Who are we?

The Hillbrow Music Centre was started in 1998 on behalf of the Outreach Foundation as part of the arts and culture program in response to the overwhelming need for extra-curricular activities after school and over weekends for children and youth. Due to the limited opportunities for music education in Hillbrow and the surrounding inner-city despite the obviously large and enthusiastic pool of talent in the area, the HMC primarily provide access to music education as an alternative after-school activity for children and youth in Hillbrow and the surrounding inner-city areas. The project aims to keep children and youth off the streets and provide them with activities that support their holistic development.

Experience has shown that learning to play an instrument and musical appreciation impacts on a child’s personal and socio-economic development. Whilst studying music, children/youth also learn logical thinking; develop their concentration skills; long-term memory and their coordination. The programme provides beneficiaries with the opportunity to discover their creative and artistic abilities: an opportunity that is not available to them in school. Added to this, concert performances provide the opportunity for beneficiaries to explore other places outside Hillbrow for a few hours and allow them to socialise with children from different socio-economic groups, this boosts their self-confidence. furthermore working in groups has shown that communication skills are enhanced in preparation for concerts. Participation is voluntary (usually with no parental encouragement) and the sheer number of applicants over the years is evidence of the community’s need for a music centre such as that provided by the Outreach Foundation.

What we offer

Tuition is currently offered in piano, violin, cello, trumpet, trombone, marimba, guitar as well as the recorder, saxophone and clarinet. Over 18-year-olds may register for; drums, electric bass, electric piano and marimba. Theory of music and music appreciation are offered as an integral part of the instrument study.The HMC provides both formal (instrument study and music theory) and informal (group work and workshops) music tuition to some 105 students by 8 qualified music tutors.


Classes are held weekdays in the afternoons and on Saturday mornings. The students are also encouraged to participate in quarterly concerts giving them the opportunity to showcase their creative skills and development.There is no minimum age requirement to participate in the programme and very young students and other beginners are introduced to the basics of music appreciation on recorders in group-classes before choosing another instrument to learn. To be part of the music centre, a registration form should be completed. This can be done at Outreach Foundation’s reception.

Read Our Story

Our Goals

We strive to:

Promote cultural growth

Develop creative abilities

Boost memory and coordination

Provide a safe haven

Our Team:

Gerard Bester

-Programme Manager

Madoda Gxabeka

-Drum Teacher

Themba Moyo

-Marimba Teacher

Mubale Amisi

-Piano and Theory

Virginia Pilane

-Administration Assistant

On Our Blog:

Farewell to Cyrildene Primary Seniors

The Outreach Foundation Primary Marimba band will be playing at Cyrildene Primary’s grade 7 farewell on 8th November 2019. Together with the IHD Dance academy, they will entertain the children as grade 7’s enjoy their last hours with their primary school and say their farewells to one another. We are proud to be part of their farewell


Soweto Festivities


Coco was born to play piano

I was introduced to Outreach Foundation by a friend in 2009. I wanted to do piano lessons but all the classes were
full so I settled on another instrument, but it really wasn’t what I wanted. I played some other instruments, but my
passion was piano and I hankered for it. Some of the students didn’t pitch for their lessons and so I was given the
opportunity to take their spot behind the piano.
“My teacher,” Amisi (Coco) Mubale recalls, “was Maggie Fletcher and she took me under her wing.
“She told me that she’d teach me in such a way that I would be able to play and then compose. I wasn’t sure what
was happening in the beginning though, it was hard. Piano isn’t easy”.
Coco, a refugee living in South Africa, took his lessons very seriously. He was committed. Although he moved to
Centurion in 2010, he made a plan to get to Hillbrow, come what may.
“It was hard. But I knew how important the lessons and the organisation were to me, so I made a plan. My hard work
paid off, as in 2011, I wrote my first piano exam, then another in 2012. I was told I was too good for the grade 1
exam, so I was to do the grade 2 exam, but as I was about to do it, I was told I needed to do the grade 3 exam. I was
shocked and happy that I had progressed so much.
“In 2013 I did the grade 4 and 5 exams, then in 2014, the University of South Africa (UNISA) changed some of their
qualifications and so I had to wait. I then did grade 4 theory and grade 6 practical and in 2017, I did assessments and
more theory. By 2018, I was told to skip grade 7 theory, and go straight to grade 8 practical and theory. I was
delighted and amazed at my journey”.
But Coco’s journey with music started when he was very young. Where he grew up there was an African folk lore
group that combined a variety of traditional instruments.
“Their music influenced me from when I was a small boy. I was also singing since the age of two. Music was always
inside me. The piano: my choice of instrument, as when my uncle offered me a small keyboard to play as a boy,
although I didn’t know what I was doing, it felt right to me and I knew I wanted to learn more”.
Coco also didn’t know that one could study and obtain a qualification in music until he came to Outreach
“When I left my country due to its history of war, I was desperate. I had no direction. I was looking for help, and I
couldn’t believe that I managed to find an organisation that could help me. I made a promise to myself that for as
long as I was living in South Africa, I’d come to Outreach Foundation, as Maggie was like a mother to me and the
organisation, another home. She told me about UNISA and encouraged me to study.
“She inspired me to work harder. She inspired me to become a teacher. I want to teach others the beauty of music!
Coco completed his grade 8 practical and theory of music exams in December 2018. This is the highest qualification
attainable for the graded examinations by UNISA.
“Music is my life! In addition to teaching, I want to become a composer. I want to experiment. I love mixing
traditional and classic music like Rhythmic guitar and traditional Ngoma music”.
Says Maggie Fletcher, about Coco: “He is my first student to go up to grade 8, and I cannot believe that when he
began, he knew nothing about piano and theory. He is a remarkable young man as in the space of three years; he
has completed his qualification. I and Outreach Foundation are very proud of him, and we can’t wait for him to teach
our students”.