Our Teachers


 

Janette Nortje

Janette studied through UNISA to achieve her musical ambitions of becoming an experienced grade 8 piano, flute and recorder teacher. She grew up in the Eastern Cape, King Williams Town for most of her childhood although she is originally from the Arctic tundra of Russia.

Not only is she musically in-tune but she is also a qualified attorney by the North Gauteng High Court, Pretoria RSA as of December 2011 – Janette is brains and beauty with an artistic flair.

As a doting mother of two young children, she has opted for the harmony of working-from-home to have the freedom of time flexibility. This suits the Nortje’s business-home lifestyle and together they are able to manage the administrative duties along with their teaching schedules at a light tempo.

Rika Cronje

From learning to play the recorder at age 6, to completing her Grade 8 piano practical during her high school years, all the while fitting in piano and violin as well, Rika has truly shown us that music is a way of life. Rika says, “I grew up in a home filled with music. My Mother loved music, she always played music and used to teach music at school as well. Even as a baby, my Mother played music to me and growing up, we played many duets together while my Father whistled”. For a while, Rika played in the worship band of her church and played in various bands throughout her years of schooling. She started off as a Classical musician, but these days she enjoys improvising, composing and discovering the beauty of sound. “I love Bach and Mozart. Bach calms me down and Mozart wrote beautiful music,” says Rika. Rika has dedicated her time to helping and teaching people to learn and grow their musical abilities while emphasising the importance of enjoyment through piano performance. She aspires to help people to understand how they are able to change the atmosphere by the sound they release.

Jo Thompson

“Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room.” – Dwayne Johnson. After a weekend at the 2012 Dan Patlanskey’s guitar weekend away in Clarens, Jo’s life changed completely. He is mostly self-taught, without any formal music training, since the age of 14 when he learned one of his first songs by CCR called Bad Moon Rising. His Father often played favourite music albums over weekends and his Grandfather is an Opera Singer, so music was an underlying theme however Jo is the only professional musician in the family. He is the lead singer and guitarist of a band called National Incident. He is skilled in Blues, Rock and Pop, R&B, Hip-hop, Funk and a bit of Jazz – and just about everything, except for Classical and Metal styles. Jo says that his style is an amalgamation of all of these genres. “I want to make a living as a touring Musician. I strive to perform on the biggest stages in the World and I want to play in the biggest festivals around the Globe, such as the Rock in Rio and the Lollapalooza,” says Jo. It is evident that Jo has the knowledge, passion and experience to share and pass on to other budding musicians.

Louis Nortje

A revered pianist and reputable teacher, Louis is the namesake and principal founder of this merry music school. Having taught at schools such as King David and the Avon School of Music in Cleveland, his expertise precedes him. Louis studied his Bachelors in Music at Witwatersrand University and completed his Masters in Music at the Cleveland Institution of Music all by the age of 26. Louis and his wife Janette are the engine behind the entire ochestra that is Louis Nortje Music School. Their passion and commitment to music and musicians is the melody on which the school performs.

Louis is accredited to teach and enter students of the highest level into music competitions. He adjudicates in the National Eistedfodd Academy (NEW) as well as other Eistedfodds.

Matthew Chadwick

Matt is a young artist who is passionate about guitar. From the age of eight when his mother introduced him to the classical piano and he later switched to acoustic guitar, at the age of ten. He immediately fell in love with the instrument and knew that his life’s journey would follow the strum of the guitar.

He plays classical guitar, rock guitar and more recently jazz guitar. Matt performs with the Johannesburg Youth Jazz ensemble on a regular basis and occasionally at Radium. The band plays at various events, fundraisers and school functions – most recently they played at the Illovo Music Centre on Thursday 31 August 2017.

Matt is currently in his third year at Witwatersrand University studying Music. He has composed many of his own songs, mostly for school projects, but has the raw talent to take his melodies further, however he is still figuring that out for himself – will he be a solo artist? Or will he be a Music Producer? The enthusiasm, talent and possibilities are endless …

Shawn van Staden

For as long as he can remember, Shawn has been learning and practising the art of music. He notes that it has been a long and tedious progression with every week bringing about a new discovery – from listening to the score of Bates Motel, listening to sound FX in games, discovering Dan Terminus or rediscovering some old punk-rock band after closing a CD case of Chopin’s etudes. “I am constantly introduced to new aspects of music; and yes, it drives my family and cats nuts”, he says. Shawn does not come from a musical family, however they are a creative, artistic bunch and they always support. He is a session player and attended the National School of Arts afterwhich he immediately began getting work as a guitar player all the while studying. Although he never attended University, due to work commitments, he completed a handful of formal short courses online and ensures that he practises regularly to maintain his deft guitar playing skills. Shawn says, “I’m focussed on guitar playing, Rock and Pop genre styles due to my line of work, however I would much rather play Classical or Jazz music for a living – if there was work”.

Joey Avinir

Joey has been playing music since he was in Grade 1 primary school, at the age of seven. He credits his Safta (Grandmother) as the person that instigated his first musical experience. “At first, I started learning the piano because when I was still crawling my safta (Grandmother) saw me constantly crawling to play with the keys of the piano and so my Mother thought that I should start with lessons”, he says. About five years later, he realised that he wanted to try and learn to play another musical instrument, thus began his love affair with the guitar. He chose to learn the acoustic guitar and taught himself to play the classical guitar style. It’s been roughly eight years of continuous guitar playing for Joey and he is currently studying at Witswatersrand University, where he has set his goal to major in composition. “My aspiration in life is to compose music for films, games and television shows. After my Degree at Wits, I’d like to Master at Berklee College of Music in Boston where I’ve been accepted for an Undergraduate”, says Joey.


 

Nicholas Bjorkman

A local gem, born and bred in Johannesburg, Nick is an example of finding his musical intuition later in life … or rather, the music found him. Growing up, Nick had access to piano and drums through school extra-curricular activities as well as home-life. His grandmother, a concert pianist in her day, taught him classical piano at age eleven and he was given a second-hand acoustic drum set when he was a teenager but his interest would sway, never fully succumbing to the beat. For Nick, the musical bug only bit him at the end of his teen-years. At nineteen, he started studying sound engineering at the Academy of Sound Engineering (ASE). During these three years of study, he fell in love with Jazz and progressed quickly to find his sound. He is currently studying Music at Wits, in his third year; Nick is honing-in on his talents – a passionate Jazz musician. You can find him at The Orbit in Braamfontein, regularly performing on stage. Nick specializes in jazz, but is also active in rock, folk, alternative/experimental, and neo-soul genres. He’s played at the following festivals with various bands – Oppikoppi, Rocking the Daisies, Fete De La Musique. As well as at venues including the Orbit, Afrikan Freedom Station, Rumours Lounge, Amuse Café. The Bannister Hotel, Neighbourgoods Market.

Thabo Mokoena

As a young child, Thabo fell in love with music – both singing and dancing were his passion. It wasn’t until he reached his mid-twenties that he achieved his goal to attend Witswatersrand University and study music at the Wits School of Arts. Although he was blessed with a family that is passionate about music, Thabo was the only member to become a musician. With the support of his family, he has established himself as a leader of a musical ensemble, The Blast Effect, that specialises in the performance of both Jazz and Contemporary music of local and international artists. Thabo says, “My primary genre of interest and skill is Rhythm and Blues. My main focus is Jazz and Pop music, however I am slowly trying to bridge the two worlds courtesy of my own creations”. Thabo enjoys teaching for the reward of helping young musical talents and grooming them to become successful, professionals – maybe even famous artists. He, himself wants to grow in his career as a performing artist, despite his current interest in artist management as it has always been his dream to perform in front of a live audience. “Without music, life would be a mistake.” – Friederich Nietzsche.

John Gerritsen

John, who also has his own music school, started his journey with music during his primary school years, learning to playing on the organ and acoustic guitar at the ripe age of twelve. He started playing professionally after he turned 24 years old. John’s worked with many bands throughout the years but has found most of his success as an artist through his solo career. “As a solo artist, I had number one music hits on coastal radio, ‘reverbnation’ and other radio stations that play my music,” says John. He has released four music albums to date and he boasts a variety of playing styles such as Blues, Classical, Flamenco, Country, Acoustic and Electric. He is a true multi-instrumentalist. He says, “I am passionate about good guitar music and I play a lot of Gospel Folk as well”.

Want to start with us ?

We offer flexible hours and negotiable rates between various teachers at both premises.  
Come visit us and have a look around. We’ll schedule you in for a free trial lesson and devise lesson times to suit your schedule.