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Music students learn from the very best

by Gerrit Bester

To be the best, one must learn from the best. That’s exactly what students from the Department of Performing Arts (Music) did the last couple of weeks when three international musicians visited their shores at the Faculty of Arts and Design.

Prof James Ford from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), joined by Prof Andre Hayward, also from UCLA, and Myka Miller (University of Southern California), coached music students on how to prepare and repertoire, etc.

Prof Ford is a well-known trumpetist who performs with Grammy award winning artists Michael Buble, Jeff Hamilton and the John Clayton Big Band. He also works with UNISA music community programmes in Soshanguve.

Prof Hayward is a jazz trombonist, brass specialist and expert in jazz improvisation, while Miller plays the oboe/English horn, and flute, mostly in the Afro-Latin music genre. Prof Hayward is also a current member of the Duke Ellington Orchestra, a former member of the Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis, and a current teacher at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.

Miller is the Executive Director of the Guitar Center Music Foundation, a non-profit organisation established in April of 2001 with a vision of serving the cultural and artistic needs of underprivileged children in the Los Angeles area.

“This collaborative effort between the University and the visiting educators is not only enriching the musical landscape but also fostering hope and opportunities for aspiring musicians in South Africa,” says Dr Roland Moses of the TUT Department of Performing Arts, who played a leading role in facilitating the visit.

"The visiting music professors, hailing from prestigious institutions, bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the workshops they presented at the University. Their passion for music and dedication to education are evident in the way they engage with the students."

Dr Moses adds that the impact of these workshops goes beyond music theory and performance.

"They are proving to be a powerful means of empowerment for the students. Many of them come from challenging backgrounds, where opportunities for artistic expression and personal growth are limited. The workshops not only expose them to the technical aspects of jazz but also encourage creativity, collaboration and self-confidence. In addition, aspects of career goals, real-world experiences and time management were discussed to help students maintain their focus on their studies and maximise this study opportunity. Students were also advised on overseas study opportunities and on the various funding avenues," Dr Moses concludes.

Photographed in front of the Winston Mankunku Ngozi Building on the Arts Campus, which houses the TUT Music programme, are (from left) Prof Andre Hayward, Hugo de Waal (TUT Department of Performing Arts), Dr Roland Moses (TUT Department of Performing Arts, who played a leading role in facilitating the visit), Myka Miller, Lanie van der Walt (TUT Department of Performing Arts), and Prof James Ford.

Prof Andre Hayward during the workshops with Music students.


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