Educational band visits

For weeks 13 and 14, half of PULSE (Ine and Geir) are located in the Northern Cape, conducting the first ever FBF Educational band visits together with Field Band Education (FBE) and some of our Peer Educators.

These educational band visits will take place in field bands all over South Africa throughout 2017, and the aim is to offer more training for Field band staff, and to get the same training out to all bands. It is also an opportunity for our Peer Educators to practise facilitating, and they will take turns in joining these band visits.

Each band visit lasts for 4 days: we have 3 days of workshops with the band staff, facilitating in PULSE and FBE material. On the last day of the band visit we go out to the local band and cooperate with the band staff to make a joyful and motivational event for the members.

Band visits- Team Kimberley

The Kimberley band staff together with facilitators from PULSE, FBE and Peer Eductors.

PULSE´s main focus on these educational band visits is disability awareness and inclusive teaching. Through three days of workshops the band staff learns about what a disability is and possble causes of disabilities, and get important and useful knowledge on how we relate to, respect, include and talk about people living with disabilities.

We also have a session where we go deeper into one kind of disability that is especially prevalent in the community their field band operates in, as well as a practical session on how to implement the knowledge of disability awareness into the band, and the tutors teaching. At the end of it all, in cooperation with the band staff, we will have created a Change Agent Action Plan specific for each band, with strategies and tools for how to be even better at including field band members living with disabilities and making sure that their field band experience is one of safety , mastery, belonging and joy.

The content, spread over four sessions in three days, is set up like this:

Session one: What is a disability?

The session explains what a disability is, and uses activities and exercises to give the learners an idea of what it might be like to be living with a disability. It aims to clarify and put into words that people living with disabilites are capable of a lot, and should not be underestimated or belittled.

The session also gives knowledge of what some possible causes of disabilities are, and examines beliefs and opinions regarding disabilities in the band staff´s own community.

The aim of this is to encourage language and practises in relation to people living with disabilities that are promoting holistic health, and to examine how we can remove some of the stigma still surrounding people living with disabilities.

We also want to give information on behaviour that can cause disabilities, such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) and shaken baby syndrome. We hope that by giving information on this and enabling the learners to share that information in their communities, we can increase awareness and hopefully contribute to lower the number of children being affected.

Session two: Being inclusive and respectful

This session goes deeper into the subject of treating everybody with respect. Through enforcing the point that people living with disablities have the same needs and feelings as everyone else, we examine what is the best way of relating to people living with disabilities. Through giving tools and doing activities we strengthen the band staff´s confidence in meeting people living with disabilities in a dignified and enabling way.

We also introduce the concept of ”people first language”, both a respectful way to talk about people living with disabilities and a way to remind ourselves all the time that everyone is first and foremost a person.

Session three: A closer look at a disability that is especially prevalent in the community the participant´s field band operates in.

Through taking time to work closely with one specific disability that is relevant to the learners, we hope to help increase the band staff´s competence to teach children living with this disability both by having more knowledge about the disability and by getting specific tools to use. For the Kimberley session we focused on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

Session four: Practical disability awareness.

Time to implement the knowledge we have gained. Through check-lists and activities we examine the status in the band staff´s own band, and find points to improve on. After agreeing on what we want to and can improve, we cooperate in finding tools that we can use to do just that. The points of improvement and the tools are gathered in a ”Change agent action plan” that the band staff will take back to their bands and implement. PULSE will follow up on how the implementation is going and offer advice in the process.



Tutors from Kimberley Field band doing an exercise on disability awareness.

As we close this first ever band visit in Kimberley, we look back at a great week. We are very impressed, both with the peer educators who have risen to every challenge they were presented with, and with the Kimberley band staff who have shown great involvement and work ethics.

The final big blowout of the band visits – the joyful and motivational event for the members, was a great success. All the members present appeared to be having a good time, and they also got some very useful life skills knowledge on opportunity and setting boundaries. In addition to this they got to play a lot of fun games and try their skills at acting.

We take with us this success and all our positive experiences, and look forward to next week, when PULSE, FBE and Peer Educators will visit Hanover and Petrusville/Phillipstown Field Bands.

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Written by Ine Nord, Pictures by Ine Nord and Jack Mmetseng.

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Since arriving in Norway the PULSE-team have been teaching in various bands and seminars using the FBF approach. Some of the participants we have worked with has never touched an instrument before. During our seminar’s we always introduce a variety of elements such as; playing by ear, dancing, singing and activities from FBFs activity library like icebreakers, energizers and team builders. We are experiencing a lot of laughter and happy feelings during our rehearsals, many of the musicians we meet can be very shy at start, but once they touch their instrument and start to play is when they express themselves through the music. The feeling of achievement when the participants master what we have thought them can be overwhelming at times.


Stronger Together 

One of our members from Furuset Skoles Musikkorps was asked “What does music mean to you” her reply was “whenever I feel afraid , I hold my head high and whistle a happy tune, so no one will suspect that I’m afraid, and every single time, the happiness in the tune convince me that I’m not afraid”


”Music make me happy”

Participants at this years VinterPULSE in Oslo and Bergen were asked the same question and at both places Happiness received the most responses. In 2015 240 youngsters was asked the very same in South Africa with the same result (ref the report Musical activities as health promotion,, page 41).

Based on this we believe in the power of music to influence positive change, because music help us understand and express our moods and attitude. Music help us to reorganize our thoughts and feelings while keeping us on track. We have seen a positive change of behaviour; members becoming more disciplined and focused, they open up to each other and dare to show their vulnerability, they laugh and smile when working with us.


Happy faces

Socially, children who become more involved in music groups or ensemble learn important life skills, such as how to relate to others, how to work as a team and appreciate the rewards that comes from working together towards a common goal where everyone is needed. This shows that picking up an instrument can help a child to break out of their social shell. This is supported by the VinterPULSE evaluation where 75% of the participants in Oslo and 68% in Bergen reported that friends is an important factor for their definition of music.


Friendship & joyful moments

Drawing on our personal experiences as music teachers it is clear to us that music has a role to play in a child’s ability to learn and develop. Not necessarily just in terms of general intelligence, but in terms of strengthening their mental and social well-being. Researcher in Phycology of Music and Dance from University of Hertsfordshire, Dawn Rose, is supporting this view when she states that musical learning can help children to apply themselves, as well supporting the processes involved in teamwork and appreciation of working towards shared goals.

We are also happy to note that Dural music centre has listed many good reasons for why music is a beneficial to children (ref that correlates with our experience;

  •   It teaches patience and appreciation
  •   It builds confidence trough mastery
  •   It teachers them how to relate to others and therefore strengthens them socially
  •   It can boost their brain power and stimulate their memory
  •  It helps them to connect with others; music is reckoned to be amplified when    experienced with others
  •  It teaches discipline and strengthens ones self-direction 

But most importantly; Music is beneficial because it makes one happy!




Written by: Sizwe Nkosi & Sihle Mabena

Photos by: Aleksa and Mads Ostberg

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Peer Educator Training Continues

It has only been a few weeks since the last time the Peer Educators (PE) gathered, but we are already picking up where we left of. The last training period was to prepare for and to conduct the National Tutors Workshop. This time we start preparing for the upcoming Educational Band Visits that are happening throughout the coming year. The Peer Educator Programme is developed and operated in collaboration with Field Band Education, and the Peer Educators are given training in several topics during the three days we are gathered. The topics covered in this training session includes practical music theory, conducting and facilitation skills. The main PULSE theme we are covering is “Disability Awareness and Inclusive Teaching”.

One of the main goals the PULSE project in South Africa is working towards is to give the tutors of the Field Band Foundation (FBF) the tools they need to successfully include members living with disabilities. A lot of good work is already being done throughout the bands, and we will add on this when we visit bands during the Educational Band Visits. Our Peer Educators will join us for these visits and the last few days have been spent giving the PE’s an overview of the “Disability Awareness and Inclusive Teaching” guide. We have presented relevant knowledge about different types of disabilities, and we have talked about barriers that might prevent successful inclusion in society. By giving information, and through relevant activities we aim to make the participants aware of how it might feel to be in the shoes of a person living with disabilities, and to apply critical thinking when facing myths and beliefs about different disabilities. Through this our Peer Educators can truly be role models and change agents for a more inclusive Field Band Foundation.


The PULSE and FBE surprised the Peer Educators with a small Gira figure for each. The figure is to be a tool for the PE’s to use when they themselves facilitate Gira workshops and talk about key topics like safety, belonging and resilience. The growing flock of Giras also represents how the PULSE content reaches further into the bands through the help of the Peer Educator. The Peer Educators and their Giras are key in making sure the PULSE content is implemented throughout the organisation. In addition to the Gira figure the Peer Educator were given a small poem that tells some of the main themes of the “Story of Gira”, and with that; some of the most important goals we work towards in the PULSE project.


There first was just one

who couldn’t lift her head.

She bent her neck

and kept it down instead.

But the story spread,

so the family grew.

We once had just one,

but now we have two!


She is a reminder

of something in us.

We use her to talk,

to listen and discuss.

She needs to feel safe,

like all of us do.

She needs meaning, support

and self-esteem too.


Her story is one

of many we know,

where challenges come

and tough times make you grow.

For each day that passes,

she grows taller than before.

She started out quite bent,

but she’s rising more and more.


There is a little piece

of her in us all.

We all can be down

and we all can stand tall.


It’s time for you now

to each get your own.

Look around the corner,

– don’t leave us here alone!


Take good care of us,

because we need to belong.

Let us master note by note

and we’ll each give you a song!


By: Solvor Vermeer



Written by/Pictures by: Emely Ruth Waet

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VinterPULSE Oslo/Bergen 2017

Norges Musikkorps Forbund together with the PULSE programme has again held a third successful, exciting, vibrant and energetic VinterPULSE seminar in Oslo and the first ever VinterPULSE in Bergen.


VinterPULSE Oslo

VinterPULSE started in 2015 in Oslo with only 25 participants from three different schools and school bands. We received funding from LNU Inkludering og Mangfold for the project. The idea was to help the bands with their recruitment and the seminar was held at Møllergata skole where PULSE worked in on a weekly basis, the average age on the first VinterPULSE was 8 years.

In 2016, we had around 35 participants from 10 bands, including drill that was a new target group for the project. This year we received funding from LNU Kultur and launched our peer educator program where we had 6 praktikanter from RØST working in partnership with the PULSE team. The average age for 2016 was 9 years.

In 2017, we had more than 80 applicants from more than 10 bands and we invited members of Dragen fritidsklubb to attend. The cooperation with Dragen is a recruitment pilot we are testing out in partnership with the Inclusion agent program and we were happy to see that several boys from Dragen attended VinterPULSE- the whole week. The average age for 2017 was 10 years.

We are proud that the seminar is getting so popular, and that we are expanding our participant groups and geographical outreach. Our slogan for VinterPULSE has always been that “If we can’t go to Africa, we can bring Africa here”, and from the very beginning VinterPULSE has been a bit different than other school band courses offered by NMF.

There are some important aspects that makes VinterPULSE a little different from the other courses that NMF offer:

  • It is a low threshold seminar, where economy and other resources in one’s family should not prevent any child from joining. We therefore arrange transport to and from the local schools, serve food at the seminar and have a very low/symbolic registration fee.
  • The musical content of the course is diverse, and something different to what the kids get in their school bands throughout the rest of the year.
  • We see this as important because Norwegians today have roots from all over the world, and using different musical expressions is important to facilitate for the best possible learning experience for everyone.

Bergen had its very first VinterPULSE programme this year. The target groups for participants are a combination of band members and children that are not involved in banding or any other after school activity. We therefore got the opportunity to work with children from Redd Barnas project a good neighbour and from Sund reception centre. It has been important for us to find a working model that includes both band members and participants that are not playing an instrument yet. We have also tested a drop-in model for participation in the project- Also here the threshold for joining has been very low and it has been open for new participants to join every day or miss a day. The main goal is that every single participant should feel welcomed in the group, experience being noticed by the leaders, have fun, and learn something new. In Bergen we have had 55 children visiting, the project in total and about 35 of these has been showing up regularly.

The PULSE participants incorporate some of the South African Field Band Foundation teaching methods at VinterPULSE. We introduced elements such as playing music by ear, dancing while playing, and keeping sessions short but effective when teaching. Rapid changes of activities; dance, singing, icebreakers, team builders rhythmical session, playing sessions e.g., are reckoned as an important tool to keep everyone’s interest. We have also made it a point to introduce at least one musical piece or activity that is new for everybody every day. This is done to include new participants and to quickly give them a sense of mastering.

PULSE-team partnered with “praktikanter” (trainees/peer educators) from Hordaland Ungdomskorps in Bergen and Regionkorps Øst in Oslo. The purpose for this partnership is to strengthen the PULSE team by bringing the knowledge and musical skills the trainees have when it comes to instruments that are common in Norwegian skolekorps. The trainees are crucial in translating between English, Norwegian during the sessions so all the kids could understand what is required, and what is said to them by the PULSE team. They are also important role models and represent the link between the PULSE leaders and the VinterPULSe participants.


PULSE Team and Praktikanter

One important aspect of the week is to give participants a chance to make new friends, so we encourage the children to use the breaks between sessions to play and chat with each other. The team provides a variety of activities throughout the entire seminar. Most of these activities are meant to keep the kids focused and energised, but most importantly to make them feel included to the programme at all times. The Friendship wall reinforces this aspect.

The friendship wall is a poster where the kids get to write notes on what they like about playing in a band and being at VinterPULSE. It has proven to be an effective tool where the kids get to express themselves, and it shows us if we are successful in our aim to improve quality of life for our participants. It has been great to see that the kids experience getting new friends, mastering the music and being inspired.


VinterPULSE Team

This seminar has been an interesting experience so far and the learning curve has been steep for everyone involved. It is our experience that the project has been successful according to the main goals and that the methodology is worth developing further.

Written by : Thulani Dupa and Masibulele Langa

Photos : Praktikanter and PULSE Team

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Spaces in Between

One of the tools we use to talk about music and health is the story of Gira. Gira is a toy giraffe we take with us on our workshops and band visits, and she has a backstory that highlights some of the challenges the members of the Field Band Foundation might experience in their daily lives. In Giras story we see that the parents are not a big part of her life, her father often being away with his friends, and her mother often being at work. The story also tells us that Gira finds it hard making friends at school. She struggles with loneliness, and lacks social support in her life. Through the field band Gira finds friends, and positive adult role models. The tutor and the Social Officer gives positive reinforcements and listens when she needs to talk. Read the story of Gira here



Workshops on Gira consists of a number of activities designed to make the participants discuss and reflect on aspects of music and health. One of these activities is called “Spaces in Between”. The goal of “Spaces in Between” is for the tutors to be aware of the Field Band members’ emotional life and possible challenges.  But also, to see how the adult role models in a member’s life can have an impact on him or her.


All the participants in this activity are given a role to play, it can be Gira herself, her mother, the field band tutor, a class mate or a fellow member of the field band. “Gira” will stand in the middle of the room. The other participants will be asked to imagine that they are in Gira’s head, and position themselves according to how far or close they think Gira feels they are in her life. Based on her story, we see that the father is not a big part of her life, and he might position himself further away from “Gira” than the field band tutor. The field band friend is closer to Gira than the classmate and positions herself accordingly. When everyone is in place we freeze the position, and discuss what we see. What does this say about Gira’s everyday life and social relations? We often see that the field band people are closer than a lot of the other people in her life. What happens if we remove the friends and adults from the field band from the picture? We will perhaps see that the field band might be more important for their members than they are aware of, and that as tutor they are in a unique position to be a positive influence in their members lives.


The overall goal of the Gira workshops is to make the tutors aware of the impact they have on members. A tutor’s job consists of more than teaching members how to play and dance.  We can’t change all the circumstances in Gira’s life, but we can make sure that we contribute in the best way we can: By providing a safe and positive environment that builds resilience in facing the issues in our lives.


Written by: Emely Ruth Waet

Pictures by: PULSE


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Two hours to make 136 youngsters to feel a sense of togetherness


PULSE has done it again; another exciting Samspill weekend at Marikollen Kultursenter in Rælingen. This time 136 members from different school bands in and around Oslo met for a three-day seminar filled with music, learning and friendships. Their ages ranging from 9 to 16 years old. Samspill aim to give young musicians in the region an opportunity to meet and play music together, as well as offering them an experience of performing in a large band. img_0421

Sihle was already booked for a seminar at Furuset Skoles Musikkorps this particular weekend. NMF Øst and the PULSE management therefore challenged Sizwe to lead the project in partnership with one of the musicians in NMF Øst’s regional band, RØST; Tron Petter Nilsen Aunaas. Tron-Petter was also one of six praktikanter (peer educators in training) from VinterPULSE 2016 and he therefore had firsthand experience of the Field Band way of using music related activities to achieve non-musical goals. His main task was to assist Sizwe trough out the project, translate for him when needed and explain the chosen activities we prepared to show case on the concert the following afternoon.img_0414

On Saturday evening, after a long day of rehearsals, Sizwe and Tron-Petter where given two hours with the group of 136 youngsters to inspire them with energy, laughter, a bit of movements and no instruments. The main goal was to make the group feel relaxed and experience a sense of togetherness as a group, and prepare an item to present at the concert the next day.

Sizwe decided to teach a song from South Africa called “Re na le ba pala” which is a song taken from Tswana and means “We are playing, singing, dancing and celebrating”. It is a song used in happy occasions like weddings and it chosen to make people feel happy and energized. img_0420

The Samspill participants attending the seminar were so excited about the song and within an hours’ time they had learned the melody and the lyrics, movements and a rhythmical section had been added to the piece and they were ready to present the piece at the concert. According to Sizwe they experienced a lot of laughter when going through the lyrics and introducing the movements, but ones all the parts where put together it sounded really well and the youngsters really sang their hearts out.

FBF’s activity library is a great tool to use when planning a workshop like this. It contains more than 40 activities where you can engage participants in team building activities, icebreakers and energizers that can contribute to improved social well-being and create a sense of belonging; also in larger groups.img_0412

To start the workshop Sizwe decided to use an energizer called “Fire in the mountain”, an activity Tron-Petter knew well from VinterPULSE 2016. In this activity, you need someone to call out “Fire in the mountain” loud and clear for the whole group to hear. The group will move around in the room and shout back “Hey Hey” every time the call out is shouted. Suddenly the caller will call a number and all the participants must form groups of that number by hugging and holding on to each other.

Sizwe explains that the main goal with the activity chosen was to create a safe space and an inclusive environment before we introduced them to Re na le ba pala. The good thing about the activity is that it is physical and that all participants are taking part in the activity. The constant movement in the group will make one lose track of the people they normally stay with and they will end up hugging people they don’t know that well. They must all use their voice while shouting back at the caller and this helps every person to feel confident in being heard and using their voice in the next activity.img_0408

The feedback from the members who participated in the activities was overwhelming they were all focused and participating with a positive attitude towards the chosen activities.

Sizwe also found that it was a good experience working together with Tron-Petter on this project. He was very professional, had good work ethics and understanding of what we were trying to achieve. He participated whole-heartedly in the activities together with the rest of the group and this is an important aspect of being a good role model to others and it helped them feel comfortable to participate. After all he is one of them and at their age, there is power in being a peer. This we know for a fact from South Africa.

Tron-Peter will also take part in VinterPULSE which will take place in the Winter holiday 20th-24th of February at Sagene festivitets hus in Oslo. img_0417



Written by: Sizwe Nkosi

Pictures by: Tron-Peter Nilsen Aunaas




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National Tutors Workshop

The last week has been spent at the National Tutors Workshop (NTWS) in Parys, Free State. Field Band Education and PULSE are hosting the workshop and providing training in leadership-, teaching- and life-skills in addition to arts training. More than 50 tutors from all over South Africa have spent the last few days hard at work, and the enthusiasm and dedication is truly inspiring.

In January PULSE and FBE launched our Peer Educator Pilot Programme. ( The Peer Educators have been co-facilitating sessions for both “Gira – building resilience in members” and “Gender Equality & Social Inclusion”, and have done very well in these tasks. The story of Gira resonated with many of the tutors and they were reminded that as a field band tutor, you have the chance of making an impact on members lives. By being positive role-models and providing a sense of belonging, safety and support, the tutors of the Field Band Foundation builds resilience and are a source of emotional and social development in their members. All tutors were tasked with taking the story of Gira and some related activities back to their bands, and in the next few weeks the tutors will make sure that what they have learned will benefit their members as well.

PULSE and the Peer Educator also facilitated sessions on ”Gender Equality & Social Inclusion”. Here we examined both our own and societies attitudes, and the roles we are given according to our sex. The Peer Educators facilitated for reflection and lively discussions. Finally we explored how we as tutors can be change agents for greater gender equality and inclusion in our bands, and we brainstormed different solutions to some of the challenges we experience.

PULSE would like to thank all tutors and Peer Educators for their dedication, hard work, enthusiasm and open-mindedness. Good luck in your bands, and remember this is just the start. Let’s make Field Band Foundation’s 20th year the greatest one yet!



Written by/Pictures by: Emely Ruth Waet

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