From its modest beginning of 12 pupils, the centre has now grown to about 100 pupils, ranging in age from four years to adulthood. Currently, private tuition is given in violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet and piano. Theory of music from grade one to grade 6 is also taught.
The centre is fortunate in having a highly qualified, dedicated and experienced group of teachers, some of whom either have taught or are teaching in university music departments. The centre maintains high standards. Pupils are entered for the Royal Schools, Associated Board, Trinity College and UNISA examinations from Grade 1 upwards, and even including Teacher’s and Performer’s Licentiates and Fellowship examinations.
Over the years the pupils of the centre have achieved excellent results, obtaining distinctions and honours. They have taken part in national music competitions (Sanlam and ABSA) and bursary competitions, and regularly excel in the local eisteddfods.
Apart from receiving individual tuition, the pupils have opportunities for taking part in ensemble playing, both at the centre (e.g. in the clarinet quintet or cello ensembles) and in the Stellenbosch Youth Orchestra during the many years that it was under the dynamic direction of the late Lona Antoniadis.
The Dorothy and Charles Johnman Education Trust promotes these opportunities largely through providing the facilities, but does not, in a practical sense, directly run or manage the Centre; the Trust does not employ teachers, select pupils for admission, determine a curriculum or fees. Teachers pay rental to the Trust for the use of the premises, and retain professional autonomy in selecting and nurturing their pupils, and guiding them regarding assessment and performance.
Children from all parts of our community, including those from previously disadvantaged sections, receive one-to-one tuition in the instrument of their choice. Bursaries are also available. The Centre serves a wider area than just Stellenbosch and Somerset West, with some pupils over the years having come from as far afield as George, Caledon, Citrudal, Ceres and even Namibia.
Teachers have built up a strong sense of team work among themselves working, for example, towards the presentation of the annual ensemble concert. They maintain a fine partnership with the Trustees to preserve the original vision of Charles and Dorothy Johnman.