Master’s Student Graduates on a Musical Note
A passion for music and the Arts led to pianist Mr Sibusiso Mashiloane graduating cum laude with a Master of Music degree in Jazz Performance.
A part-time Lecturer in the Music discipline, Mashiloane is the first student who has progressed all the way from the one-year Music Foundation and Access Certificate to a three-year Diploma in Jazz and Popular Music and then onto a one-year Bachelor of Practical Music degree and finally a master’s degree.
‘This was the most challenging part of my masters because I didn’t have any references from previous students; basically I had to set the standard.’
Mashiloane developed an interest in the piano in 1997 when he was 13 years old, playing at church with the help of a senior church pianist, who taught him the fundamentals.
In 2001, he met a professional musician who was a student at Technikon Natal. ‘This guy performed sophisticated harmonies I had never before heard. I was so struck by his ability to perform popular jazz numbers just like on the original recordings. This was when I started asking questions and wanting to know more about how I could achieve his level of performance.’
After matric, Mashiloane auditioned at Technikon Natal and was accepted to study music. At the end of his third year he applied for an exchange programme offered at UKZN to study in America and was accepted by Rowan University in New Jersey.
In his current research work, he explored the topic of “Full Public Performance” as he saw the need to further develop his personal style in the context of current global practice in jazz and a South African heritage.
One of the highlights of his research was repertoire. He explained that each recital had its own special repertoire and each repertoire was designed to meet a specific technical challenge.
‘It wasn’t simply a matter of choosing pieces that I like; each item was deliberately selected because it contained specific aspects that I wanted to master. In this way each repertoire was intended to provide a platform for mastering the specific topic of each recital.’
Asked about his future plans, he said: ‘I generally feel that I need to get more experience by travelling and playing with different musicians and playing different traditional music before pursuing a PhD.’
- Melissa Mungroo