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Some of the first year students talked to Anri Stenden about their experiences at the School of Music.

It’s not easy being a first year — well-loved school teachers you were close to calling ‘Mom’ are abruptly exchanged for bossy, intimidating lecturers; that assignment you spent hours on got zero because you dared to quote ‘Prof Wikipedia’; and everyone expects you to read — gasp — books!* Plus, skipping that all-important ensemble or orchestra rehearsal is just not an option, even if your theory test date is looming. In fact, it’s tomorrow morning and you haven’t started studying yet!

However, it can’t be all bad, can it? We decided it was time to give our Conservatory newbies a voice and invited them to share why they chose to study here … and how they like it so far.

Philna Coetzee, BA Music & Society student, had the following to say:

“I chose to study at the NWU School of Music and Conservatory because the course I’m taking here was the best out of all the other universities I considered. I also chose to study music because it’s my passion and what I’d like to be doing for the rest of my life.”

And it’s easy to see she’s loving her time as a student here:

“I like it here because I can be my true self without anyone giving me weird or strange ‘looks’.”

And her favourite lecturers?

“My favourite lecturers are Prof Hannes Taljaard and Ms Antoinette Olivier, because I absolutely love their style of teaching!”

Tiaan & Philna

At Kiki’s Vintage studio in Parys with exhange students from Finland. Tiaan can be seen posing top left, whilst Philna sits in the bottom row on the right. This was definitely a memorable occasion —at Kiki’s, people are given the chance to dress up in vintage clothing and make good, ‘old-fashioned’ memories!

Tiaan Strauss, also a BA Music & Society student, is another Conservatory first year who shared some of his own experiences:

“I chose the NWU School of Music and Conservatory as I wanted to study music at a professional level, expand my knowledge and grow as musician. This year, there are a number of opportunities for the BA Music & Society group which really make it even more exciting! An example of this is the Conservatory Choir which we are able to join — there are some fantastic events the choir will be participating in!”

So which are his favourite modules?

“I really love my music theory classes, as well as my practical lessons. I also find music education and the African music module really interesting. And I think all of lecturers here at the School of Music are great! They make every effort to welcome first years such as myself — we already feel like we’re part of a special circle of friends.”

Tiaan & Philna

Another photograph from Kiki’s. We’re loving the red hat, Philna! And Tiaan looks quite dashing with his chequered bowtie …

Well, there you have it — the first-hand experiences of our talented students. Read more in Part 2 what other first years have to say.

* Those paper-printed, non-fiction, coursework-relevant-only kind … ugh.