The Beau Soleil Music Centre established the MUSIC FOR AFRICA TRUST (BSMAT) in order to secure funding for the centre’s Development Projects, in order to make instrumental music tuition available to learners from previously disadvantaged communities. The following current projects fall under the BSMAT:
1. IFIDYOLI Development Project
2. The Ottery Road Methodist School Development Project
3. Westlake Primary School Development Project
Major achievements: Apart from frequent performances, some of the development pupils have taken music as a matric subject and are now studying at UCT and US, and performing semi-professionally. Three of these post-matric students have recently returned to teach in the IFIDYOLI project, under supervision of the Project Manager, Elzahn Johnson, and other experienced teachers.
Financial Features: The organization is a Registered Trust – Number IT 3480/2002, regular accounting practices are employed in the organization and provision is made for an annual audit.
The Beau Soleil Music Centre was started in 1982 by the Western Cape Education Department to meet the needs of specialised instrumental music tuition in the Cape Town area. In 1999 the Music Centre’s development programme was initiated to meet the growing need for instrumental music tuition in previously disadvantaged communities. The Beau Soleil Music for Africa Trust (BSMAT) was formed in 2003 in order to raise the desperately needed funds to support this developmental programme.
Late in 1999 Ms Kathleen Garrity, a violin teacher at the Beau Soleil Music Centre, began to teach some children from Khayelitsha, a sub-economic housing area close to Cape Town. Starting with an initial group of 16 pupils, violin classes were held on Saturday mornings as a parallel programme at the Music Centre. In the group lessons Ms Garrity developed a unique and very effective teaching method that involved lots of action and interaction between the students. Initially they learnt folk songs from around the world but especially local South African melodies. After a relatively short time they were proficient enough to play at concerts. The group soon became known as the “Ifidyoli Ensemble” as a Xhosa word for violin is ifidyoli.
Gradually those who were doing well were given the opportunity to come to the Centre on weekday afternoons to have individual lessons with some of the best instrumental teachers available in Cape Town. As more teachers became involved, the children had the chance to learn other string instruments such as cello and double bass as well.
In order to make this possible for these children, all of whom are from previously disadvantaged communities and with weak financial backgrounds, transport to the Music Centre was paid for out of the Centre’s funds. Those pupils who reach a sufficient proficiency are integrated in the mainstream programme at Beau Soleil, contributing further to the social integration of all our learners around a common passion.
It is well documented and universally accepted that a musical education contributes significantly to a child’s development, contributing to the development of mental discipline, motor, emotional, social and cognitive skills, construction of identity, self definition, self confidence and cultural confidence and an enjoyment of life. Through the BSMAT development projects, the Music Centre seeks to extend these benefits to learners who would otherwise be excluded.