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All that jazz: Jazz at College of Music


“Going back to school to study makes you better at what you do . . .” — DLUDLU

Self-taught South African jazz maestro Jimmy Dludlu enrolled for a degree in jazz at the University of Cape Town at a time when he was already performing professionally, working with such music greats as Hugh Masekela, Brenda Fassie and Sipho “Hotstix” Mabuse.

Now with 7 albums to his name, he released his debut album during his first year at university and went on achieve international stardom.

Locally, the Zimbabwe College of Music offers such study opportunities through its Bachelor of Music in Jazz Programme. Conferred by Africa University, the degree programme is of international standard.

It is open to both seasoned musicians and students who want to pursue various career opportunities in the music industry.

Since its inception in 2005, the programme has had a material impact on Zimbabwe’s growing music industry. Producing prime graduates for the education sector, it has improved the level of professionalism and education standards.

Filbert Marova, Timothy Kazembe and the late Dumi Ngulube are some of the many suitably qualified music teachers who have made a great contribution to music education in both government and private schools, laying the much-needed foundation and opening doors for talented children to explore career opportunities in music.

“The introduction of the Bachelor of Music in Jazz at the Zimbabwe College of Music has also seen the increase of educated jazz musicians in Zimbabwe. As a result, the jazz genre has grown with fresh, new compositions and innovations being added to the body of knowledge in music,” said acting director Rachel Jera-Chigwanda.

Dudu Manhenga and Prudence Katomeni-Mbofana are some of the most prominent graduates from the programme. Both musicians have placed their own unique musical thumbprints on jazz and have shown that they can hold their own on the global stage.

While Prudence performed sold-out concerts with the Cool Crooners in France, Dudu stole the hearts of many during her tour of Italy earlier this year.

Other graduates from the music degree in jazz programme include Farai Gezi, Promise John (ZRP Band pianist), Samaita Zindi (Transit Crew), Douglas Nsingo and Andrew Mamvura. Gospel sensation Pastor Charles Charamba is currently studying there.

Entry into the programme is open to young students that hold the National Certificate in Music, a qualification from Zimbabwe College of Music.

Mature entry is open to practising musicians through an audition. The degree offers both practical and theory courses and examination is by individuals with international qualifications.

Some of the theory subjects include the History of Jazz, Harmony and Compositional Analysis, Communication Skills, Music Rights and Ethics, Music Technology, Ear Training, Transcription and Analysis, World Music, and Choral and Instrumental Performance.

The practical aspect of the programme requires students to select and learn to play an African instrument and a Western one.

They then have to learn and master jazz pieces and chords using the instruments of their choice in order to graduate.

The Zimbabwe College of Music offers music lessons on various subjects and instruments to students across the board, from young school children to adults.

It is a valuable manpower and skills development centre that helps build capacity in Zimbabwe’s music industry.

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