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The church as a site for non-formal music education : a case study of Bethesda Temple, Durban.

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Much of the research undertaken on music education in South Africa has been concerned with formal music education and its application in the classroom. In spite of the fact that the majority of South Africans have had little or no access to formal music education, non-formal learning practices have been largely ignored as alternative, and potentially effective forms of music skills acquisition. This study focuses on the church, and the Durban Bethesda Temple in particular, and explores how, in the absence of access to formal music education, alternative learning methods based on generalised participation and musical process, may be conducive to the achievement of highly skilled musicianship. This thesis draws insight from theories proposed by intercultural music educationists, Christopher Small and Patricia Campbell, and ethnomusicologists, Blacking, Chernoff, Nketia and Merriam, whose work has focussed on conceptualisations, functions, roles and contexts of music-making in nonwestern, and Mrican societies in particular. It postulates that when music-making is nonindividualised and non-competitive, and when performance focuses on relationshipbuilding and ritual, rather than on specialisation and spectacle, music learning is achieved through participation by way of aural transmission, imitation and mentorship. In thisregard, the underlying philosophy of education, as is applied in non-formal mUSIC education, is based on the assumption that music is a human capacity; that music-making is process-orientated rather than product-related, and that music can be used to build individual and communal skills and competencies. The discussion concludes by suggesting insights that can be gleaned from the process of non-formal music learning in communal, participatory contexts, namely, the church; and how these insights can signal alternative perspectives to the practices and procedures of South Africa music education amidst current transformation.


Thesis (M.A.-Music)-University of Natal, 1998.


Church music--Pentecostal churches., Pentecostal churches--KwaZulu-Natal--Durban., Christian rock music--KwaZulu-Natal--Durban., Theses--Music.