Jacobus Gustavus de Wet’s contribution to violin pedagogy in South Africa

Bester, David Hermanus Schalk (2016-03)

Thesis (MMus)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die Suid-Afrikaanse vioolpedagoog, Jack de Wet (gebore in 1927), is heel moontlik die invloedrykste en mees welbekende figuur in strykersonderrig in Suid-Afrika. Gedurende sy onderrigloopbaan, wat oor langer as 55 jaar strek, het De Wet wonderkinders soos Jan Repko, Pieter Schoeman, en Avigail Bushakevitz opgelewer. Sy huidige- en oudstudente beskryf hom as “’n genie” en definieer sy manier van lesgee as hoogs oorspronklik en heeltemal anders as dié van enige ander vioolonderwyser. Hierdie studie poog om tot ‘n beter begrip van De Wet se lewe en werk binne die konteks van vioolpedagogiek in die twintigste eeu te kom deur die volgende navorsingsvraag te beantwoord: “As ‘n prominente en invloedryke figuur in die Suid-Afrikaanse strykersgemeenskap, wat is De Wet se pedagogiese metodes, en hoe pas hierdie metodes in die agtergrond van twintigste eeuse vioolpedagogiek?” Hierdie vraag is in drie stappe beantwoord. Eerstens is ‘n biografie van De Wet, waarin die musikale invloede wat hom as violis gevorm het asook die verloop van sy loopbaan ondersoek word, opgestel. Dit wys De Wet as iemand wat die aanvaarde manier van dinge doen bevraagteken het en aanhoudend na beter maniere van lesgee gesoek het. Sy impak op die klassieke musiekgemeenskap in Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Stellenbosch en Kaapstad sluit in\ nie net die studente vir wie hy les gegee het nie, maar ook die totstandkoming van infrastruktuur wat jong musici ondersteun. Tweedens is die metodes van Carl Flesch, Shin’ichi Suzuki, Ivan Galamian en Paul Rolland bespreek om tot ‘n beter begrip van die konteks waarbinne De Wet sy benadering ontwikkel het te kom. Derdens is De Wet se eie metodes gedokumenteer en bespreek. Wanneer De Wet se metodes teen die agtergrond van bogenoemde pedagoë se werk beskou word, kan hul invloed in sy metodes duidelik gesien word. Flesch se wetenskaplike en sistematiese benadering, Galamian se dissipline, en Suzuki se filosofie is herkenbaar in De Wet se metodes. Rolland se idees, met die fokus op gebalanseerde bewegings, rotasie, kinestetiese bewustheid, en outomatisering gereël deur die onderbewussyn, het egter tot ‘n groot mate De Wet se metodes gevorm.

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The South African violin pedagogue, Jack de Wet (born in 1927), is arguably the most well-known and influential figure in the South African string teaching community. He had a teaching career of more than 55 years during which he produced prodigies such as Jan Repko, Pieter Schoeman, and Avigail Bushakevitz. De Wet’s current and former students describe him as “a genius” and define his way of teaching the violin as highly imaginative and wholly different to those of any violin teacher. This study sets out to come to a better understanding of De Wet’s life and work in the context of violin pedagogy in the twentieth century by answering the following question: “As a prominent and influential figure in the South African string community, what are De Wet’s pedagogical methods, and how do these methods fit into the backdrop of violin pedagogy in the twentieth century?” The question has been answered in three steps. Firstly, a biography of De Wet, which focusses on the musical influences that formed him as a violinist and discusses the course of his career, has been constructed. It shows De Wet as someone who questioned the accepted notions of how things should be done and continually searched for better ways of teaching. His impact in the classical music community in Bloemfontein, Port Elizabeth, Stellenbosch, and Cape Town includes not only the countless students whom he taught, but also the establishment of infrastructure that would support young musicians. Secondly, the methods of Carl Flesch, Shin’ichi Suzuki, Ivan Galamian, and Paul Rolland have been discussed in order to come to a better understanding of the context in which De Wet developed his own teaching method. Thirdly, De Wet’s own methods have been documented and discussed. When shown against the backdrop of the work of the abovementioned pedagogues, De Wet’s methods seem to have been inspired by the scientific and systematic approach of Flesch, the discipline of Galamian, and the philosophy of Suzuki. Rolland’s ideas, with the focus on balanced movement, rotary action, kinaesthetic awareness and subconscious atomisation, however, seem to have shaped most of De Wet’s teaching methods.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/98852
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