Picture: Supplied

For the past eight years, the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (CTJIF) has provided skills and development training to budding high school musicians, to equip them with the necessary know-how to make it in the music industry. 

The Music & Careers workshops are presented by mentors and industry professionals over the course of four weekends. These have been running during the month of February at the Cape Town International Convention Centre.

Craig Parks, Training and Development spokesperson for CTIJF organiser espAfrika, says the programme is the first of its kind in Africa. 

"The Music & Careers workshops started in 2011 and are directed at high school level learners, providing these young musicians with insights into various careers they could pursue within the industry. The workshops offer theory and practical activities that enable students to gain first-hand knowledge from the experts, while at the same time giving them access to work experience on a world-class event."

This year 10 high schools are participating in the initiative – Alexander Sinton High School, Cedar High School, Christel House High School, Eersterivier High School, Groote Schuur High School, Khayelitsha Music School – K.IMAD, Parel Vallei Hoërskool, The Settlers High School, Worcester Senior Secondary and Wynberg Senior Secondary School.

Every aspect of staging a global event like the CTIJF is covered, including marketing, stage production, talent management, logistics, legal aspects, live performance, hospitality and risk management. Mentors for this year’s workshops have included among others, Lana Crowster, leader and founder of the Lady Day Big Band who are performing at the jazz festival on 30 March, Amanda Tiffin, head of Jazz Studies at UCT and Mandisi Dyantyis, associate director and co-musical director for the Isang Ensemble.

Parks says learners who attend the four workshops are afforded the opportunity of a lifetime and the skills acquired can open the right doors.

"A young learner, Siphokazi George, from Eersterivier High School, attended these workshops from the age of 15 over a period of three years and eventually went to work at the CTIJF as a general crew member. She has now been recruited by Africa's biggest events production company, Gearhouse, as a senior project manager. She did not attend any other courses but was selected on merit as a direct result of this programme."

On the music front, several other young musicians have benefitted from the programme and have gone on to perform internationally within two years of leaving school. 

The workshops concluded this in February, and the programme culminates with the schools' musicians staging a live performance at Artscape Theatre on Tuesday 26 March 2019. Tickets for this event are sold exclusively at participating high schools. 

CTIJF 2019 will celebrate 20 years of international and local jazz and is set to take place on 29 and 30 March at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Tickets for CTIJF 2019 are available exclusively at Computicket.

Visit the website for more information: www.capetownjazzfest.com