Music is one of the more beautiful aspects that comprise a country’s culture. For students of music, studying abroad in a place such as South Africa is the opportunity to explore not only the country’s modern musical traditions and styles, but also those of the native people who have inhabited the region for thousands of years.
The Republic of South Africa is an independent nation situated at the southern tip of the African continent. Bordered by both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, the country boasts nearly 1,800 miles of coastline. Its neighbors include the countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe to the north; Mozambique and Swaziland to the east; and within it lies Lesotho, an enclave surrounded by South African Territory. By total area, South Africa is the world’s 25th-largest country; and its population of roughly 53 million inhabitants makes it the 24th-most populated country on the globe.
South Africa has a very multiethnic and multicultural population, comprising a vast array of languages and religions. This diversity is reflected in the South African Constitution, which recognizes 11 official languages for the country. Two of these languages derive from Europe: English and Afrikaans, the latter originating from Dutch and serving as the first language of most of the population. English is also widely used in public and commercial life, though informally it only ranks as the 4th-most used language among the citizens.
Recently, South Africa was ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank, and is considered to be a newly industrialized country. Part of this success is a result of the vast amount of natural resources in the country, including gold, diamond and silver, but also attributing to its success is its ever-improving system of education, which is currently recognized as one of the best on the African continent.
Music Education in South Africa
Music is a very important part of the South African culture, and as such, Music Education is offered by most of the country’s major colleges and universities. In South Africa, the music degree curriculum attempts to give students a foundation in both theoretical studies and music skills, helping them to comprehend and appreciate music through an intellectual method. A degree program in music can help students develop their existing talent and add to their personal enjoyment of music. Some programs study music as an historic discipline, in which students are exposed to the music of different cultures and people from around the world and through certain periods of history.
Music education is offered at both the undergraduate and graduate level in South African universities, leading to Bachelor and Master’s degrees, respectively. Typically, the undergraduate program spans four years in duration, while the Master’s degree program generally takes an additional 2-3 years to complete, depending on the student and the university.
Some may consider the love for music as a leisure activity, but it can often lead to a career in the music industry. A degree program in music affords students the unique opportunity to explore the technical knowledge behind music: music theory, instruments, composition, general music performance, and more. Furthermore, due to increasing technological advances in the field, students can expect their studies to include components of computer based knowledge of music as well.
A formal degree in music can help separate you from the crowd in this competitive field and open doors that would otherwise be closed.
Why Study Abroad in South Africa
South Africa offers some of the best universities and most talented music instructors on the African continent, but the country also offers students many non-school-based opportunities and a chance to visit some of the country’s most interesting sites and attractions. Some of the more popular destinations in South Africa include:
Sun City Resort
Known locally as Africa’s Kingdom of Pleasure, Sun City Resort is a luxury casino and resort, situated about two hours’ drive from Johannesburg. The complex contains four hotels, two championship golf courses, two casinos, a splendid South African cultural village and more than 7,000 crocodiles within a sanctuary. The adjacent Pilanesberg Game Reserve is the most popular public Game Reserve in South Africa.
Blyde River Canyon
Blyde River Canyon is the second largest canyon in Africa, after the Fish River Canyon, although it is much greener due to its lush subtropical foliage. Walking treks through the rich diversity of flora and fauna filled canyon offer views of magnificent escarpments, waterfalls and ancient geological phenomenon. Visitors have the opportunity to encounter all five of South Africa’s primates here, as well as hippos and crocodiles near the wetlands of Swadini Dam.
Cape Wine Lands
The fertile valleys of the Cape Wine Lands are surrounded by majestic mountains, sleepy villages, brilliant monuments, fruitful orchards and some of the most picturesque scenery in South Africa. Students visiting here can follow the Wine Routes of the Cape and visit the vineyards of some of the country’s finest winemakers, where they’ll find sherries, ports, brandies, and intriguing whites and reds that are world famous for their delicate flavors and savory body.
Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve
Africa is a land bursting with interesting wildlife. As the only park under a formal conservation effort in KwaZulu Natal, where you can see the Big Five – lions, elephants, leopards, buffalo and rhinoceros – the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve offers visitors wildlife viewing opportunities that are guaranteed to amaze. Wildlife enthusiasts may enjoy the vast expanses of native plants and native animals during guided walks, self-guided drives, or opt for a thrilling viewing experience by boat along the Hluhluwe dam.