|From 1971 public music education in South Africa depended on government funding for instruments, buildings, salaries and equipment, but since 1994 this support has gradually faded. A case study shows that music centers are now being forced to become independent of financial support from either the government or the governing body of the school. Funding for operational costs needs to be self-generated. Theories about business management and entrepreneurial skills were the basis for this investigation. The aim of this research project was to investigate South African music centers as sustainable and profitable small business enterprises. The strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of music centers were investigated. Data were collected to form a situation analysis of the expectations that parents and pupils have of music education and the circumstances of music teachers. A qualitative study from the interpretivist perspective was done over four years in order to gain understanding of the situation. Data were collected through questionnaires, interviews and participant observation. The total number of respondents was 143. Teachers, parents, pupils and principals were involved in the investigation, and a case study was undertaken with a music centre in North-West Province. Music education is not a sustainable and viable business opportunity. Music educators, who are mostly trained in classical music, should reconsider the subject matter and the didactical approach. Jazz and popular music are in demand from the majority of pupils. Teachers are responsible for teaching, administrative tasks and even cleaning and gardening. Almost half the teachers have access to computers and very few have telephones at work while nearly all the pupils have their own cell phones and Internet access. Most teachers are hired part time without benefits, usually without a fixed salary. Music education must be relevant and entertaining. Educators should adapt to the needs of the client and other sources of income should be investigated. Ways in which services could be expanded should be investigated further. The importance and value of music education should be promoted and marketed in the community, and the focus of music education training should be on ensemble playing, improvising, composing and song writing, as well as on entrepreneurship and business management.