Maria Smit, née Jonker, was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands. She grew up mainly in Johannesburg and the Netherlands and matriculated in 1971. She studied at Stellenbosch University and Unisa and holds the following degrees: BA (US, 1974), BA Hons. (Afrikaans & Dutch) (Unisa 1983), MA cum laude ( US, 1990), BMus Hons (Music Education) cum laude ( US 1991), D Littt (US, 1997), Higher Education Diploma (US, 1975), and a Licentiate in School Music (Unisa, 1975). She was music teacher at a primary and a secondary school and also engaged in private music tuition and theory classes to pre-schoolers, primary and secondary pupils and university students, 1976-1990. In 1979, 1981-1982 and 1985-1994 she acted as part-time lecturer, Department of School Music, US, and in 1997 she was appointed as Senior Lecturer in Music Education, Department of Music, US.
She is also a trained Lexicographer and did extensive research in Heidelberg, Germany for three semesters in 1988, 1992 and 1996 respectively, for which she was awarded, amongst others, the Harry Crossley Overseas Scholarship and the CSD Scholarship for Doctoral research abroad. She is chief editor of the Suid-Afrikaanse Musiekwoordeboek / South African Music Dictionary , which appeared in August 2000.
Her special research interest is Group Teaching in Arts and Culture and Teaching Electronic Keyboard to primary school pupils. Since 1998 she has been the Project Leader of the research project: Lexicography and African Music. This was funded by the National Research Foundation (NRF) within the focus area 'Education for the Knowledge Era' and by the Research Administration of the Stellenbosch University, Sub-Committee A. This project focuses on the development of a multimedia encyclopedia of African music on CD-ROM. She has published various articles, mainly on music terminology, and on the planning of the multimedia encyclopedia of African musical terms. The Department of Music also inaugurated a new Music Education Laboratory in 2001 , featuring 20 computers linked to electronic keyboards, to be used in the Music Technology courses. Dr Smit was instrumental in obtaining funds for this laboratory. New projects in the division of Music Education, headed by Dr Smit, in-service training for teachers of Arts and Culture, Curriculum Studies in Music Education, and the Enhancement of research in Tertiary Education with regard to Music Education. Maria is married to Dirkie Smit and has a daughter and a son.
Books: Suid-Afrikaanse Musiekwoordeboek/ South African Music Dictionary (Co-editor: Reino Ottermann), Pharos, 2000