An investigation of the mentorship programme of the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra : a case for the adoption of an experiential learning model
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The National Cadetship Programme (NCP) is part of a comprehensive Education and Development Programme within the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra (KZNPO). The NCP offers promising young South African players focused coaching and first hand experience of playing in a professional orchestra. One of its main aims is to increase the number of South African musicians in the pool of present and future orchestra musicians. However, though the NCP has been in existence for just over ten years, the demographic representation of the KZNPO remains largely unchanged. This research investigated whether it is necessary to make changes to the NCP in order for it to be more effective. It began by revealing the intended overall structure of the Programme through interviews with the orchestra management, comparing it to what is actually happening, and discussing the implications that this has for learning within the Programme. It also obtained the expectations of the various participants of the NCP regarding the educational process, and evaluated the level at which these expectations were being met. Further, it analysed the reasons why these expectations were or were not being met in terms of experiential learning and programme development, and discussed the implications for the Programme. The research found a lack of clarity amongst the mentors and cadets about the structure of the NCP and the roles expected of them. It also revealed that the formal assessment and feedback procedure needed to be improved in order for it to be more educative, and that the cadets needed to be given more performance opportunities. The research concluded that it would be beneficial to the NCP for experiential learning to be formalised within the Programme with the systematic adoption of an experiential learning model.