Roelof is an old boy of the Drakenberg Boys choir school, accomplished pianist, lover of classic cars, books, choir-music and Africa. He is the dreamer and founder of the Bright Ivory music school and its extended music family
Roelof started formal piano training at the age of 11, with acclaimed piano teacher and pedagogue Dr. Bertha Le Roux. Under Doctor Le Roux`s guidance, he partook in Unisa`s music theory and practical exams, which he consistently passed with merit.
Roelof taught himself how to play by ear, and how to improvise – a technique that has impressed a number of local and international listeners. At the age of 20, he became the youngest pianist ever offered a residency in the 5-star Palace of the Lost City where he played piano for VIP guests – Pink, Oprah Winfrey, Tiger Woods, R Kelly, Charlize Theron, Nelson Mandela and Josh Groban to name but a few. Roelof opted to leave showbiz in the pursuit of his real dreams – of owning a music school that doesn’t abide with the rules. A school that teaches its students to forget about rules and strict classical approaches, and to just have fun and make music!
Roelof believes that anyone can read music. He has a passion that he`d like to share, and he teaches from the conviction that music is a language – one that every living soul should be able to understand and speak!
Kirsten – The virtuous violinist
We spent a long time looking for a good violin teacher in Fourways, and six months later we found Kirsten. Honestly – a more passionate violinist just isn`t to be found! Kirsten has played violin for most of her life: She frequently participated in concerts, Eisteddfods and other performances, and completed her music exams through UNISA. She has vast orchestral experience, and can lead well in solo performances.
Currently, Kirstin is studying Speech therapy at the University of Pretoria – teaching is just her idea of fun! Her main pursuit – as is evident in her choice of vocation and the fact that she`s with us, is adding value to people`s lives. It is a known fact that music has the ability to influence our moods and attitudes towards life… and through the strings of her violin, Kirstin will make yours happy and positive!
Matt – Guitar maestro
Matt is well known to most bands in South Africa, purely because they know that there just isn’t someone better at playing guitars around! Matt Studied with the South African Music Institute, and knows how to play five different instruments.
He assists in the piano department, and has the perfect approach to teaching students how to play by ear whilst employing basic fundamentals of music.
His forte though, is playing and teaching all genres of music on acoustic, electric and bass guitars. He also has vast knowledge in sound production and setup, and will make any old amp sound like it is being played by a superstar.
Rachel – Pianist of note(no pun intended)
Rachel is another of our brilliant piano teachers, and a music theory specialist.
Rachel obtained a level 6 Diploma from Trinity College of London, and was awarded a Licentiate for piano recital in 2015.
She is a lover of kids, and we`re always amazed at the miracles her patience and soft manner achieves in our studio.
In her spare time Rachel bakes the most delicious cookies, and she enjoys the outdoors. We would have trouble if we didn`t mention that she regularly rides her horse, who she loves almost as much as she does music.
Damien – The “other guitar guy”
Damien is another SAMI old-boy currently teaching at the Bright Ivory. He studied guitars as main instrument at The South African Music Institute, and has performance exposure that most musicians dream of – we have as yet to ask him anything about guitars, guitar set-ups or the role of the guitarist in a band that he cannot answer.
Damien is an active member in the SA music scene, and is currently playing for the very popular band, Burning blue.
Damien has – quite possibly – has the fastest fingers in Johannesburg, and the best approach to playing the electric guitar: If it`s too loud… you`re too old!
Liezl – vocal coach extraodinaire
Always smiling and shining, you wouldn`t rate her as an academic… but – you`d be wrong!
Liezl teaches piano(she completed and passed Unisa`s grade 8 exam) and has amazing results with our vocal students.
She completed over 14 years of choral singing and conducting under the guidance of musical geniuses’ such as Christine Dercksen, Juliana Botha, Awie van Wyk and vocal training by Jacques Le Roux, who today is a huge opera phenomenon in Venice
The Liezl of today is VERY involved in the SA music scene, and you can regularly listen to her angelic voice collaborating with some of SA`s Top artists – you`ll love her, and her voice!
Gielie – Master musician and Keys specialist
Gielie Swiegers joined us recently after a six-year teaching stint gaining experience at other music teaching institutions. The allure of the Bright Ivory`s creative, fun and professional environment was JUST what he needed to thrive in, and he accepted our offer in January 2018. The rest, as they say, is musicology!
Gielie is currently studying towards a B-mus degree, and has an enormous passion (and affinity) for classical music. He is a multi-instrumentalist who also plays the cello. He is a choral master, and he leads worship sessions at a big congregation in the west rand. Spare time in the world of Gielie, is piano time!
Stilliani the piano-star
Stella`s mother was her first piano teacher. After initially learning to play by year at the age of six, she started formal piano training and realized that music is her ultimate passion. More so, that she loves teaching. She is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Music degree in order to better qualify her for her chosen career.
Stella is a witty, fun, experienced teacher who has achieved great success in preparing students for Trinity`s graded practical piano exams. Her forte is young students, but, her older students recommend her so often that her calendar is currently filled with students of all ages!
Tate – The man who drums up a beat
Tate Sutton is a professional working musician who plays, teaches and lives drums.
Tate was born for this: At a young age he realised that all the world is a stage – a place to give life to the Tate-sized personality. He studied Contemporary music performance at the Campus of Performing Arts (COPA) where he obtained a Degree Level 1 majoring in drums. Over the years, Tate has clocked up experience in studio recordings, live performances, teaching and overall musicianship – experience he has employed while starting up the Bright Ivory`s drum lab.
Tate currently plays with pop-punk outfit, Made For Broadway. His overarching ambition is to tour the world – but in the meantime, we`ll brag with him – he`s our Drum teacher!
OUR DRAMA FACULTY
Monica – Director of The Bright Ivory Drama
Monica Strydom matriculated from the National Arts School in Pretoria and thereafter obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Drama from the University of Pretoria. Monica successfully ran a huge drama faculty while obtaining a masters degree through Rhodes university in Grahamstown in 2016 – but career and academical pursuits necessitated her move to Gauteng, and more importantly, to the Bright Ivory where she heads up the drama department. She cares deeply about creating young speakers who can confidently stand on a stage and make a difference in our country. She is so passionate about that pursuit, that she is currently completing her PhD in learner leadership development through the University of Johannesburg.
Monica’s area of expertise is children and she enjoys working with big casts. She has a vast amount of experience in directing, producing, performing and teaching – among others, she recently directed the musicals “My Fair Lady” and “Fame”.
Monica spends her free time reading, jogging, and pursuing scenes of Nature. If her academical pursuits don`t impress you, her outgoing party-starting personality will!
Donachcha the drama queen
Dona obtained a Btech degree in dramatic arts from Tshwane University of Technology, where she learnt the theoretic and practical elements of both dramatic performance and teaching. She joined us right after graduating which meant that her profile fitted our ideal teacher – young at heart, energetic, knowledgeable and FUN! She teaches from the conviction that ‘Children are great imitators, so I`ll give them something great to imitate’!
Dona loves reading and writing poetry, and spends her free time keeping fit. She is an avid traveler, and a lover of people and places.
If you`re looking for – the right kind of – drama, Dona`s your girl!