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Emil Bruwer

I studied music [BMus] at Stellenbosch University after school from 2009 – 2012. I think coming from Waldorf assisted me in doing really well at university as I was slightly older and more ready for the challenges that the degree offered. My self confidence and knowledge that my opinion was valid, which had been cultivated at Waldorf, provided the platform for me to engage in discussions in class and write essays and so on which were not like the others in my class, and I believe the lecturers appreciated this. I was asked by many of them which school I went to and it was often comment-ed on how I had a different, less conservative approach to my work. I must add that in my first two years whilst studying English as an extra subject I was often struck by how prepared I was and I’ll even say ahead of the other students who were learning things which I had learned in High School already.

In 2012 I studied abroad at the University of Arizona in Tucson, USA for a semester and the experience of course also offered me a window into the life, society and culture of the US. I took on all the opportunities that were presented to me! The band master offered me a scholarship to cover my health insurance, commenting that he wished more of the stu-dents there had the same zest for participation in the activities, musical happenings, general campus activities and things happening in the town. I attended as much as I could (maybe sometimes even to the detriment of my practic-ing French horn and studying) but I knew ultimately that it would be my experiences in my short time attending University of Arizona that I would learn from the most. I think this attitude was also instilled at Waldorf.

After I graduated in 2012 I moved to Port Elizabeth where I took up the post of band master and music teacher at Collegiate Junior School for Girls. It was very different from the Waldorf environment and I believe that my less conventional approach brought much to the table. I was on the Parent Teacher Organisation and the Social Committee [2014] and always shared my ideas with my colleagues even though sometimes they were very new ideas imparted by my own schooling at Waldorf. I know that many of my colleagues there loved having me at the school as they would often comment on my freethinking and “hands on – can do” attitude. I was offered a job in the SA navy band and so I left the school and teaching at the end of 2013.

I moved back to Cape Town and started my basic training in January 2015. I was often in the limelight on basic training in Saldhana Bay for all the questions I asked, comments I made and norms that I challenged. It may have made my life more difficult than it needed to be but I knew that all of my asking and challenging was helping my fellow trainees and I didn’t mind taking the wrap now and then. The mentality and culture of the institution is so narrow minded and short sighted. Many of the people thought I was a very unusual individual and I had conversations with many of the instructors. I however realised that as much as I was trying to help them to have a little perspective it would be futile for the most part. I am also okay with that, because sometimes it takes a long time for a seed to grow and if even one of those seeds grow it would not have been for nothing.

I finished my basic training in June and I have been working the Navy band (Playing French Horn) since then and loving it!

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