Volunteer Music Production in South Africa
- Placement locations: Cape Town
- Role: Work in a music production studio with a team of professionals
- Requirements: None
- Accommodation: Host family
- Length of placement: From 1 weeks
- Start dates: Flexible
Volunteering on Projects Abroad’s Music Production Project in Cape Town, South Africa, is an opportunity for you to live and work in one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. This diversity is reflected in its music and dance, and South Africa has given rise to its own unique music style called ‘Kwaito’, as well as a number of world-famous musicians and artists.
At the Music Production Project, you work as a volunteer in a modern recording studio, learning everything from production and musical engineering, to artist promotion and management. The project is suitable for everyone, whether you are on a gap year, career break, or volunteer vacation. This program is also ideal for undergraduates or recent graduates looking to gain professional experience in the field as interns.
Please note that although a formal musical background or education would be beneficial and allow you to get the most out of your project, it is not required.
Volunteering on the Music Production Project in Cape Town
During your time as a volunteer in Cape Town, you will gain first-hand experience of everything involved with a professional music studio. This includes:
- Learning production techniques
- Producing beats and melodies
- Learning about the work of a musical engineer on a broad range of equipment
- Understanding the processes behind recording, editing, and mastering an artist’s work
- Getting involved with artist discovery, recording, promotion. and management
- Organizing local gigs and concerts
- Promoting local artists
The goal of the project is to give aspiring musicians and producers the chance to work with a team of producers to launch their careers and provide a platform for their music. As a volunteer, you will be a part of that team, and learn all the skills involved with working in a studio while immersing yourself in the local music scene.
The work you do will be structured and practical. You will find your skill set growing as you learn how to set up and modify a range of equipment with the studio engineer, how to use a range of recording and editing software to record various artists and, how to produce your own beats and melodies professionally.
The Cape Town studio features acoustic material that has been assembled to ensure optimal acoustic properties for recording and producing. You can expect to work with a range of modern equipment, such as:
- A full range of studio recording software including Logic, Cubase, Ableton, FL Studio (Fruityloops), and Pro Tools
- Roland V Drum Kit
- Roland Fantom G8 Keyboard (one of only two in the southern hemisphere)
- Shure SM58 Dynamic Microphone
- Shure S55 Limited Edition (1/5000 globally, one of two in Africa) Ribbon Condenser Microphone
- Rode NT1A Condenser Microphone
- Rode K2 Condenser external control multi polarity Microphone
- Behringer XR18 Audio interface and Digital Mixer
- Akai M40 Midi Keyboard
- Silent, sound-proof live room
- Headphones and internal sound adjustment
- Multiple effects generators
- Multiple DAWs
- A range of guitars
Another important aspect of the project is your role in helping the studio’s label discover local artists. This is a particularly exciting part of the project as you can attend gigs, write reviews, and interview band members and solo musicians and singers. Some of these artists may then be chosen to come in and record. You will then have a part in the recording process, as well as any additional tasks such as photoshoots and branding. There may even be an opportunity to help in the process of shooting an artist’s music video (this will depend on how long you stay at the project).
The studio producer may also take you on tours to some music-related sites around Cape Town, including the History of Music Museum, the South African College of Music or even the prestigious International School of the Arts.
Volunteering in Music Production with Projects Abroad
For the duration of the project, you will stay with a local host family a few minutes away from the studio. Working hours are generally from 10am to 5pm, but this is dependent on the type of work going on at the time. You may need to work later if there is a band in the studio or if you are going to a gig or concert.
At the end of your time at the project, you will receive a certificate and a letter of recommendation from the studio’s producer, which you can then add to your resume and use to further your career back home.
You can join the Music Production Project in South Africa from 1 week if you don't have time to join us for four weeks or more. This project has been selected by our local colleagues as being suitable for short term volunteering for both the host community and the volunteer. Although you will gain a valuable cultural insight and work intensely within the local community please be aware that you may not be able to make the same impact as someone volunteering for a longer period.
All volunteers participating on standard projects in South Africa have the opportunity to spend one week on a Conservation & Environment project at the end of their main placement. For more information, please visit our African Bushveld Conservation & Environment Project in South Africa page. Our Combinations Page explains how you can combine not only projects, but also destinations.