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Music Education in South Africa
Music students performing on stage Music students performing on stage

Music Education in South Africa

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    8

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    9

Volunteering in white river

CMDA – a real benefit for South Africa's youth

As a teacher and musician I'm very concerned about the young generation and how to motivate them to find a purpose in their life.
For two weeks I had the opportunity to volunteer at the CMDA in White River, a non-profit Music Academy that helps children and young adults to develop their musical talents in order to be able to perform in shows, earn some money with it and maybe even get a start as professional musicians. But the benefit of the music programs offered is big since it affects the young people's whole environment and their life perspectives. For playing music and being part of a band a lot of skills such as persistency, patience, empathy, team work and reliability are asked for and fostered, all of them essential in order to be successful in life.

Casterbridge Music Development Academy (CMDA)

The CMDA is located in White River where students aged 18 – 30 are enrolled in a full-time music development program. All the courseware is hosted on an e-learning platform called “2enable”. Therefore the students are mostly working independently on computers that are provided by the CMDA in the mornings.
As a volunteer I was able to help students working on the music theory, mentoring them and also mark their portfolio work.
In the afternoons the students are formed in bands where they rehearse songs that are somehow connected to Africa but also work on their own musical ideas and create their own songs.
It's amazing what good musicians these students already! It was a huge pleasure to attend their band rehearsals, bring in my experience as a musician and some ideas how to improve their songs or their performing.
During my stay there were two shows they held and it was just fantastic!

Marimba classes in township communities

The most impressive projects in my opinion are the Marimba classes based in Mashishing, Masoyi and Zwelisha, three townships around White River. Offered as an after-school program kids learn to play the Marimba and play traditional African songs.
Leader and manager of the band is Dan Kusaya who is also bandleader/songwriter and manager of the Minanzi Mbira Band, a cool mix between modern drum'n'bass and traditional African music. Dan is highly respected among the youngsters since for them he is not only a teacher but also a friend and role model they can look up to. He doesn't get paid to work with the kids due to the limited budget of the CMDA. Nevertheless, he does all this work because he believes in the potential of those kids and that music can make a difference in their lives.
Once they are good enough they have the opportunity to play in the Marimba band. These youngsters are playing so well that it is a huge pleasure not only to listen to the band but also to watch them dancing and singing while playing the Marimba.
I was there three times and also had the opportunity to accompany them to a gig which was amazing!

Get the bands playing!

What I’ve learnt out of this is that being part of a band and playing concerts is the essential thing in their hard and difficult lives, giving them not only a meaningful purpose but joy, hope and even a little bit of money. That’s why I’m doing here also some propaganda in their behalf.
Maybe you have connections to South Africa or to people who organize music festivals. Giving the bands opportunities to play their wonderful music can really make a difference.
It's the great small things that help to make our world a better place – so get the bands playing!

Get in contact!

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

Casterbridge music development academy- music volunteering

I truly enjoyed my time volunteering with the Casterbridge Music Development Academy. I loved getting to know the students and staff and applying my music teaching skills in a totally new way. The students there are so eager to learn, and the environment in which we stayed was very enjoyable. I loved every minute of this program and recommend it with the highest regards.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Engagement

    10

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    10

South African volunteering experience

I have nothing negative to say about my time volunteering through Performing Arts Abroad in South Africa. My trip was amazing! The people were friendly! I felt safe the entire time! And gained so much knowledge!

Overall Rating

9/ 10

  • Volunteer Placement

    9

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Community Engagement

    8

  • Health & Safety

    10

  • Day to Day Life

    5

Making music under African skies

My three weeks'at the Casterbridge Centre for Musical Development in Mpumalanga South Africa were a wonderful blend of teaching and learning. I enjoyed assisting the instructors in teaching music theory, doing impromptu music workshops in primary and secondary schools, helping students with piano and recorder, editing music theory online learning materials, and meeting musicians from South Africa and Zimbabwe with whom I was able to jam and to exchange ideas, thoughts, and feelings about what it means to be a musician anywhere in the world -- what connects us all. Though it was my first time in South Africa, my experiences of living and traveling in other parts of Africa meant that everything was in some ways familiar and in other ways brand new -- but I felt at home and at peace wherever I went. My hosts were wonderfully hospitable. If I had hoped to spend the entire time focusing on playing and teaching violin (that's my main instrument) I might have been disappointed -- but for me, since my main goal was to connect with musicians, play different styles of music, share what I know and learn from others, everything worked out very well.