Change the world


It is essential for music creatives to focus and educate themselves on music business and music law to be successful in the ever-changing music industry and working world.

Jazz pianist, sound engineer and music technology lecturer Robyn Henneberry focused her master’s in music research on how local musicians can successfully navigate the music industry by adopting a protean career (driven by the individual and not the organisation).

Robyn will be graduating cum laude at the Nelson Mandela University graduation on 15 December, after completing her Master’s in one year and seven months. Her supervisor was Music’s Prof Alethea de Villiers, whom she praises for her “exemplary dedication and support”.

This is the first South African study to address the adoption of a protean career among independent local music creatives, says Robyn.

Her examiners also commented that the study will contribute to lecturers in Higher Education Institutions reconsidering to change their curricula content to include music business and law. Her research participants indicated that these were lacking in their music degrees.  

Despite her education and abilities, Robyn has found it challenging to find employment in her field of expertise, like many extremely talented creatives. She has specialised in playing the piano for 13 years, performs different genres of music and is knowledgeable in classical and jazz theory, arrangement, music technology and performance practice.

She believes musicians do not market themselves and the services they provide successfully. Technology has dominated the music industry and the traditional record label company signing musicians has diminished. Individuals must therefore adapt to the new industry.

Music creatives tend to focus on the creative aspects, but to avoid exploitation and for return on investment, they have to focus on music industry processes such as business and music law. Her research explored the skills individuals need to be successful in the industry.

Robyn wants to obtain her doctorate in the same field at Mandela University with Prof De Villiers as supervisor as she is “extremely passionate” about her topic and hopes to make a difference in the city.

She started at the age of 10 with piano lessons, matriculated at St Marks High school in Westering, and obtained her BMus degree and BMus Technology Honours Cum Laude. She will be the first in her extended family to obtain a master’s degree.

Contact information
Ms Elma de Koker
Internal Communication Practitioner
Tel: 041-504 2160