Human Development Through Music

Quick Info

How does my child join the Centre?

Auditions are held ONLY when there are spaces available at the Centre for Children. This usually takes place once a year in November. We currently have a waiting list that is as large as our capacity. Because of this, our waiting list for 2020 is currently closed. It will reopen again in January 2020 for children to join the Centre in 2021.

What age children do you teach?

Our early childhood development programme starts teaching children when they are 4 years old at 2 local primary schools and 3 creches. Once they turn 7, they are able to audition to attend the Centre and receive formal lessons.

Children can stay at the Centre until they matriculate from school. We do not cater for adults.

What are the fees?

The administration fee is a small contribution to the cost of your child’s music education. We ask our parent’s to contribute R480 a year towards their child’s education. We fundraise for the remaining costs. It costs R25 250 a year to provide your child with their instrument and up to 5 hours of teaching a week. We are strong believers in a small commitment by the parents to their child’s education. The fee represents this commitment. Bursaries are also available for parents who are unable to pay. 

How often are lessons?

Your child will receive the following lessons weekly:

  • 30 minutes of individual instrument lesson
  • 1 hour of an ensemble (group) lesson
  • 1 hour of music theory
  • 1 hour of choir

Please check with your child’s diary for a list of these times.

What to do if my child is going to miss a lesson?

We request that you provide 24 hour’s notice when your child is going to miss a lesson. You can do this by either phoning or smsing or whatsapping the child’s teacher.


How long does it take to learn a musical instrument?

This depends on the instrument. Some instruments can take a lifetime to master. In saying that, to get competent can take between 4-6 years.

How often should my child practise at home?

He / She should follow their teacher’s guidance OR doing between 30minutes and 1 hour of practice daily. The more practice, the more they will progress and improve. However, we do not encourage parents to “force” their children to practice. Often times children will resist practicing and this is completely normal. When learning, children need to move at their own pace. By keeping them in lessons on a regular basis and keeping the atmosphere light and enjoyable, a time will come when they will begin to practice on their own.

What do we teach?

We currently teach the following instruments at the Centre:

Electric Guitar & Electric Bass Guitar

Drum Kit





Double Bass


French Horn







Download a full list of FAQ's

Download a more comprehensive FAQ document here. 

Support a Child

We currently have 115 children at the Centre studying music at a fraction of the cost. Support a child by providing a monthly or annual donation and claim this donation against your income tax.

#Friends Of MICM

Support the growth and development of the Centre through volunteerism

About Us

The Morris Isaacson Centre for Music (MICM) was a joint collaboration between Cape Gate and MIAGI.  In 2008, Mendel Kaplan, Cape Gate Chairman, agreed to fund the construction of a music centre on the premises of the Morris Isaacson High School in Soweto through his foundation, the Kaplan Kushlick Education Foundation whilst MIAGI dedicated itself to the running of the Centre. The building was the first of its kind in any South African township and was formally inaugurated in May 2011.

Arco is an innovative alliance, established in 2015 between Morris Isaacson Centre for Music and Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, in the UK. 

Arco provides regular distance-learning opportunities for talented children in South Africa, who for multiple reasons, do not have access to the same level of musical education as people in Europe. 

Weekly individual instrumental lessons, mentoring and string quartet coaching are delivered by a group of current students and recent graduates from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire via video conferencing system, ZOOM. Regular events occurring within Royal Birmingham Conservatoires String Department, such as masterclasses, workshops and performances are streamed live to South Africa for the benefit of the MICM students. Throughout the year, Arco teachers from the UK travel to South Africa for the annual festival – an immersive musical experience, building on and solidifying skills learnt throughout the year.


Read more about it

MIAGI (the acronym for Music is a great Investment) was founded in 2001 with goal of “bringing people together and contributing to positive social development”.  Through intercultural events, composition commissions, educational programmes, national and international tours (linked to its internationally renowned MIAGI Orchestra) MIAGI empowers the youth of South Africa.

MIAGI has realised its vision of “bringing people together through music” through the commissioning of 17 major intercultural compositions uniting musicians from different music styles. The young people and aspiring MIAGI supported musicians are from all ethnic and social strata of South Africa, and the MIAGI Orchestra repertoire is purposefully broad: it includes everything from classical music to jazz and traditional African music.

In 2018 MIAGI Youth Orchestra undertook its fifth international tour.  The month-long European tour, celebrating Nelson Mandela Centenary, took the 86 members of the MIAGI Orchestra to over 16 phenomenally successful concerts at renowned festivals and major concert halls across six European countries. MIAGI lived Mandela‘s dream of reconciliation, mutual understanding and peace and shared this dream with the people of these European countries.

MIAGI conceptualised and developed the Morris Isaacson Centre for Music (MICM). 

Learn more here


Mtembu Street,
Jabavu Central Western,

(on the back of the Morris Isaacson High School premises)

School Hours

M-F: 10am – 5pm                                 Saturday: 8am – 12pm
Sunday: Closed

Phone & Email

087 131 1358


Wednesday, 26 February

Sex Education Workshop from 3pm – 5pm at the Centre.

Saturday, 21 March

Human Rights Day – This is a public holiday and as such NO TEACHING will take place. 

BUT your children are welcome to join us for the 2nd ever Umqhakazo Kids Creative Arts Festival. RSVPs are required. Attendance is FREE

Friday, 10 April to Monday, 13 April

The Centre will be closed for Easter Holidays.

Saturday, 13 June

We are hosting our Youth Day Concert at the Centre on Saturday 13th June. Please come and join us in celebrating your children’s hard work. 





Support our children

It is a well-documented fact that music education supports the learning of focus and concentration, develops a team bond and prepares them for a self-motivated life. Help us help our children become better adults by supporting our Centre. Sign up and become a donor now. We are a registered public benefit organisation and as such, all donations can be claimed back from SARS.

Meet our teachers

Lesang Phake is a Pianist, composer and theorist, born in Johannesburg in 1980. Trained at first as a guitarist, he later focused on piano. He studied classical music under the guidance of Johann Brand, Bernadette de Villiers, Fritz Buss and studied Jazz Music under Bheki Khoza. He has recorded a smooth jazz guitar album titled “Soulful Impressions”, and has performed extensively with his own band. He found teaching more conducive to family life and better suited to his own temperament, compared to a travelling performer’s life and its strenuous demands, hence he has given the greater part of his attention to teaching. Currently,​ he is the Piano and general music lecturer at Campus of performing arts JHB, Pianist at Siloam Word Alive Church. He obtained grade 8 in guitar (Unisa), grade 7 Piano (Unisa), grade 7 theory (Unisa), a higher certificate in adult basic education (Unisa) and is currently doing second year B Com​ degree in Supply Chain and Operations Management with Unisa

Lesang Phake

Theory Teacher

Nelisa Tshangela was born 1976-01-23. She studied Music Education at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University with a specific focus on using voice as a main instrument and choral conducting. While at university she adjudicated school choir competitions and continued with the adjudication when she came to Johannesburg in 2007. In 2011 she worked for Uthingo as an ECD music teacher and music coordinator at Bosmont, Newclair, Dowling and Coronation. Since 2016 she has worked at the Morris Isaacson Centre for Music as one of the Early Childhood Development music teachers.

Nelisa Tshangela

ECD Music Teacher

Keenan Ahrends is a Johannesburg based Jazz Guitarist and Composer. After completing his jazz performance studies at the University of Cape Town and the Norwegian Academy of Music in 2009, Ahrends has been actively involved in performing, composing and teaching.

Ahrends has collaborated with many established musicians including Louis Moholo, Feya Faku, Malcolm Braff, Andile Yenana, Carlo Mombelli, Afrika Mkhize, Shane Cooper, Sony recording artist SOMI (USA), Salim Washington (USA) and Kevin Gibson amongst others.

Ahrends released his debut album “Narrative” in February 2017

Keenan Ahrends

Guitar Teacher