Music academy on the move

Kronendal Music Academy administrator Zoe Guenantin, founder Dwyn Griesel and ops manager Chandni Meghji.

A Hout Bay music academy is bursting at the seams and could be on the move if all goes to plan.

When the Sentinel visited the Kronendal Music Academy’s current premises at a house in Empire Road, the lounge area of the non-profit was packed with children tucking into a meal. In the garden, in two wendy houses, children received tutoring in a variety of school subjects.

The converted garage is used for African instruments while the cottage is a space for counselling. Inside the upper storey of the historic building, are sound-proofed cubicles leading from a large space where the junior orchestra were practising. In each of the five cubicles, eager children were learning recorder, clarinet and saxophone. Downstairs there is a drum room.

The academy started in 2007, providing free music lessons and instruments to local children who would have otherwise been unable to afford them.

Academy director Dwyn Griesel says they currently have 155 pupils a week, down from 200 before the pandemic.

“Lack of access to support, stimulation and resources means that children in under-resourced communities live in a permanent state of fight or flight. Even pre-pandemic it was clear that we need to do more than just provide music lessons and we needed more space in which to do this.”

The music teachers come from the greater Cape Town area to pass on their love of music. Ms Griesel says they are trained at the academy to not only teach music but also instil essential skills, like inner resilience and self-confidence.

“Learning music provides developmental skills, self-worth, tolerance, teamwork and so much more. It also provides the child with opportunities to grow and upskill themselves.”

She says they have been searching for a “forever home” for years and at last have found the perfect venue. Unable to provide the location at this time she says it is perfectly situated, off-grid, will offer a performance venue, and develop space for entrepreneurial skills development.

Ms Griesel says they will be offering conference and workshop spaces and hope to partner with community vegetable gardens already under way in Hout Bay. But this is only a done deal when they find the funding, she says. The dream is to take ownership in July or August and move in at the end of the year.

The academy is also in need of a second van to transport the children. Email if you can help or would like to attend the next annual general meeting, on Tuesday March 28, at 9am.

Lebo Banga, of Gugulethu, teaching recorder.
Keegan Steenkamp, of Mowbray, teaching students in one of the cubicles in the upper storey of the academy.
Meadowridge teacher Stanislav Agelov teaches saxophone, clarinet and accordion. With him are students Nenyasha Chindimba, seated, and Tatenda Khombedza.
In the garage, Christian Alfonso, of Mandela Park, learns African musical instruments with Keketso Bolofo, of Nyanga.
The Kronendal Music Academy junior orchestra under the baton of Mulalo Mphaphuli.