The Certificate Programme (CP) in Music Literacy at Stellenbosch University (SU) has received funding to ensure completion of the academic year despite the national lockdown.
According to Pamela Kierman, senior lecturer at SU's music department, the funding will ensure great success for their students. “The funds will be used to purchase laptops as most of our students are unable to afford their own. We, as the music department, have also purchased data for students in preparing for virtual learning."
Kierman says it is a dream come true for their funding application to be accepted as it will allow the programme to continue without disruption. “At the CP, we believe in 'access to all' because a large number of our students are adults who had already given up on life. This funding will help us in helping them realise their dreams of studying music."
Programme coordinator and senior music lecturer Felicia Lesch adds that they are in the process of ordering the laptops and tablets, which will remain the property of the CP but will be available to the students for use. “This is applicable to students on all campuses – the Stellenbosch campus, the military students and those at the Musiquelaine Project at Steenberg High School in Cape Town. Without access to laptops, teaching is not accessible to all," says Lesch.
“The CP is an opportunity for students to upgrade their practical and theoretical skills so that they can proceed to tertiary music studies. We want them to have the same access to their studies as other students on campus.
“While some of our students have access to the internet, many do not, and to allow them to continue with their lectures, we requested funding for laptops and were fortunate enough to be part of the group that received the R129 800 funding from the University," says Lesch.
Established in 1999, the Certificate Programme has been offering free music training to aspiring community musicians. According to Lesch, the programme is one of the largest recruitment pools at SU's music department.
She says the one-year part-time programme is a great opportunity for community musicians to enhance their music literacy skills. Lesch says the programme selects 20- 30 students yearly.
“Many of our students have gone on to achieve great success in their respective musical careers. We have also collaborated with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) in training military bandsmen."
The Certificate Programme has given birth to various community music organisations. Projects including the Liron School of Arts, Athlone Academy of Music (AAM), Overberg Koperblaasontwikkelingsprojek (OKOSI), West Coast Music Academy (WCMA), Musiquelaine SA Initiative: Steenberg High School Wind Band Project, Ronnie Samaai Music Education Project (RSMEP), Mitchells Plain Academy of Music and Arts (MPAMA) and many others who seek to transform communities through music.
For more information on the Certificate Programme, click here.