“Institutionalised education is about money. True education is about love and it is FREE. That’s what I got from Max Roach.” Zim Ngqawana

Music Education and the Mentorship Approach

The body is a musical instrument Nature is a musical instrument and life is the harmony of these instruments at play together. Music is a vibration like light and colour, but in a different spectrum, the musical spectrum. Music is informed by harmony which informs beauty. And beauty can have a very positive effect on health and well-being in all spectrums. Thus even though there is no hierarchy in music and harmony, this is why music is said to be the mother of all arts. However not all music is music and therefore healing. “The word heal has the same origin as the word whole.” The healing effects of music are shown in the 'Mozart effect' which has documented how the listening to classical music enhances development in children. Even though not as well documented, the same 'healing' effects on children can be found through poly rhythmic African music. And at a social level, large scale healing of an alchemical nature was achieved in jazz in South Africa by Winston Munkunku. And at a spiritual level it is said how the strumming of a single stringed lyre inspired the Buddha to create the middle path, his philosophy that lead to the practice of Buddhism today. Music heals at all levels and is a tool of transformation. At a personal level, it creates an alchemy of moving out of the lead-weight of the ego into the golden magic of the heart. Music inspires love and through love everything is possible. Because love develops an intuition and this becomes the seat of learning. There are no divisions, limitations or restrictions in love. It is available to each and every person when and once they decide to turn to it. The power of music is developed through attention intention. The musical instrument is a friend and teacher to the music learner. There are three categories of musical instruments. Strings which resonate particular with the heart region of the human body. Woodwind which resonates particularly with the head and mind of the human body and percussion instruments which resonates particularly with the limbs. A musical instrument is a little like love itself in that there are no restrictions to what it can be. The instrument is a channel for the expression of the person who is playing it. And therefore it is instrument that is not only an instrument of music but it is an instrument of transformation and healing, to the whole person united in body, mind, spirit and soul; and united in humanity. There are no restrictions nor limitations in music. It exists in its infinity and eternity from the most simple structures to the most complex structures and neither side is more nor less rewarding. Thus it is said that music is a universal language. For some it is ancient, for some it is heriditory, for some it is taught and for some it is self-taught. But for one and all it must be developed and cannot be taken for granted.

A case study in mentorship: 

Trumpeter Eric Duma from KwaZulu Natal begin his artistic career as a dancer. When he converted to playing trumpet he stayed with Rob Amato. He cites Feya Faku and Elias Ngidi as teachers of his. Eric is founder of the Newlands East Jazz Festival, performer in the South African army band and he plays with various bands from KZN. In 2009 Eric began teaching author of the Story of SA Jazz Struan Douglas to play trumpet at the Stable Theatre. The journey continues.


Allen Kwela


Mac Mckenzie


Moses Molelekwa


Rob and Airto