GETTING TO KNOW... Dr Martin Goldstein - Classical Music Lecturer

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The UFH Music Department has added a new tune to its sound, that of Dr Martin Goldstein – a highly-skilled maestro and multi-instrumentalist. 

Dr Goldstein joined the Music department on 1 August as a lecturer in the Classical Music Division. His expertise includes Music Theory and playing the piano. ThisWeek@FortHare welcomed the opportunity to introduce Dr Goldestein to the UFH community. 
 
Please share a bit about your professional background, hobbies and other interests?
 
I am an experienced piano teacher having taught students from a wide range of backgrounds and levels for many years, in several countries. I have many years of experience as an accompanist on the piano for instrumentalists, vocalists, brass bands and choirs. I have also served as an organist, both in South Africa and in Maidenhead in the United Kingdom. I played the violin for many years with various orchestras. I have provided background music on the piano at several notable venues. 
 
I hold the following qualifications: 
• Bachelor of Music (Music Education), summa cum laude – University of Kwa Zulu Natal (2007) 
• Masters of Music – King’s College London (2009) 
• PhD in Music (Music Theory) – Bar-Ilan University in Israel (2018)
 
Hobbies and other Interests 
 
• I play the piano, violin and pipe organ. I like to improvise on the piano and enjoy listening to a range of musical styles. 
• I also take an interest in related fields such as History and Language and enjoy watching documentaries related to these interests.
 
Why did you choose to come to UFH? 
 
I applied to various universities and was very grateful to be accepted at the University of Fort Hare. 
 
What are the key focus areas of your new portfolio? 
 
At the moment, my key responsibilities in the department include accompanying the opera students on the piano and also accompanying the choir. I also have a few piano students. 
 
What is your approach to executing your key responsibilities?
 
My approach is actually quite spontaneous. I am happy to help students whenever they are available. I realize that schedules are seldom fixed in the Music department and I feel that it is important to fall in sync with this approach and be available at all times to help my students, even with tasks that don’t pertain directly to my portfolio, such as printing out music, etc
 
So far, which areas have you identified as pockets of excellence and which ones require strengthening in your department? 
 
Pockets of Excellence 
 
Our department excels in its ability to learn and create music spontaneously. This was evidenced in the composition of the song for Women’s Month. Our students displayed incredible creativity and spontaneity and the ability to fashion music from the barest of materials. 
 
Challenges 
 
In terms of areas that require strengthening, we need to focus more on the ability to read and actualize musical notation and sight-reading. Our students also struggle to relate to the more theoretical subjects such as Music Theory and History and we would like to show them how these fields are integral to their development as musicians. The performance element is overemphasized in our department and we want to create more rounded musicians known for their academic excellence too. 
 
Lastly, what are your aspirations for the university as it sets off on its journey of a decade of renewal (2020 to 2030)? 
 
We would like to see our university being counted among the best universities in our country. In every respect, we are capable and competitive. We need to provide greater access to both printed and online material and to provide better training in the use of both. We lack resources however, I am not convinced that being fully resourced is the solution. It is easy to provide fancy resources which are not looked after or utilized. Rather, we need to promote an understanding within our students that even things which might not appear to have any immediate value are ultimately integral to their professional development. 
 
What is your advice on how to reach the envisaged destination (2030)? 
 
We need to denude the notion that dry academia is somehow Eurocentric. Rather, we need to see an interplay between the spontaneity of an African mindset with the depth of Western learning.