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We look back on the second quarter and the amazing things we’ve achieved.

[ 1 ] Symposia

On 26-28 April 2016 we hosted a three-day postgraduate symposium where:

(a) Dr Liesl van der Merwe presented an ATLAS.ti training workshop for staff and students from all three campuses.

ATLAS.ti workshop

ATLAS.ti 7 training with Dr Liesl van der Merwe assisted by Dr Mignon van Vreden and Dr Albi Odendaal.

ATLAS.ti is computer assisted qualitative data analysis software and is used to organize the data and facilitate data analysis. Any kind of data, such as interviews, videos, photos, social media, books, music, etc. can be analyzed in ATLAS.ti. It has visualizing tools to help qualitative researchers to think conceptually. It is suitable for any qualitative strategy of inquiry.

(b) We hosted a symposium together with the University of Pretoria (UP) where M and D students presented research proposals.

UP research symposium

UP symposium with Engela Conradie speaking about stage fright.

The MASARA research entity of the Faculty of Arts has recently expanded their postgraduate research network to the University of Pretoria. Based on the format of regular one-day symposiums with WITS, the first encounter with UP took place in the Conservatory on Wednesday 27 April. Eight research papers were presented by masters and doctoral students. Themes included the following: collective learning with choirs, musical practices in the preschool stage, stage fright, the attention span of young learners, musical practices in the senior primary phase in Namibia, a performance -oriented approach to musical structure, and an investigation into characterization in musical drama. The event was characterized by lively discussions. The presenters benefited from comments by fellow students and supervisors, and everyone agreed that NWU and UP will benefit from future discussions on research.

(c) Dr Albi Odendaal and Dr Liesl van der Merwe presented an article workshop for postgraduate students.

Article workshop

Dr Albi Odendaal presenting the postgraduate article workshop.

Article writing and publishing is a critical skill for anyone thinking of entering academia. The milieu of the measured university demands published outputs, and increasing competition for the limited positions available means that to be competitive our graduates should be publishing. For this reason, twelve masters and five doctoral students of MASARA niche area participated in an article writing workshop on Thursday 28 April. The workshop was presented at the School of Music by Dr Liesl van der Merwe and Dr Albi Odendaal and centred on providing basic information that is needed when setting out to publish. For example, the students were introduced to the publication and peer review system, and discussed how to choose appropriate journals for their work. We investigated different article genres, such as think pieces, data articles, literature reviews and practice-based articles, and discussed how argument functions within the different genres. Students also engaged with some basic writing skills and discussed how to apply these to the different sections of a standard article. We hope that this introduction will help our students to take the plunge into that daunting first publication, and that they will do so with the skills that will make the landing a safe one.

On 14 May our fourth year research methodology class presented their research proposals at a symposium with WITS. The entire research committee was involved and our students excelled.

Wits symposium

Some of the students that presented their research proposals: Jaco Jacobs (front), Eljé van der Walt (middle), Emeka Nzelu (back).

Wits symposium

Gerdus Steenberg presenting: The interpretation of Impundulu, “From the Poets”, by Peter Klatzow: A critical hermeneutical analysis.

[ 2 ] Graduation

At the May graduation three doctorate and two master degrees were awarded.

Ellre Jacobs (MMus)The meaning of BMus studies for early career graduates: a phenomenological study (cum laude) — Dr Liesl van der Merwe and Prof Hetta Potgieter

Mitha Lubbe (MMus)Songs of struggle in the film Sarafina!Dr Santisa Viljoen

Elize Kruger (DMus)Exploring independent interpretation development in young pianists: a case studyProf Hannes Taljaard and Dr Truida Oliver

Sonja Cruywagen (PhD)“Blending with purpose”: a multimodal model for Music Education — Prof Hetta Potgieter and Dr Liesl van der Merwe

Diederick Basson (PhD)Die invloed van sinodebesluite op die Psalm as kerklied in die Gereformeerde Kerke van Suid-AfrikaProf Daleen Kruger

Sonja Cruywagen

Dr Sonja Cruywagen with her promoters, Prof Hetta Potgieter and Dr Liesl van der Merwe, celebrate her PhD!

Furthermore, Yvonne-Marié Brand (supervised by Dr Chris van Rhyn, Dr Liesl van der Merwe and Dr Mike Blake) will receive her DMus and Engelette Kruger (supervised by Dr Waldo Weyer and Dr Alvin Petersen) will receive her MMus at the September graduation.

[ 3 ] Colloquia

The researchers of MASARA have participated in five colloquia held at the School of Music. We discussed each other’s research topics, quality supervision, the role of theory in research, composition as research, and performing as research. We also presented our ISME papers on home ground and got feedback from colleagues which enabled us to improve our work.

[ 4 ] Conferences

(a) JM Coetzee & Athol Fugard Literary Festival: 26-28 May 2016

Prof Jaco Kruger was invited to speak at the Richmond Literary Festival. He introduced the poet, Sina de Wee from Murraysburg, and their presentation and performance was well received.

Richmond Literary Festival


(b) SAJE Jazz Conference 2016: South African Jazz – Shaping the Future

Dr Mignon van Vreden presented “Bejazzled: Jazz Music to enhance early childhood education” at the SAJE conference at WITS. An interview with her about the topic was published on The conversation  (“From the club to the classroom: all that jazz is good for the kids”) and was received with excitement by a broad and diverse audience. The discussion was continued on South Africa.info: Arts and Culture under the title “Jazz and early youth development in South Africa.” Dr Mignon van Vreden has shown us the importance of embracing new ways of writing and disseminating research to wide and diverse audiences.

Mignon van Vreden


(c) Music and Visual Cultures International Conference –Ireland

Dr Chris van Rhyn presented the following paper in Dublin at the Maynooth University: “Who’s Afraid of Figures in the Landscape?”

Visual Cultures



Dr Alvin Petersen represented MASARA in the Paarl at the PASMAE conference (24-26 July 2016). He presented a paper with the following title: “Assessment and evaluation of African Music and Dance: an intrinsic case study of the African music and dance programme at the School of Music, North-West University, Potchefstroom.”



(e) ISME

12 MASARA members (5 staff members, 4 students, and 3 contracted researchers) attended the 32nd World Conference of the International Society for Music Education held in Glasgow, Scotland between 24 and 29 July 2016. The following spoken papers were presented:

• Prof Hetta Potgieter — Spirituality and music: winged disciplines


• Dr Liesl van der Merwe & Dr John Habron — Exploring lived experiences of spirituality amongst five Dalcroze teachers: an IPA

John Habron & Liesl van der Merwe

• Karin Greenhead, Dr John Habron (Senior research fellow in MASARA), and Prof Louise Mathieu — Eurhythmics: bridging the gap between the academic and practical through creative teaching and learning

• Dalcroze a capella (UK) — “The flight of song” by Howard Skepton performed by the Dalcroze a capella
This was a sensitive performance with a serene atmosphere. Simple yet effective movements were included while singing which created a sonorous sound palette. The free movement improvisation preceding the singing set the stage for a truly embodied performance. This was definitely a gem and a highlight at ISME! The production was led by Bethan Habron-James who is also our Dalcroze teacher in Manchester teaching us through Skype. Dr John Habron, senior research fellow in MASARA, can also be seen to the left in the picture below.


• Prof June-Boyce Tillman (Extraordinary professor in MASARA) — Musical and spiritual journeys of young musicians from sacred spaces to secular places & Sacred music in secular education – spiritual education

June-Boyce Tillman

• Dr Santisa Viljoen — Creating an e-learning environment for a short learning programme in choral conducting

Santisa Viljoen

• Antoinette Olivier — The Black Tie Ensemble’s contribution to non-tertiary music education

Antoinette Olivier

• Yvonne-Marié Brand (DMus graduate) — Communicating social return on investment with investors in community music development programmes

Yvonne-Marié Brand

• Dr Sonja Cruywagen — A multimodal curriculum for teaching and learning music education in higher education

Sonja Cruywagen


The following posters were presented:

• Janelize van der Merwe (research fellow) — Exploring the reciprocal relationship between the self and other in the Field Band Foundation

Janelize van der Merwe

• Corlia Fourie (PhD student) — Frontal lobe brain damage and the lived piano-playing experiences of an older adult

Corlia Fourie

• Leon van Dyk (MMus student) — Unpacking the external examination boards in the South African context

Leon van Dyk


ISME group

The ISME group (from left to right): Dr Sonja Cruywagen (UP – NWU alumna), Debra Joubert, Yvonne-Marié Brand, Dr Liesl van der Merwe, Prof Hetta Potgieter, Kira Spies (US), Danell Herbst (US), Antoinette Olivier, Corlia Fourie, Dr Santisa Viljoen, Dr Dorette Vermeulen (UP), Carl Ian Pilkington (US).


Several staff members are also working with embodied cognition research and Dalcroze training. MASARA invited Bethan Habron-James from the Royal Northern College of Manchester (RNCM) to present weekly Dalcroze classes using live streaming, a world first as far as we can ascertain! Staff, students and music teachers of three campuses and several other towns are “virtually” involved. We move along to music though we are in different places in the world! This interaction stimulates Dalcroze research in MASARA.


[ 6 ] Research outputs thus far for 2016

Mignon van Vreden — Maestro for a moment: A conceptual framework for music integration in Grade R — South African journal of childhood education

John Habron & Liesl van der Merwe — A conceptual study of spirituality in selected writings of Emile Jaques-Dalcroze — International Journal of Music Education

Inette Swart — Ego boundaries and self-esteem: two elusive facets of the psyche of performing musicians — Psychology of Music

Michael M. Roy et al. — Rumination and performance in dynamic, team sport — Frontiers in Psychology

Elsabe Nortjé & Liesl van der Merwe — Young children and spirituality: understanding children’s connectedness in a group music class — International journal of children’s spirituality

Mignon van Vreden — Teaching Foundation phase learners about music — M. Naudé (ed.), Teaching life skills in the foundation phase, South Africa, Pretoria: Van Schaik Publishers

Ockie Vermeulen — Agter elke man: Onderweg na inklusiewe taalgebruik in die Afrikaanse kerklied — HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies

[ 7 ] Articles accepted to be published in 2016

Corlia Fourie, Liesl van der Merwe and Inette Swart — Frontal lobe brain damage and the lived piano-playing experiences of an older adult — Muziki

Conroy Cupido — Learning from experience: exploring the well-being of professional opera singers — Muziki

Inette Swart — New developments in neuroscience can benefit the teaching of music — Muziki

Joy Meyer and Liesl van der Merwe — Adapting the Suzuki method for two community music programmes in Atteridgeville — Muziki

Melindie Pretorius (supervised by Conroy Cupido) — Determining Suitable Pedagogical Approaches during the application of Voce chiusa and the Zygomatic Arch — JMAA

Daleen Kruger — Die kontrafaktuurpraktyk in die Liedboek — Koers

Albi Odendaal — Individual differences between the practising behaviours of six pianists: a challenge to Perceptual Learning Style Theory  — Research Studies in Music Education

Santisa Viljoen — The same, yet different: re-encoding identity in U-Carmen eKhayelitsha — JMAA

Hetta Potgieter and Antoinette Olivier — Create music that will open a person’s heart’: a perspective on emotional and social wellbeing as depicted in three films — Koers

Inette Swart — Benefits of music education to previously disadvantaged South African learners: Perspectives of music teachers in the greater Tshwane Metropolis — IJME

[ 8 ] Exciting news

From 1 August 2016, Dr Albi Odendaal will start as postgraduate programme leader, with Dr Liesl van der Merwe who remains MASARA’s research director.


Mignon van Vreden

Dr Mignon van Vreden published her chapter – Teaching Foundation Phase Learners about Music. (In Naudé, M. & Meier, C., ed. Teaching Life Skills in the Foundation Phase. Pretoria: Van Schaik. p.177-218).


John Habron

Dr John Habron published his chapter – ‘Sonorous air: Ferruccio Busoni’s phenomenology of music’. (In Music and Transcendence. Ed. by Stone-Davis, F. Farnham: Ashgate. p. 50 – 64)


Creative Teaching

Dr John Habron, Karin Greenhead and Louise Mathieu published a book chapter – “Dalcroze Eurhythmics: Bridging the gap between the academic and the practical through creative teaching and learning”



Professor Heidi Westerlund (Sibelius Academy of the University of the Arts Helsinki) and Dr. Sari Levänen (Neuropsychologist in the Helsinki and Uusimaa Hosptial District) will visit us from 7 August in Potchefstroom for two weeks as part of their ArtsEqual research project and collaboration with Dr Albi Odendaal. They will be presenting a colloquium on 11 August from 11:00-13:00. This is open to anyone who is interested to attend.


June-Boyce Tillman

Professor June Boyce-Tillman (Professor of Applied Music at The University of Winchester and an Extraordinary Professor at North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa) will join us for a postgraduate symposium day in Oppibib from 9:00-16:00 on Tuesday 30 August. Anybody who is interested is welcome to attend. She will give a presentation between 10:00-11:00.