For Marlise Theron, creating music daily is not the only driving force in her life anymore. Spending time teaching music to young children in the Cloetesville community has brought her a deeper appreciation for her craft and also a sense of purpose to share that passion with others less fortunate than herself.
Theron, who hails from Stellenbosch, was awarded the degree of BMus in Music Education cum laude at Stellenbosch University's graduation ceremony for the Faculty of Arts and Social Science on Thursday (13 December). She is also a recipient of the 2018 Conservatoire Stipendium, which is the Music Department's highest award for its most exceptional student.
Says Theron: “My whole life is steeped in music. I'm really passionate about music and music education. I'm very lucky in the sense that my passion is something that I study and it's something that I unwind with and share with other people."
Theron, along with other students of the Music Department participated in the ATKV's Abbasorg and Rietenbosch Project during the course of their studies. This project respectively caters to preschool students and elementary school learners from the Cloetesville community. It was started by Danell Muller, a lecturer at SU's Music Department, who along with Theron, Rozelle Wilken, Jolandi Hanekom, Chandre Windvogel, Rachel Mertens and Jessica October, helped to raise some R60,000 for the Rietenbosch Primary School by means of a music concert.
Says Theron: “Music education is such a rich field. I think it's a noble art to practise, because you have a huge responsibility to carry on making music and convey it to the next generation.
Apart from her involvement in the Rietenbosch Project, she also helped to organise and facilitate the 2018 Con Serve Eisteddfod for the broader Stellenbosch community, where among 80 participants a 76-year old woman from the Stellenbosch community made her debut. It has become quite clear that her work in Cloetesville has helped to build mutual trust and sound relationships between people, eradicating barriers that have kept communities apart for too long.
Theron elaborates: “Music lessons can be seen as a privilege and not an essential for many people. At times when you are a music student it can feel as if you are living in a bubble, where you practice your instrument, and you are fully involved in your own professional music-making world. The ATKV Abbasorg and Rietenbosch Project is a wonderful community initiative and it was a fantastic experience to be part of."
Theron believes that more music students should consider studying Music Education as it gives one a larger perspective on life and is a wonderful and enriching experience.
She makes her point as follows: “Unfortunately there are still not many people opting for music education. The future for music education in this country is so incredibly rich and the opportunities are absolutely endless. Studying music education really makes one such a complete musician. There's a misconception that those who do performance have made it, while those who study music education have not made it. However, when you study music education, it does not prevent you to still continue with your music career and it opens a bigger musical world to you."
Theron has been accepted to study for an Honours degree in Violin performance in 2019, and she fervently hopes to continue sharing her passion for music with the greater Stellenbosch community.
Photo by Stefan Els.