By Dr. Devandré Boonzaaier
Senior Lecturer, University of Fort Hare, South Africa
A humanizing pedagogy for the music and arts administration curriculum
The University of Fort Hare is just over a century old. The music department at the University of Fort Hare can trace roots back to the 1970s. Since 2012, the University of Fort Hare offers the Bachelor of Music (BMus) in East London. The music department is housed in the Miriam Makeba Centre for Performing Arts Centre, which is also home to the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Centre (ECAVC).
Why a music and arts administration programme at the University of Fort Hare?
The Music and Arts Administration specialization as part of the BMus programme at the University of Fort Hare were developed in order to improve the employability of students in the music industry. The 1996 White Paper called for the incorporation of arts, education, and training at all levels of basic and tertiary education, as well as the introduction of arts administration and management at institutions of higher and further education (Bleibinger, 2016: 154). The University of Fort Hare’s Music Department follows its previous head of department, Professor Dave Dargie’s model of a syllabus, which makes provision for local needs and cultural backgrounds. A new BMus program was developed that familiarizes students with African, Western and World Music and, at the same time, is open for amendments catering to global trends (Bleibinger, 2016: 156). The specializations introduced in 2015 (which include Music Technology, and Music and Arts Administration) responded to such trends as well as students’ employability, and government policies and frameworks like the Higher Education Qualifications Sub-Framework (HEQSF) (Bleibinger, 2016: 156).
What is the purpose of the Music and Arts Administration modules?
Byrnes (2015: 5) write that to be an arts manager in the twenty-first century you are part of a global network of people engaged in a common set of management activities supporting creative activities in diverse communities. The Music and Arts Administration modules of the BMus programme at the University of Fort Hare have the following purpose:
- To develop knowledge in the fundamental pillars of administration and management in music and the arts in a broader sphere.
- To gain fundamental skill and understanding of music and arts marketing.
- To gain fundamental skill and understanding of music and arts education, programming and partnerships.
- To gain understanding of the systems and strategic management of non-profit entities in the Arts.
- To develop knowledge in event, festival and venue management.
- To develop knowledge in music business concepts and practice.
The structure of the music and arts administration programme at the University of Fort Hare is as follow:
The Bachelor of Music programme at the University of Fort Hare is a four-year degree programme. Students can specialise in the music and arts administration programme during their third and fourth year of the BMus programme.
The following modules are offered during the third and fourth years respectively:
- MUA311E Introduction of Music and Arts Administration
- MUA312E Music and Performing Arts Management
- MUA321E Music Arts Marketing
- MUA322E Community Music and Arts Partnerships and Learning
- MUA401E Music and Arts Organization Management
- MUA402E Event and Festival Management in Music and the Arts
- MUA403E Music Business Practice
The statistics of students registered for the arts administration modules
Introduction of Music and Arts Administration
|3 students||4 students||7 students||9 students||8 students|
Music and Performing Arts Management
|3 students||4 students||4 students||9 students||8 students|
Music Arts Marketing
|3 students||4 students||4 students||6 students||8 students|
Community Music and Arts Partnerships and Learning
|3 students||4 students||4 students||6 students||8 students|
Music and Arts Organization Management
|No students registered||2 students||8 students||8 students||8 students|
Event and Festival Management in Music and the Arts
|No students registered||No students registered||2 students||8 students||6 students|
Music Business Practice
|No students registered||No students registered||1 student||8 students||6 students|
Assessment in the Music and Arts Administration modules
All the Music and Arts Administration modules at the University of Fort Hare Are Continuous Assessments through: class test, weekly assignments and participation, essays and portfolios.
I started at UFH in September 2016 and the first group of 4th year Music and Arts Administration students, had only two students registered in for the final year Arts Administration modules in 2017. The second group of 3rd year Music and Arts Administration students in 2017 had only four students registerd. After the first assessment I was unpleasantly surprised with the results and therefore consulted our Teaching and Learning Centre consultants to discuss a plan of intervention. The consultants at the Teaching and Learning Centre advise that I should let my students in the Music and Arts Administration programme complete the Kolb’s learning style questionnaire. Kolb’s learning styles have been adapted by two management development specialists, Peter Honey and Alan Mumford. This questionnaire is designed to find out one’s preferred learning style(s). The four general learning styles descriptions are: Activist, Reflectors, Theorists and Pragmatists.
After the students completed the questionnaire, and we were aware of their learning styles, my teaching style and assessment practices changed to accommodate the learning styles of all the students in Music and Arts Administration lectures.
What is a culturally and inclusive curriculum?
The word curriculum derives from the Latin currere meaning ‘to run’. This implies that one of the functions of a curriculum is to provide a template or design which enables learning to take place. Curricula usually define the learning that is expected to take place during a course or programme of study in terms of knowledge, skills and attitudes, they should specify the main teaching, learning and assessment methods and provide an indication of the learning resources required to support the effective delivery of the course (McKimm, 2007: 2).
I believe that a cultural and inclusive responsive curriculum respects students’ cultures and prior experience. Boyer’s (1990: 22-23) study shows that teaching is also a dynamic endeavour involving all the analogies, metaphors, and images that build bridges between the teacher’s understanding and the student’s learning. Therefore, pedagogical procedures must be carefully planned, continuously examined, and related directly to the subject taught (Boyer, 1990: 22-23).
How to encourage a transformative and culturally responsive curriculum?
When planning my teaching for the Music and Arts Administration modules at the University of Fort Hare I make use of the critical pedagogy which was developed by Paulo Freire. According to Freire (1993:43) concern for humanization leads at once to the recognition of dehumanization, not only as an ontological possibility, but also as a historical reality. Freire believed that teaching was a conversation or dialogue between the teacher and the student. Freire posed problems for his students that caused them to take what they already knew and understood from their world outside the classroom, and connect it to the goals of literacy, namely the abilities to read and write the language. In other words, his goal was to use that knowledge as a bridge to new learning.
Therefore, like critical pedagogues when planning my Music and Arts Administration lessons, I ask four questions, which are the following:
- Who am I?
- Who are my students?
- What might they become?
- What might we become together?
Clearly, there are no perfect answers. In the context of one’s own teaching situations, lecturers/teachers will answer them differently.
These questions inform and guide teachers and their students and help all to move from the “is” to the “ought” (Abrahams 2005: 8-9).
I would like to share some feedback I received from students regarding the Music and Arts Administration modules at the University of Fort Hare.
Why did you select the Music and Arts Administration (MUA) modules?
“I decided to do MUA because I am very interested in Organising and doing Administration of Arts such as Events, Concerts and Festivals. I want to work with up and coming artists to groom them in the music industry and be part of their development”. – MUA311E Student 2020.
“I decided to do Arts Admin. because I would like to know more about Arts business/organizations, how they operate on a daily basis, how to market them as well as the administration side, as one of my dreams is to open a music business, where I’ll have one of my own record companies, and also open an Arts Academy, where I’ll be able to teach and develop new/raw talents in terms of performance, and offer academic courses. This would assist on the theoretical side to gain more knowledge about their Arts forms”. – MUA312E Student 2020.
“I chose arts admin to know more about the policies within the arts… Also as an artist myself, I would like to broaden my knowledge and not focus only on the performance side of the arts”. – MUA321E Student 2020.
“Because our Lecturer is so coolJ” – MUA401E Student 2020.
“I chose to do MUA because it gives an insight of what and how the music is to the world, and its different dynamics on working to make arts as a statement on its own. MUA (Arts Admin.), teaches us what it is to be more than just an artist, how to groom your craft and how to give it to the world as a full package. It is also in line with my career path”. – MUA402E Student 2020.
“I chose arts admin. purely for the involvement and decision-making of my own business, the people that are involved in the “behind the scenes” of my development. The pros and cons and how and what will help me to achieve my goals – MUA403E Student 2020.
What do you expect from the Music and Arts Administration modules?
“From these modules I expect to learn how to be a proper Arts Administrator who knows their work and knows how to work and somehow be on the same level as other Arts Administrators in the country and around the world. I believe this class will equip me with the necessary tools to become the knowledgeable academic I want to be” – MUA401E Student 2018.
What do you plan to do with these modules?
“I have always wanted to build communities and be involved in programs that help grow and sustain the Arts. I would like to get as much knowledge as I can in order to do those things as I believe that the Arts are a very important part in our lives. I basically want to use this module to save people in a way” – MUA322E Student 2018.
I believe music and arts administration curriculum can be improved in creating a transformative and inclusive Music and Arts Administration curriculum, by creating greater synergies between the Music and Arts Administration program and the Eastern Cape Audio Visual Centre, which share the Miriam Makeba building in East London.
I have realised that there is a need for South African specific music and arts administration literature for use in the Music and Arts Administration learning space at the University of Fort Hare.
There is also a need for internship opportunities for the students who are registered in the Music and Arts Administration modules, hosting seminars with guest speakers in the field of Music and Arts Administration. And, so the journey continues…
Questions for further discussion
- How to remain human in the virtual Music and Arts Administration class during a pendamic, COVID-19?
- Assessment in the Music and Arts Administration class during a pendamic, COVID-19?
- Humanizing and Dehumanzing the Music and Arts Adminstration curriculum during a pendamic, COVID-19?
- The role of the arts manager during a pandemic, COVID-19?
- What intership oppurtunities exist for Music and Arts Administration students during a pandemic, COVID-19?
ABRAHAMS, F. (2005). The application of critical pedagogy to music teaching and learning. Visions of Research in Music Education, 6. Available at: http://www.rider.edu/~vrme [Accessed on 25 August 2019]
BLEIBINGER, B. (2016). Initiatives, Reorientations and Strategic Plans in the Music Department, University of Fort Hare, South Africa: A Summary and a Visionary Reflection. Collegium Vol. 21. Available at: https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10138/167854/Collegium%20Vol%2021%20Bleibinger.pdf?sequence=1 [Accessed on 25 August 2019]
BOYER, E. L. (1990). Scholarship reconsidered: Priorities of the professoriate. Princeton, N.J: Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
BYRNES, W.J. (2015). Management and the arts. 5th Edition. New York: Focal Press.
FREIRE. P. (1993). Pedagogy of the oppressed. London: Continuum.
MCKIMM. J. (2007). Curriculum design and development. Imperial College Centre for Educational Development, 1-32.
Dr. Devandré Boonzaaier is a senior lecturer in the Department of Music at the University of Fort Hare, South Africa. In 2018, he became the first Deputy Head of the Department of Music at Fort Hare University. Dr. Boonzaaier lectures Music Theory, Musicology, Piano, Music and Arts Administration and also supervises postgraduate Music students. Dr. Boonzaaier holds a BMus (Cum Laude), MMus and DPhil degrees from the Nelson Mandela University. He holds performance diplomas in piano and organ from the University of South Africa; Royal Schools of Music and Trinity College. He is the organist of Arcadia Moravian Church, Port Elizabeth and the conductor of the A.W. Barnes Primary School Choir, East London. Last year, he was the recipient of the of the University of Fort Hare Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities Vice-Chancellor’s Excellence Award for Community Engagement.