Transforming higher education in South Africa through the creation of a music industry related Baccalaureate
Leal, Sheldon Rocha
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This study has endeavoured to establish how the creation of a music industry (MI) related baccalaureate could transform higher music education (HME) in South Africa (SA) to better prepare graduates for jobs in the MI. The project set out to meet its objectives through a sixphase process, as follows: (I) In the first phase, a background study was conducted to determine the prevalence of MI qualifications. The size of the creative industry and its employment trends, opportunities and capacity were determined. Finally, trends in creative education and education, in general, were established. (II) In the second phase, the curriculum was defined, various curriculum development and design methodologies were scrutinised, prominent educational reforms were interrogated, the South African educational structures were reviewed and higher music educational pathways, structures and trends were investigated. (III) In the third phase, different music industry degrees, hosted at universities internationally, were inspected and reviewed to establish the content, assessment, outcomes, aims, rules of engagement, module distribution, articulation and generally to determine how these qualifications are constructed. (IV) In the fourth phase, a needs assessment was conducted, in which I assembled and interviewed a group of 10 leading South African music industry stakeholders. In the interview process, I undertook to determine if a need exists for a music industry degree for the South African context, the needs of the South African music industry and the transformative value of such a qualification for students, the business and music education (ME). (V) Following from the findings of phases I-IV, I designed a curriculum framework based on research conducted and suggestions offered by the stakeholder group. (VI) In the sixth phase, an additional group of South African music industry insiders was interviewed to gain further comments on the form and structure of the framework, and to establish if, in their expert opinions, the curriculum designed would have a transformative effect on ME, graduates and the music industry in South Africa. Finally, based on the research conducted and stakeholder groups consulted, conclusions and recommendations were made. The designed framework was created to inspire discussion regarding the introduction of MI education in SA and may result in the creation of an MI related qualification. Various elements of the framework aimed specifically to encourage transformation, open up HME to a broader audience and better prepare graduates for non-performing careers in music. These may be summarised as follows: (a) As the qualification is not strictly a music qualification, the lowering of the barrier to entry is justifiable, as students do not require prior access to a formal ME which will make the programme more accessible than typical degrees in music, to a more significant and diverse number of students, ensuring the future sustainability of music departments. (b) The practical application of work taught in class, through interventions such as internships, will give students access to interactions with music students and the music profession, allowing them to gain a greater understanding of the interdisciplinary nature of the industry. This practical application will instil in them the ability to be adaptable and flexible in this continually evolving industry and will improve their chances of finding gainful employment which will also result in a dynamic and flexible curriculum that will remain in tune with current developments, because of its consistent interaction with the MI. (c) By having access to entrepreneurial and humanities training, students will be able to better lead the industry, by identifying gaps in the market, establishing structures to deal with these gaps, generating more significant employment opportunities and having access to a more profound depth of knowledge, allowing them to be more creative. (d) Finally, students will have access to music creation modules, giving them a better understanding of the music creation process, facilitating communication between the industry and creatives, allowing for the creation of more internationally competitive output and individuals who are more invested in promoting musicians’ creative output. Based on the above and through a process of consultation with the two sample groups, it was concluded that the introduction of an MI related baccalaureate at SA universities might have a transformative effect on HME, the MI and graduates seeking employment.
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