance backed by an ensemble of young South African classical music luminaries led by another local violin wunderkind, Samson Diamond. Diamond’s musical direction gave the performance a real touch of professionalism and class, and his support of Neo is a good example of the kind of selfless mentoring that is needed to drive the South African music industry forward. Neo’s attraction to the violin was based on both aesthetic and practical reasons. ‘Firstly it’s one of the only instruments that my hands can actually fit around,’ she laughs, ‘and secondly I just love the way it looks and sounds.’ Although she has now also taken up the piano, the violin remains her instrument of choice. She manages to squeeze two hours of practice into her daily schedule, which also includes copious quantities of schoolwork. Although this sometimes requires a juggling act, and means that she frequently has to sacrifice leisure time, she seems to cope admirably and, like many other children who have undergone musical


Musicality 2011

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Musicality 2011


Neo (centre front) with her supporting ensemble. From left to right: Samson Diamond (first violin), Kabelo Motlhomi (second violin), Sonja van Zyl (piano), Elbe Roberts (viola), Kutlwano Masote (cello)


Musicality 2011 Š DeskLinkTM Media

Images courtesy of Nick and Fezeka Motsatse

Neo with the four musical arrangers who created special pieces for her Country Club Johannesburg concert. From left to right: JB Arthur, Samson Diamond, Neo, Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph and Wandile Molefe

training concurrently with their formal education, she has had personal experience of the mutually beneficial relationship between the two. ‘It definitely helps me with my maths,’ she says. For the first three years of her training, Neo was taught according to the Suzuki method – the teaching philosophy aimed at cultivating ‘high ability and beautiful character’ in young children. This method is based on a holistic view of education, which regards music as just one facet of a child’s development. At the beginning of 2010, Neo and her parents felt that she was ready to advance to more focused, professionally oriented classical music training and she became a pupil of Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra concertmaster, Miroslav Chakaryan. The results of this move have proved satisfactory to all involved. As is shown by the programme for her 2010 concert, Neo’s favourite works are from the Baroque repertoire. The concert featured two works by her favourite composer, Vivaldi – extracts from the Concerto for Two Violins no. 8 in A minor and the Sonata no. 2 in G minor. However, the programme was designed to be diverse and included a number of contemporary South African works, such as The Wedding by Abdullah Ibrahim, and two traditional songs specially adapted for Neo – Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph’s take on Ntyilo Ntyilo and Samson Diamond’s arrangement of Thula Thula. One thing that drew many a comment among audience members was Neo’s unshakable confidence. ‘I don’t get nervous, really,’ she says. ‘As long I’ve practised properly, then there’s no problem.’ An important aspect of Neo’s success is that she took up the violin and practises and performs entirely on her own initiative. At no point has she ever felt pressured by her parents

and teachers. ‘I wanted this concert,’ she says. ‘My parents organised it for me but I was the one who wanted it.’ Although Neo is a self-driven achiever, her parents’ support is an essential factor in her success. Since she first made the decision to take up the violin, her mother, Fezeka has played an active role in her learning. An important feature of the Suzuki method is that, in addition to the teacher-pupil interaction, a third dimension is added to the learning process in the form of the parent’s active involvement. In this way, Fezeka has accompanied Neo every step of the way, lending an ear during practice sessions and clarifying matters that her daughter might not have grasped immediately during lessons. She has continued her role even after Neo made her change from the Suzuki system to Chakaryan’s tuition. Her contribution has proved vital to Neo’s development as a musician and her pride in the young virtuoso’s talent and hard work is evident. Perhaps most importantly, she has maintained constant support and encouragement without ever feeling the need to push. Neo still has several years to go before she has to make any hard decisions about her career, and although music is at the top of her list right now, things could change in the years to come. However, as the 144 members of the 2010 concert audience can attest, she has the ability to do herself, her family and her country proud if she remains committed to her musical pursuits. Regardless of what decisions she might make, her achievements already stand as a testament both to the bright future of classical music in South Africa, and to the tremendous positive impact that musical training can have on a child’s overall development. Musicality 2011























Keyboard Magic East Rand Music & Drama School


eyboard Magic East Rand Music and Drama School was only recently established in 2005. Since then, the school has been growing steadily year by year. Our school serves as an extra mural centre for music and drama in Benoni, Gauteng. The school is open from 1pm to 7pm during the week and Saturday mornings, from 8am to 2pm. We are currently a staff of 13 teachers and have approximately 500 students attending our school. Our curriculum mainly focuses on Trinity Guildhall Examinations for both Classical and Rockschool Music, as well as Trinity Guildhall Examinations for Drama. We specialise in one-on-one tuition in Voice (Classical and Contemporary) and Instrumental Music, namely: Piano (Classical and Popular), Electronic Keyboard, Saxophone, Flute, Clarinet, Guitar (Classical and Popular), Electric Bass Guitar, Drum Kit, Violin, Recorder and Brass. We also train students in the Dramatic Arts. Individual and group drama classes are offered, arranged according to the various age groups and abilities of the students. Our teachers are qualified professionals who have a high level of performance and teaching experience. They follow and teach strict syllabuses of an international standard which assures that our teaching is in line with teaching practices worldwide. We strive for excellence in, and mastery of the arts, working closely with Trinity College London and Royal Schools. We are thus able to give our students the insight they require to compete in the entertainment industry on a local or international platform. Our school maintains a high pass rate and is on the top list of schools participating in the Rockschool Examinations. Some of our students have received distinctions for both practical and theoretical Trinity Guildhall Examinations. Two students, Jana-Lee Moyle (Grade 3 Singing) and Declan Lind (Initial Keyboard), scored the highest marks in the Gauteng province for their Trinity Practical Music Examination in Sept/Oct 2010. As an active examination host venue, our school has had the privilege of hosting several Trinity Guildhall Music and Drama Practical Examinations as well as Rockschool. In 2010 we hosted Rockschool Practical Examinations for a record-setting four-day period – and that was for our school alone. Keyboard Magic also offers Trinity Music as a subject taken by students at secondary institutions as an eighth subject from Grade 10, in addition to their compulsory seven subjects. The course looks at music in its entirety. Students study their instrument to an advanced level in both theory and practical work. All students prepare a portfolio of assignments and

do international exams as their Grade 12 finals. These students are trained in music composition and music history in a range of styles and genres, including Classical, Baroque, Romantic, Jazz, Pop, 20th Century, Country and many other popular forms of music. Students are required to have a thorough understanding of music form and structure, thereby assisting them with their composition studies. With access to wireless internet connection as well as audio visual facilities for opera screenings and music analysis, lessons are fun and interactive. It is necessary for musicians to understand how music is put together and to appreciate all genres of music. Students are expected to put more time into their music, as they will be completing an international syllabus endorsed by the National Department of Education. The participating schools recognise the students’ achievements and add their marks on their school report. We offer a bridging course to Grade 8 and 9 students who wish to do Trinity Music in Grade 10, but who may not have reached the required level. After completing the Trinity Music course, students leave equipped with the skills needed to hold their own at highly competitive, tertiary institutions. Students are not obligated to study music at a tertiary level, however, having music as an eighth or ninth subject gives students an advantage over other applicants due to the fact that they have a higher score mark when applying to study other courses at a tertiary level. We are very proud that some of our students, who graduated in music at our school, chose music as their career and are currently studying it at various tertiary institutions/universities. Our school is also aiming at offering music at a tertiary level, with the planned introduction of the Trinity Licentiate degree in Music. As ‘a man is not an island’, so a musician needs to work with other musicians to gain experience and also to learn from others. To offer this opportunity, we have bands and ensembles. These groups meet regularly and participate in local concerts and shows, e.g. Battle of the

Bands, an annual in-house competition where our bands battle it out for the trophy. Our Drama Department is highly active in plays and local eisteddfods. In November 2010, we presented the musical Return of the Glass Slipper, which was a resounding success. Our students performed four fantastic shows to audiences of all ages. The majority of the cast had never had the opportunity to perform in such a production before. The cast members ranged from seven to 17 years in age. Some of our drama students also participated in the local Benoni Eisteddfod. They all received top marks, one student winning her section for Prescribed Poetry. Keyboard Magic learners are taught Speech and Drama along international guidelines, according to the Trinity Guildhall syllabus. A few of our students received distinctions for their group and solo performances in their Trinity Guildhall Examinations. Among our students was Thobogo Mokadi (Grade 4 Solo Performance), who scored the highest mark in the Gauteng province for her Trinity Drama Examination in September 2010. The drama classes cover a wide range of material and genres. We will also be offering Musical Theatre at our school from 2011. Studying drama is not only fun, but also extremely beneficial for those who suffer from speech impediments, low selfesteem, weak concentration and weak reading skills. At the end of each year, in-house music concerts and drama showcase evenings are held to give all students the opportunity to perform the material they have been working on. All classes are open to students of all ages. Whether you are seriously considering music as a career or just wish to expand your appreciation of it, whether you are an aspiring actor or want to build your confidence, the Keyboard Magic East Rand Music and Drama School will equip you with the necessary skills to take you one step closer to realising your dreams.

54 Gousblom Street, Northmead Ext 4, Benoni, Gauteng, Republic of South Africa ¦ PO Box 26424 East Rand 1462 Tel: +27(0)11 425 3509 ¦ Mobile: +27(0)82 824 2851 ¦ Email:



Music forms an integral part of College life. Since


the establishment of Music as a regular subject


of choice in 1989, St John’s has produced many young musicians who have excelled in the music


profession namely

performing regularly, such as the string ensemble, string quartet, several contemporary


bands and wind band.

as a professional musician and broadcaster. t +BNFT0FTJ BEPVCMFCBTTQMBZFS XIPJT


currently studying for his M Mus at the

choir leading the worship in the school’s Anglican



under Quirijn van Regteren Altena of the  "TLP4DIPFOCFSH&OTFNCMF)FXBTSFDFOUMZ

A smaller choir, called the Schola Cantorum,


on a full scholarship to the Royal Northern



College of Music in Manchester.


class of his own’, accompanist James Baillieu Currently seventy College boys have chosen

has been the prize-winner as accompanist  PGUIF8JHNPSF)BMM4POH$PNQFUJUJPO %BT Lied International Song Competition,  ,BUIMFFO'FSSJFSBOE3JDIBSE5BVCFS



music as an academic matriculation subject with

A limited number of Music Scholarships and

more than a third of the entire school having


instrumental lessons.

show exceptional dedication. Parents of interested pupils can contact the music


department at for

well with twenty one pupils who were entered for

more information.

E ST. 1 8 9 8 For further information please contact: E-mail: Tel: +27 11 645 3000 / +27 87 550 0470 Web:

Giving Our Girls The Edge St Mary’s School, Waverley, was established in


1888 and, as the oldest school in Johannesburg, it

looking at jazz, and at pop music. Yes, there is opera

provides a relevant, 21st century global education.

and symphonic music but it’s not seen as special, it’s

St Mary’s is a school rich in history and exudes

seen as different but equal. The students are getting


a far broader frame of reference.’

tradition of the school. The school caters for girls from Grade 000 to Matric.

No musical background is necessary for girls to enrol in the school’s music curriculum. Working with Sue Cock in the St Mary’s music department are three

,Q$XJXVW6W0DU\¡VOLIWHGWKHFXUWDLQRQLWV newest facility, a state-of-the-art creative and

St Mary’s music department is headed by Sue Cock,

full-time and twenty part-time teachers. Instruction

performing arts centre, The Edge. Increasingly,

musician, choirmistress and wife of well-known

is offered to pupils in piano and keyboard, guitar (pop



conductor Richard Cock. It is naturally a tremendous


stresses that skills can be taught but creativity

source of pride for St Mary’s when former pupils go

recorder, trumpet, violin, cello and drums.

and the imagination are the qualities which will

on to become professional musicians – there have

be most sought after in our world. To this end,

been some notable examples; pianist Jill Richards

The drama department has a number of rehearsal

the vision of this centre for the development of

and internationally acclaimed singer Sandra Ford

and teaching rooms available, space for experimental

visual, dramatic and performing arts and music

are both St Mary’s old girls. Sue Cock’s approach to

theatre and there are extensive areas for the display

was conceived.


of creative work and installations. Creativity is not

training the audiences of the future and musicians



are more of a by-product of that process,’ she

wing of The Edge where superb writing, thinking and

effortlessly becomes a superb theatre, seating 530


debates occur. The Edge resounds with energy, music

members of the audience in an acoustically superior

won’t have music.’

and laughter as our girls learn through extending their




space. The spacious high-volume wings are spanned


with dressing rooms. The building boasts a sprung

There is a perception that formal music education


is somehow elitist, and has a tendency to

panoramic view of northern Johannesburg and two

overemphasize the Western classical tradition.

The Edge promises to be the fountainhead of creative



education for the St Mary’s girls and will equip them

top of the building for greater natural light, space


for the lateral thinking needed to succeed in our ever-

and volume. In addition, there are music rooms,

western music is still there, that’s just one aspect


loud practice rooms, individual teaching rooms and

of it. We study world music, so the girls are looking

is more important than knowledge.

a seminar and resource room.


limited. Imagination encircles the world.’

talent in the arts.

CONTACT DETAILS: 55 Athol Street, Waverley, Johannesburg PO Box 981, Highlands North 2037 Tel: +27 11 531 1800 Fax: 086 504 1122 Email: Website:

Knowledge is

Gustavo Dudamel amongst members of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. European tour, Odeon of Herodes Atticus, Athens, Greece. 23 June 2010.

© www.fesnojiv.gob: Frank Di Polo, Sandra Bracho, Nohely Oliveros

Music as Social Saviour Venezuela’s El Sistema music education programme is an unprecedented phenomenon. Now funded by and operating under the auspices of the Venezuelan government, it is primarily seen as a social upliftment programme and it is not only transforming communities but also producing world class musicians from the ranks of impoverished children who participate. 22

Musicality 2011

Itzhak Perlman - Israeli-American violin virtuoso, conductor, and master-instructor

The Grove Primary School’s multi-faceted Music Department lives and breathes by the above quote... Celebrating 125 years of schooling, The Grove Primary School is situated The Grove has 300 budding musicians taking music tuition on various instruments under the guidance of 11 music teachers. Focussing on: *!"*"$$* * '&*%% '&$ *&$" '&$*$'  &*"!  $"(%""$% *$!$' !*$ *!"$! *"$$"!%"$&* !%&$' !&!%  *  ))" "%* '&! *$!  '$&&*$ $"'# * '!"$!"$"$*$&"!"$ We believe that music should be an integral part of every child’s life, and encourage each child to learn a musical instrument. We believe music encourages the appreciation of different cultures, promoting a greater mutual understanding amongst those from diverse backgrounds...

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below the picturesque crags of Table Mountain in Claremont, Cape Town and is home to a diverse student body of 720 boys and girls, from Grade R to Grade 7. Daniel Berkowitz – Abreu Fellow now set to manage the Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA)


undación del Estado para el Sistema Nacional de las Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela, (Fesnojiv) or El Sistema, as it is more commonly known, exists due to the vision of one man, José Antonio Abreu. In 1975 he founded Social Action for Music and organised a first classical music session in his garage – eleven interested children arrived. Since that first session Abreu has enlisted the successive support of ten different Venezuelan government administrations to grow his dream of ‘music as a vehicle for social change’. El Sistema currently has approximately 300 000 children actively participating in the system and over the last 35 years has seen more than 800 000 students pass through it. With the motto, ‘To play and to fight’ El Sistema is fundamentally a social upliftment programme with music as its delivery vehicle. The motto captures the essence of the system’s ethos: ‘undertaking music as a collective experience which also involves individual effort.’ In a country battered by drug wars, deeply entrenched poverty and the sense of hopelessness such conditions bring to struggling communities, Dr Abreu firmly believes that music offers 24

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discipline and opportunity for inclusion to the children who participate, saying, ‘The root cause of problems is exclusion.’ He elaborates further: ‘An orchestra is a community; the practice of a group that recognises itself as interdependent.’ El Sistema is about providing a systematised musical education: ‘Music as an agent of social development in the highest sense because it transmits the highest social values such as solidarity, harmony and mutual compassion, and it has the ability to unite an entire community and express sublime feelings,’ Abreu says. He strongly believes in the transformative power of classical music which is at the core of the system; the children are also taught the work of Latin American composers and Venezuelan folk musicians. The El Sistema model operates around ‘Núcleos’ – community-based centres which offer orchestral and choral programmes. Children from disadvantaged neighbourhoods are encouraged to join the programme from as young as two years of age, beginning with musical basics such as clapping in time and learning rhythms. From the age of four they are taught the basics of how to play an instrument. The group nature of orchestral and choral work necessarily demands interaction, and learning to work and play together which

Musicality 2011


?ZeeZ=^\]HX]dda[dg<^gah Jeppe High School for Girls is a well established school that offers quality education. We believe in a holistic approach and it is pleasing to see so many of our girls taking part in the cultural activities offered at the school. Music is offered as a subject for Matric at the school and forms part of the “everyday life” at Jeppe Girls, with extra-mural activities including the Jeppe Band; string ensemble; junior, senior, chamber and traditional choirs; and the junior and senior drumming groups. Our choirs and musicians perform at all major school events including the annual Flower Show, Open Day, Concert in the Park and Carol Service. The Winter Soiree is also one of the highlights on our calendar. This annual concert gives our Grade 12 learners an opportunity to perform their final examination repertoire while also showcasing a guest artist. The well known guitar duo CH2 performed at the last soiree. The Music Department comprises four permanent staff members: Elize Kruger (HOD and piano), Bruce Verity (wind instruments), Henning Rüst (piano) and Michele Corbin (voice). With over 200 students from Grade 8 to 12 doing Music as a subject, instrumental tuition is offered in piano, keyboard, recorder, flute, clarinet, saxophone, violin, guitar and voice. Students are entered for UNISA, Trinity and ABRSM examinations. Dominique Deysel, one of our Grade 12 voice students, was the overall winner of the voice category at the Johannesburg Festival of Music in 2010. Many other students were entered for eisteddfods and produced fantastic results. Many of our music students show an amazing passion for music. Mbali Hlatshwayo is one such learner. She chose to learn piano in Grade 8. As she didn’t have a piano at home, Mbali promised to practise at school every day. To our delight, she made excellent progress and worked hard at every free moment – before, during and after school. She was very worried about the fact that she wouldn’t be able to practise during the five-week school holiday in June 2010. To our amazement, when Mbali returned to school on the 13 July, she requested a new music book, saying she could play everything in the old book. How did she do it? She painstakingly made herself a keyboard out of cardboard, painted it black and white, and practised all of the songs on this. As soon as she had access to a piano again, she translated what she had learnt mechanically into physical playing, hearing for the first time what the music sounded like. On hearing her story, members from the audience at the Winter Soiree raised funds to hire a piano for Mbali. It has been transported to her house and tuned. She is delighted. We are very proud to host the prestigious Philip H Moore Music Competition, which ran for its fifth consecutive year in 2010. This national competition for solo performers up to the age of 23 is privately sponsored by Victoria Bennett and Norma Moore. At the Gala evening of 2010, Lovemore Music donated an electronic piano to our Music Department and Music Mate sponsored some of the prizes. We are very excited to announce that this competition will be extended to choirs this year. The IVUMO choir competition will take place on 6 August 2011. Prize money exceeds R40 000 and CASIO will be sponsoring a digital keyboard to each of the winning schools. IZa/%&&+&+*%.%$&q;Vm/%&&+&++%%%q@Zch^c\idc!?d]VccZhWjg\/dgegd5_ZeeZ\^gah#Xd#oV!  E]^aa^e=BddgZ$>kjbdXdbeZi^i^dc/k^Xidg^V5bnXdccZXi^dc#Xd#oVqlll#_ZeeZ\^gah#Xd#oV

Musicality 2011

25 Sir Simon Rattle and The Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra of Venezuela.

in turn engenders improved community relations. El Sistema has coined the term, ‘communitarian development’ to describe this process. Dr Abreu has earned a UNESCO International Music Award amongst other accolades for his groundbreaking and courageous musical ‘social work’. It is with thanks to him that Venezuela now has over 176 orchestras for children, 216 for young people, and 400 more ensembles, orchestras and choirs. Chief among these is the world famous Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela passionately conducted by El

“El Sistema currently has approximately 300 000 children actively participating in the system”

Sistema graduate, Gustavo Dudamel. The Youth Orchestra tours the world, often, performing more than professional orchestras in a single year. They have played to great acclaim at Carnegie Hall in London and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles among many other notable venues. Standing ovations from seasoned musical devotees have become the norm wherever they perform, with a 2007 BBC Proms concert inspiring the ‘Mexican Wave’ around London’s Royal Albert Hall. 26

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The Orchestra is distinctive, donning their Venezuelan flag-inspired jackets during performances. With years of musical training and experience behind them, the orchestra members are uninhibited in displaying their talent and joy in music, tapping their instruments on the floor, standing up, dancing in circles and moving with the music. The Orchestra is also famed for its magnificent renditions of Leonard Bernstein’s music for West Side Story. Conductor, Gustavo Dudamel is an El Sistema megasuccess story. He has wowed audiences around the world with his virtuoso skill, energy and passion, conducting the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela and the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. He is currently the music director of the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (GSO) and will be taking up the post of Honorary Conductor for the GSO in the 2012/13 season. He first came to the world’s attention when he won the inaugural Bamberg Symphony’s Gustav Mahler Conducting Competition in 2004 at the age of 23. He has an exclusive recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon and releases new albums on a regular basis. Himself a child of poverty who grew up in a ‘bad’ neighbourhood, he says of El Sistema, ‘The music saved me.’ It enabled him to ‘get far, far away from all these bad things.’ Of his achievements with the Youth Orchestras he is modest – ‘It’s easy, the kids are very open,’ he says. Edicson Ruiz is another El Sistema success story. He began playing double-bass at the age of eleven. At 15 he won first prize at the International Society of Bassists’ competition

Music at Kingsmead College Kingsmead College has an active and busy music department that encourages all girls to discover their talents. A vibrant and inspiring group of professional teachers, all specialists in their fields, aim to stimulate their pupils to achieve to the best of their abilities while having fun. From Grade 000 to Grade 7, girls have class music where they are exposed to a wide variety of activities and experiences with the emphasis on fostering a love and understanding for music. In Grade 8 and 9 girls have a weekly music lesson as part of the Arts & Culture course, and from Grade 10, girls have the option of taking Music as one of their seven, or as an eighth or ninth subject. The Music curriculum includes improvisation, composition, arrangement, software, and an overview of a wide variety of musical styles. Creativity and critical, comparative and analytical thinking are encouraged and developed. All girls from Grade 0 to Grade 12 are encouraged to learn a musical instrument. Among those offered are piano, violin, flute, recorder, fife, clarinet, saxophone, brass, classical and contemporary guitar, bass guitar and drums. Girls enter external examinations and participate in external orchestras, eisteddfods, festivals and competitions. Concerts and interschool events provide further performance opportunities. Group activities are offered to help the students bring music to life. These take the form of choirs, ensembles, orchestras, bands, and marimba and drumming groups. Annual productions in the junior and senior school further encourage participation and provide great fun and interaction with the Drama and Art departments. The success of the department lies in giving all girls the opportunity to experience and participate, and providing a platform on which the truly talented and dedicated girls can excel and achieve to their full potential. Tel: 011 731 7300 fax: 011 731 7399

Guarico Concert - The White Hands Chorus

“I would say in my experience, there is no more important work being done in music now than is being done in Venezuela”

in Indianapolis. Two years later, at only 17 years old, he became a member of the Berlin Philharmonic’s double bass section – the youngest member ever. Currently he is also pursuing a career as a soloist. El Sistema cellist, Yolena Orea Sánchez won a 2008 contest to play with the Strasburg Philharmonic Orchestra in France, being chosen for the lone vacant position over 40 other accomplished cellists from around the world. Sánchez has also won two other contests: one to play with the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich for one year; and the 28

Musicality 2011

second one to join the Basel Symphony Orchestra, as part of their Praktikum programme. Through El Sistema she was a member of the National Youth and Children’s Symphony Orchestra, the Mérida State Symphony and the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. While the end goal of El Sistema is not just to create professional musicians and conductors, this rigorous and engaging music system is bringing the world some of its newest, most exciting, technical and artistic talents. Sir Simon Rattle, Principal Conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra: ‘I would say in my experience, there is no more important work being done in music now than is being done in Venezuela.’ Operating under a social development ministry and not under an arts and culture ministry, which some say has ensured its continuation and success, El Sistema emphasises ensemble work subscribing to a ‘passion first/ refinement second’ ethos. The children are encouraged to enjoy the music and later learn the finer elements of technique. They start with simple arrangements and learn to play masterworks

Pridwin Music Department – where learning to make music is loads of fun! Pridwin is an Independent, Christian Preparatory School situated in Melrose, Johannesburg with just over 300 boys aged from 5 to 13 years. The school supports a lively music department, led by Debby O’Regan and staffed by professional musicians who teach the boys on their individual instruments. At Pridwin we strive to unlock and develop every child’s musical potential. Class Music Music concepts are taught through a skills-based curriculum to boys from Grade 0 to 6 using music from diverse African and Western cultures.

Choral Music The Junior and Senior choirs provide the opportunity for everyone to sing. They take part in local and, when the opportunity arises, international festivals and competitions. The choirs provide music at the chapel services on Fridays.

Instrumental Music Group instruction in recorder is given to the boys in Grade 2 and 3. Private instruction is offered in woodwind, brass, piano, guitar, drums, traditional African instruments, voice and music theory by professional staff members who prepare the boys for music exams as well as eisteddfods and music competitions. Group music-making is encouraged through various instrumental ensembles, African Orchestra, Recorder, Jazz and Rock bands.

Performances Performing opportunities range from intimate classroom performances to lunch hour concerts, soirées and chapel performances to concerts in the wider community and overseas

Pridwin P’zazz (Pridwin Preparatory School Jazz Band and African Ensemble) Pridwin P’zazz is a constantly evolving group of young musicians aged between 10 and 13 years. The size and composition of the group changes from year to year as the older boys leave for high school and the younger ones become eligible to join. The 2011 line-up presents an exciting development with the addition of traditional African instruments to the core of woodwind and brass players in the band as well as the collaboration with the African Orchestra, which brings an element of indigenous music as well as the fusion of cultures, to the repertoire.

Pridwin P’zazz Jazz Band regularly takes part in local music festivals, such as the annual Johannesburg Festival for the Advancement of Music where it has achieved top honours, including the Hester Reinders Trophy for the best group overall. In 2008, together with the African Ensemble it won first prize in the category Folklore Ensemble at the 37th Youth and Music in Vienna Festival and Competition, in Austria. The groups meet weekly to rehearse and whether it is together or separately, the approach remains the same: striving for excellence whilst having fun with the music-making process. Musicality 2011

Tel: 011 788 1116 Fax: 011 442 6398 |


Dr José Antonio Abreu at the TED Awards.

© Wikimedia Commons

as they progress over the years. Gustavo Dudamel sums it up thus: ‘We have lived our whole lives inside these pieces. When we play Beethoven’s Fifth, it is the most important thing happening in the world.’ El Sistema has an established national musical curriculum which each Núcleos adheres to but there is also room for creative local music leaders to customise the programme for their area. Key factors in the programme include group learning, peer teaching and commitment. Studying music is not a simple ad hoc pastime; it requires a serious level of commitment from the children and their parents. El Sistema acknowledges this, ensuring home visits to families whose children wish to join the system in order to clearly delineate the system’s requirements. Teachers also advise parents on how best to support and encourage their child’s practice. Added incentive to families is a stipend paid to their children if they join a city or youth orchestra. After learning the initial musical basics of the programme, children begin playing their first instruments – the recorder and percussion. They are encouraged to keep their bodies moving and active while playing – a hallmark of El Sistema’s orchestras. Early instrumental work includes 30

Musicality 2011

focusing on playing a single note in a group in order to develop a sense of quality of sound. Each child attends three levels of practice on a weekly basis: full ensemble work, section work and private lessons and is expected to practice at home. Learning the full standard music notation occurs progressively through their years in the system. At the age of seven, children can choose their first string or wind instrument. They are also encouraged to join a choir. Venezuela has a proliferation of national, city and youth orchestras and choirs which have developed as a result of El Sistema over the last few decades. Notable amongst these are: the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, the Simón Bolívar Youth Symphony Band, the Simón Bolívar Big-Band Jazz, the Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, the Venezuelan Brass Ensemble, Francisco de Miranda Youth Symphony Orchestra, the White Hands Chorus, Caracas Symphony Youth Orchestra and several penitentiary symphony orchestras. Disabled children are also not forgotten, with the White Hands Chorus the preeminent ensemble of the Special Education Program. The children wear white gloves when they perform with their hands, creating a unique experience.


In the system the students own music playing and singing practice is organically integrated with both performing before an audience and being audience members themselves for local performances, and national orchestra and choir performances. As a result they learn to deal with the pressure of live, formal performance and learn from both their peers and older, more experienced and accomplished students in the system. Their musical practice allows the students a place of daily activity that reduces time spent on the streets and the negative influences of their impoverished neighbourhoods. Discipline is enforced, learning is encouraged and above all the joy of creative inspiration and self expression of the musical art form. Dr Abreu firmly believes that ‘A sense of harmony, a sense of order, implicit in the rhythm, a sense of the aesthetic, the beautiful, the universal and the language of the invisible’ is experienced by every child in the system. The story of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras of Venezuela has been captured in the documentary film, To Play and to Fight (2006). It includes interviews with Dr Abreu and other musical luminaries such as Eduardo Mata, Simon Rattle, Giuseppe Cinopoli and Claudio Abbado. The film captures the ‘power of ensemble music to dramatically change the life trajectory of hundreds of thousands of a nation’s youth while transforming the communities around them.’ CBS’s 60 Minutes has featured Dr Abreu, the programme and Gustavo Dudamel too on several occasions. In 2009 Dr Abreu was awarded the TED Prize, winning $100 000 to implement some of his musical wishes. Dudamel was named one of the top 100 most influential people in 2009 by Time magazine. Around the world, countries, governments and musical organisations are recognising the social and musical benefits of El Sistema and are either initiating or researching the establishment of their own musical education programmes based on this system. El Sistema USA has already been established and 25 musical projects have begun in countries such as India, Canada, Jamaica, Korea, Portugal and England to name a few. Essentially the Fundación del Estado para el Sistema Nacional de las Orquestas Juveniles e Infantiles de Venezuela is ‘the story of the orchestra as a school of social life.’ It has had interesting spin-offs too, with the demand for instruments constantly growing, artisans skilled in instrument-making are finding a steady stream of work and orchestral music has become the music ‘of the people’ obliterating preconceived notions of Classical music as something only for the elite. ‘Rhythm is the internal pulse of the soul,’ according to maestro Abreu. El Sistema has certainly been about addressing this and transforming the lives of impoverished children, creating beautiful music and developing a more positive sense of community throughout myriad cities and towns in Venezuela. What’s more, it also ‘transforms the public that hears it’ – according to BBC News, Placido Domingo was moved to tears by one of the youth orchestra’s performances in 2005. One cannot help but wonder what could be achieved in South Africa with such a system. 32

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Gustavo Dudamel conducts the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela. 20 June 2010. Gran Teatro Nacional de la Opera. Varsovia - Polonia. Image: © Fesnojiv.gob

© www.fesnojiv.gob

The Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra of Venezuela made its Berlin debut under the baton of Sir Simon Rattle and Christian Vásquez.

© www.fesnojiv.gob

The Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra triumphs at the Konzerthaus proms



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February 2011 Musicality  

CLASSICFEEL is due to publish the second Musicality supplement in late 2011. The first issue focused on music education as an essential elem...

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