Change the world


Over the past fifty years the tertiary department has grown from a relatively small entity specialising in piano and organ, to a department with more than 200 students, with a diverse offering of undergraduate degree and diploma programmes as well as a strong postgraduate offering. The department has a wide array of ensemble participation available to students. Apart from the Nelson Mandela University Choir, there are the Nelson Mandela University Flute Ensemble, the Nelson Mandela University Horn Ensemble, the Nelson Mandela University Brass Ensemble, the Nelson Mandela University Strings, the Nelson Mandela University Wind Symphony, the Nelson Mandela University Symphony Orchestra, the Nelson Mandela University Big Band and various voice and jazz ensembles. 

A new Nelson Mandela University Conservatoire of Music has been established at Bird Street, which is a remarkable return to its roots. Also housed on the Bird Street Campus will be an Nelson Mandela University Art Gallery and postgraduate activities from the Arts Department. 

The Department also hosts the Port Elizabeth Music Society in the South Campus auditorium for their series of concerts as well as successful programmes of lunch hour concerts by Nelson Mandela University students. 

There are certain imperatives in the holistic training required for a graduate to succeed in the workplace. A graduate needs to be a competent performing musician, have a solid theoretical basis and a good sense of musical context to start off with. For this reason we make practical music, theory of music and history of music our core compulsory modules that are embellished with other musical skills. These modules are offered in Western Music as well as Jazz Music. 

On a postgraduate level we have over the years produced several dissertations dealing with aspects, underpinned by Jazz Music. Culture is a living animal and music is an ever evolving art form. To this end we believe the way forward is in the creation and commissioning of new music in all genres to include elements that speak to our environment. We therefore believe it is not necessary to negate all the instrumental training methods and music gained over the years but rather a converged future for music, where we are still relevant to the modern world but displays of musical elements influenced by our African context is prevalent. 

We have also made several contributions to humanising the pedagogy. In the 1990’s we introduce a three-year Diploma qualification that gives access to tertiary music education to students that were previously excluded because of the lack of previous music tuition. This Diploma qualification has recently been recurriculated to better suit our current student market and to articulate better with our BMus programmes. Our MOU with the Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra and the Port Elizabeth Opera House provide performing opportunities for our staff and students and is critical in the musical life of the metro. The ECPO development programme is crucial in their tuition and support for our future students in township areas.



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Contact information
Mrs Nicky Bosman
Secretary: Department of Music
Tel: 27 41 504-4235