Since the Department of Music was instituted in 1971, the Music staff have served as pioneers in South Africa in the fields of ethno-musicology, jazz, music technology, African practical music-making, popular music studies, and opera as well as by introducing access courses and taught post-graduate courses.
We are known both nationally and internationally for our creative work and our published research in the fields mentioned above and in other fields, including musicology and music composition. We are experienced, caring teachers, and we have developed a wide variety of academic offerings and community-oriented programmes and projects (including a series of lunch-hour and other concerts, Ukusa, the Centre for Jazz and Popular Music, OSCA, and the African Music Project). We host visits from a number of lecturers and performers from abroad each year, visitors who contribute to the education of our students by means of lectures, workshops, recitals, and master classes.
Serving approximately 260 undergraduate and 50 graduate students at present, we are small enough to be a friendly place where students and staff can all get to know and learn from each other and yet large enough for us to provide a wide variety of courses and other opportunities for learning. Our current students have come from all over South Africa and from Botswana, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Eritrea, Germany, Canada, and the USA. We have cooperative agreements with the Virginia Commonwealth University, Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada, Edith Cowan University in Australia, Göteborg University in Sweden, and the University of California in the USA, and we are actively pursuing possible agreements with other institutions in America, Africa, Australia, and Europe.
Our teaching encourages students to think critically about the role music plays in society and about its function in fostering personal and social identity and empowerment, and it helps students to develop the skills they require in order to earn their living by creating music, teaching, doing socially valuable research, working in sound studios, and contributing to community projects.