Music might seem like a luxury in a country where poverty and joblessness are the order of the day, especially in places that are in need of great infrastructural and educational development. Many years of inequality has left Soweto, in many ways, isolated from Johannesburg as a whole, relegating a new generation to socio-economic apartheid. The Morris Isaacson Centre for Music is trying to change this through music education.
Originally called the Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music, the Centre opened its doors in 2011 with the aim of providing access to music education to the children of Soweto. In an environment where extra-murals are far and few between and drug addiction is rife, the Centre fills the gap by providing children with a constructive learning environment. Through practice and discipline, the children learn how to be focused and be a part of a team. It provides a safe environment with seasoned professionals to guide them through their music instruction and their lives. The children have received a number of opportunities that facilitate placement at music focused schools, bursary opportunities, local and international travel, performance opportunities and much more.
The Morris Isaacson Centre for Music (formally known as the Cape Gate MIAGI Centre for Music or CMCM) was built to provide music education to the children of Soweto. In 2009 MIAGI (Music is a great investment) CEO Robert Brooks and philanthropist Mendel Kaplan envisioned a purpose-built music centre on the grounds of the famous Morris Isaacson High School. Architect Monty Sack was brought in to design the building.
The Music Centre opened its doors in 2011 to its surrounding community. Access to music education in South African Schools is a luxury in most South African townships. Many studies reveal the benefits of music education for children. Focus, teamwork, discipline as well as removing them from the path of drugs, alcohol or sex that might exist in their communities means that the Centre’s on-going work is important in terms of human development and not just music education. 2019 sees the Centre expanding its horizons while honouring its past. The Centre has decided to re-brand itself as the Morris Isaacson Centre of Music and has launched a new identity that will see this growth into many years to come.