About Maria Botha
Music has been my passion, my dream, my life ever since I can remember. I was introduced to the violin before I could even read or write. Hence, during my childhood years my personal relationship with the violin was forged by my excellent teachers Alan Solomon and Denise Sutton who convinced me that we play who we are, and the more we experience life, the more music can resonate from within.
Music is not only knowledge, it empowers to make dreams come true
As a young adult, my dream to be a full-time violinist made me look at opportunities beyond the borders of South Africa. As a result, I decided to explore exciting musical horizons in Europe and chose France as my new home country. After being based in Paris for a number of years, I felt the need to invent something different with my violin if I wanted to be a full-time player. I started travelling and shared my music with as many diverse audiences as possible, playing all over Europe in a variety of venues, from beautiful old city courtyards to historical churches and chateaux in medieval hilltop villages. Performing music in these wonderful surroundings introduced many first-time listeners to a whole new world where violin music contributed to their personal and social life experiences.
Eventually, I performed by invitation only and my dream of becoming a full-time violinist became a reality. Through this I discovered the power that music has to unlock emotional well-being for the listener and player alike, and the incredible key that musicians have to be transported in a magical journey with their listeners, while connecting with unique people and special places.
I settled in Dijon years later with a new dream to become a teacher in order to share my musical experience and motivate young musicians to become passionate players. Fortunately, it was at this time that I was introduced to the Suzuki method, a very unique way of teaching which resonated with everything that I could identify with. I immediately started tuition under the guidance of master teacher Christophe Bossuat at the Suzuki Institute in Lyon.
I was impatient to experience the effect this teaching method had on young violin players and soon was teaching in several music institutes. I was more and more fascinated by the effect of this teaching method on children. The spontaneous playing that resulted from it that even young toddlers are able to play classical pieces from memory and with so much fun. I became convinced that this was the way for children to grow up with music as a part of everyday life and to equip them to become the creators in their own right.
Back in South Africa after 23 years in France, I was highly thrilled when the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra offered me the opportunity to use this method of teaching in township schools as part of their education project, Masidlale. From 2007 to 2013 I've watched and experienced children from disadvantaged communities develop self-discipline, improve in school subjects and, most of all, gain self-confidence as their love for playing violin grows within them.
2014 sees the opening of the Cape Town Violin Academy with the principal aim to develop a base for the Suzuki violin teaching method in the Western Cape.
More about Maria
New directions in 2015
In February 2015 I extended violin learning to more children from disadvantaged communities.
After a French based company, Innovent, specialising in Renewable energy committed to a monthly donation I could create my own non-profit company: MUZUKIDZ.
I immediately set off with 40 children of ages 4 and 5, travelling from all the townships in Cape Town area, to a school in centre town.
Added to this another non-profit association Musiquelaine SA decided to sponsor a second school and I could add another 40 children from a second school!!
My dream had therefore become reality and 80 new children could start a Suzuki based violin learning.
My private and underprivileged learners (many enrolled by mothers who are cleaners by day in the City) perform together. Parents from different walks of life meet and reach-out to one another.