The Peer Educators Takes Charge

Last week, PULSE and Field Band Education (FBE) hosted the final training intervention of the Peer Educator Pilot Programme. Since January 2017 we have met regularly to upskill and train the Peer Educators (P.E) in PULSE and Education strategies. The list of topics covered and work done is extensive, and includes topics such as Disability Awareness and Inclusive Teaching, Gira – A Story of Resilience and Music and Health. In addition to this we have provided tools for e.g. study techniques, critical thinking, teamwork and planning and evaluation. After co-facilitating and participating in National Workshops, Educational Band Visits and Peer Educator Training Sessions, we have come to a point where it is time for the Peer Educators to really get to show and test all they have learned. Therefore, we conducted our P.E training session a little bit differently this time around.

The Peer Educators were given the task of planning and conducting a full day workshop in Witbank. They were asked to plan for sessions running from 08:30 to 16:00, and that the time will have to be allocated between Conducting, Practical Music Theory and Disability Awareness and Inclusive Teaching. They were also given goals they were to reach during the day. The goals for the PULSE topics included points such as:

“The participants should be enabled to include members living with disabilities through:

  • Understanding barriers that people living with disabilities might meet.
  • Understanding how attitudes and language can help inclusion, or hinder it.”

It was then up to the Peer Educators to choose appropriate content and method to reach these goals. The task required the P.Es to work closely and efficiently as a team, allocate responsibility and help each other prepare and get ready for the workshop. This model not only tells us how much they have learned so far in the programme, but it also shows the P.Es themselves how much they have become capable of doing, and leads to a sense of mastering and motivation. The Witbank workshop showed us a confident and highly skilled team able to independently plan and conduct a full workshop on PULSE and Field Band Education topics. The Peer Educator Pilot Programme will now be moving into its final stage. In the next few months, the Peer Educators will be working on their own on revising all content and writing a final written assignment. In November, they will be taking their final exams and present all they have learned to a panel consisting of external and internal examiners. We see that there are still big tasks ahead, but in these last few days the P.Es have shown that they are ready for this challenge. As this round of the PULSE programme is coming to an end, we in PULSE 4 would like to wish the Peer Educators good luck in their work, and say thank you for the time we have spent together. You have continually impressed us with your commitment, dedication and will to grow and learn. Thank you for all the hard work you have put into this programme – it has been a pleasure working with you.

 

Written by: Emely Ruth Waet

Pictures by: Ine Nord and Jack Mmetseng

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Molde SummerPULSE 2017

Norges Musikkorps Forbund(NMF), FK Norway (FK), Kavlifondet, Norge musikkråd together with PULSE has again held a exciting, successful music and health SummePULSE seminar first ever in Molde from the 14th to 18th of August 2017.

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There has been VinterPULSE that started in Oslo 2015 with only 25 members participating from various different schools and bands around the city. In the year 2017 Bergen also had the seminar for the first time with lot of positive outcomes.

Molde had its very first time SummerPULSE project this year, the target group for participants was an involvement of band members and children who are not involved in banding activity. 35 members were introduced on the activity library from the first day. PULSE always introduces games and team building activities on the first day reason being, because we believe it warms up the conversations amongst the participants, brings out the positive learning environment in sessions, brings back the focus and it ensures that participants enjoy. PULSE had different activities scheduled for a daily programme.

When participants don’t know each other activities like ice breakers helps them to relax and be able to introduce their self to each other. therefore PULSE team started with an activity Meet and Greet this game is were the participants go around and meet different members and introduce theirselves, the food they like, instrument they play and where they from.

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Molde SummerPULSE had members from the age group of 5-14 years. This time there was singing, playing of instrument, PBuzz and a lot of energetic energisers.

The first song that was introduced on the first day was Ubuhle Bendoda which is a South African song taken from the Field Band Foundation (FBF) the song consist of;

•Playing while dancing which is a typical Field Band Foundation (FBF) style.

•Drum break.

•Every musician dance for a drum break.

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It took the whole day for PULSE to teach and implement the song with lot of challenges from percussion/drums.

•Playing of instrument for the first time

The challenge was for percussion/drums most of the participants have never been introduced into banding activity or play any instrument before as it was their first time playing drums.

•Language Barriers

The language was very hard for them since there were very young and Thulani Dupa tried to speak Norwegian but mostly English which became more difficult for them to understand since there were at the age of 5-11 years.

•Watching the conduct

For them it was difficult to play and watch a conduct at the same time. Most of the time they will focus on playing rather than watching a conduct. It was difficult for them because they are not used to a banding set up, paying attention and focusing only on one thing for more than 30 minutes.

•Use of sticks

It was difficult for them to handle sticks properly as it was their first day which took time for them to even play the drums. One of the PULSE goal is to attract members coming from different backgrounds to introduce them into banding activity and share a practical knowledge about how music can be used as a tool for health promotion and social inclusion in various societies. That is why even if we face many challenges from our different sections we always make the participants feel comfortable in our session by motivating them, guide them, create a positive space by using ice breakers or games when we see their are losing focus.

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It was time also to introduce new exciting songs which were;

•Ziyawa.

•I like it I like it.

•P-buzz playing Stamp and Spania.

•Singing group which was led by Odd Erick

The songs went very well in different sections with lot of improvement more especially from percussion where we saw members started to listen. The PULSE team and peer-educators came up with strategies to assist Thulani Dupa on percussion by;

• Having more people from PULSE and peer-educators to help Thulani Dupa on teaching and keep the members together.

•Assisting in teaching new members how to hold sticks.

•Odd Erick helped Thulani Dupa in terms of translating to the members.

P-buzz was introduced also to members who have never been into banding activity, which was led by Odd Erick and Thulani Maluleka. It took them 2 days to finally come up with energetic songs called Stamp and Spania. The audience fell in love with the songs and the member’s response was, they really had fun playing p-buzz even though it was their first time.

This time Praktikans/Peer-educators were Mathea Eiken Faksen (Euphonuim), Erlend Lindvåg Solemdal (Trombone) and Kristine Davik( Euphonium). They played a very important role in assisting PULSE team by translating, assisting in sectionals, taking care of the participants in the breaks by looking after them, doing warm up for musicians and serving food for different meals.

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The PULSE teaching material contains content on inclusive and making participants feel safe in their learning environment, mastering something new, building self confident or belief, finding positive meaning in life also improve socially finding new friends.

The whole team prepared for a concert that took place last Friday 18th of August 2017. The feeling was overwhelming and joyful to see smiles and looking forward to showcase what they have done to their parents. After a very fun week full of happiness and challenges but at the end it was worth it. The members worked hard in learning the music, dance, singing. Mostly for the members who were exposed to banding activity for the first time. We saw a lot of changes coming from the participants through out the seminar one of the things were highlighted was a:

*Sense of  belonging.

*Safe learning environment.

*Learning a new skill and mastering it.

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This seminar has been an interesting experience and a learning curve for both facilitators and participants and everyone who was involved in the success of this project.Our experience made a huge impact into the success of SummerPULSE project and it was PULSE last big project for the year 2017.We will also to thank people who also played a major role in organizing and leading the project it was not easy but worth it:

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Silvelin Havnevik (NMF) Elin Kathrine Simensen Ingunn Hagen  Ragnhild S. Nordberg (former BCB participant) Thulani Maluleka (former PULSE participants) Xoliswa Roaldsoy Praktikant/Peer Educators

Written by: Sihle Mabena and Sizwe Nkosi.

Pictures: SummerPULSE staff.

 

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PULSE teaching methods: Read the colour

At the National Workshop in July, PULSE had a full day to facilitate sessions on Disability Awareness and Inclusive Teaching, as well as music and health, to the Project Officers (PO), Social Officers (SO), Band Coordinators (BC) and some tutors.

At the very last session of the workshop, all who attended were given tasks to start implementing some of the knowledge they have learned for their members. The way they were to do this was by facilitating various activities from the PULSE guides.

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In addition to facilitating cases with social inclusion as the topic, they were to facilitate activities where the goal is that the members will get an understanding of how it might feel living with a disability like dyslexia.

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The activity “Read the colour”

After facilitating this activity, PULSE have gotten back many reports from the bands. We can read from these that many members are starting to have a better understanding that each persons brain work differently. Some are even able to start relating this to different types of learners! By facilitating activities like  “Read the colour”, the members get to learn more about topics like disability awareness through fun games and competitions.

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Members doing the activity “Read the colour”

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Teaching Skills in an Inclusive Band

In addition to National Workshops, Educational Band Visits and Peer Educator Training, PULSE has an extra focus on a couple of regions. We have one team running tutor sessions in Northern Cape, and we have one team serving the Free State bands. Tutor sessions are basically training that happens more frequently, for a shorter duration of time, and for only one tutor team. When we do this, we travel out into the regions and do a half-day training intervention with one band. The advantage of this model is that we are able to give more frequent training to specific teams and regions. Also, the smaller groups give more room for everyone to participate and engage, and we get a chance to address specific challenges the different bands are facing in their everyday activities. This way we can put even more emphasis on implementing PULSE strategies into the bands and into the tutors teaching.

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The tutor teams of Parys, Viljoenskroon and Kroonstad, Free State.

All bands in Field Band Foundation (FBF) are inclusive, meaning that they welcome all members regardless of race, culture, gender, religion or disabilities. However, the bands of Free State have an extra focus on inclusion of children and youths living with disabilities. According to Statistics South Africa, Free State is the region of South Africa with the highest rate of people living with disabilities (http://www.statssa.gov.za/?p=3180). The special focus on inclusion in this region by Field Band Foundation is therefore based on the specific needs of Free State, and the natural topic to choose when we do tutor sessions in this area is of course Disability Awareness and Inclusive Teaching.

When we normally provide training in this topic we give a more generalised overview of the subject, but in these sessions, we encourage the tutors to take the knowledge we provide and apply it to real life experiences in their bands. This way the material will be even more relevant to the tutors, and they will get to practice how they can apply the knowledge we teach into actual situations they are facing in their work.

The PULSE teaching material contains content on inclusive teaching skills. Of course, we need to be accommodating and strive for accessibility when it comes to physical disabilities, but teaching members with e.g. intellectual disabilities might give you a different set of challenges. Some disabilities are not visible, and we might not know what type of disability a member is living with. However, we do not need to know a diagnosis to pick up on some traits that people living with intellectual disabilities might have, and we do not need to know a diagnosis to respond to these challenges and do the best we can to accommodate people living with them.

 

Some challenges you might find in your band are attention and memory problems. To accommodate for this, we make sure to mention things like the importance of a stable learning environment and how we can communicate with our members in a clear and efficient way. We talk about the importance of using repetition when we teach and how we can work on keeping our patience in a learning situation. We also emphasize the value in using practical examples and demonstrating your teaching, and not only using words and telling members what you want them to do. Generally, we encourage an approach to teaching that lets you identify the individual strengths and challenges in every member, and to use your knowledge, skills and creativity to find a way of teaching that fits your members way of learning. The challenges you might face in your teaching will be varied, but so are the solutions as long as you remember that everyone can learn, grow and contribute to the band.

 

Written by/Pictures by: Emely Ruth Waet

 

 

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Resilience

PULSE often talks about the concept of ”resilience”. In the Gira guide, resilience is defined as the ability to recover from setbacks and difficult experiences and relates to a quality in Gira that is strengthened after she joins the field band.

For Gira the presence of a safe space builds resilience. The field band is where she meets caring adults and friendly children and experiences what it is like to master something through playing music together with others. This helps strengthen her self-esteem and gives her a support system. In short, Gira gains a positive force in her life that makes the hardships easier to handle.

In the Gira package, PULSE defines six factors that helps Gira deal with her challenges in a healthy way:

  • Seeking help and support: The field band, through a social officer, is offering home visits to members. This means that if a field band member is experiencing problems at home they have someone in their life whom they can ask for help.
  • Feeling in control: Gira gets to choose which instrument she wants to play when joining the band. She also decides for herself that she wants to join, and subsequently if she wants to attend practise. This gives Gira a choice, and responding to that choice tells her that she is in control of her own life.
  • Finding things that makes her happy and relaxed: being able to keep a positive outlook and not becoming overwhelmed by a difficult situation is important. Gira finds something she enjoys doing in the activity of music and dance. This gives her joy and takes her mind off her problems for a while.
  • Close and trustworthy people around her: the tutors, PO’s and other band staff has a very important position in the field band as role models. Through being friendly, stable and supportive adults, they give members someone to look up to, and someone to rely on.
  • Mastering something new: aquiring and mastering a new skill strengthens self-esteem.
  • Finding positive meaning in her life: where Gira can rely on the adults in the field band to be there for her, the field band is also counting on Gira. She has her own tasks in the band and her contribution is important for the overall picture. This provides Gira with a place to be, and a sense that she matters.

 

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Every person has some degree of resilience and some ability to overcome hardships. A safe and supportive environment that encourages a positive outlook on life can contribute towards greater resilience.

Many members of the field band has a story like Giras, where various problems they have at home or in life becomes easier to handle through a positive force. And it is noticed in the community too: a principal we recently spoke with at one of the schools where a field band operates says he always encourages his students to join the field band because he has seen that the pass rate on exams has gone up for the students who are also field band members.

For many, resilience built through contact with positive and supportive surroundings is the difference between being overcome by difficult circumstances, and excelling despite of it.

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Written by / photos by Ine Nord

 

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PULSE in NMF Sommerkurs 2017

It is our experience that good teamwork is a crucial part of working well together to achieve specific goals as colleagues.

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Summer course 2017

This summer the PULSE team were challenged by NMF to develop a summer campaign to be offered to their summer courses all around the country. The brief given was that everybody should meet and have fun in a musical activity that was new to them. It should also be challenging to all age groups.

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Pulse Two Round One

Having to work together as participants in this exchange program for over nine months, we have developed an understanding of knowing our strengths and weakness as individuals within the team. This understanding has led us to temporarily create new teams for the summer; Sihle Mabena and Thulani Dupa has swapped their places. Sihle joined Masibulele Langa in Bergen while Thulani joined Sizwe Nkosi in Oslo. Both new teams are currently visiting different regions facilitating a two hours workshop in these summer course.

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Dance drum solo

The summer course is a platform where children, youngsters and grown-ups that play in different bands on their daily life, get a chance to sign up for a one-week music course during their summer holidays. They sign up to these courses to have fun with other band members and they get a chance meet up with and receive training from great musicians who facilitate the course and ensuring that kids leave the course with great musical development.

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Mix brass ensemble

Summer course is a great way to keep young musicians motivated for playing in the band. They get opportunity to make new friends and get to learn about other bands culture. These summer courses give individual members a chance to grow and develop on their instruments, as they are involved in various music activities during the courses, activities such sectionals rehearsals, mini ensemble where they learn to improvise and big band session.

The summer courses are categorised in different colours; these colours are representing age groups, which members can sign up for. Green courses are normally for the youngest musicians who have maybe been playing for at least year or two. Yellow, red, blue and black follows after green course. After you have been part of the black course, you can go to instructor’s course and when you are, a grown up you can attend the grey course. In addition to this, there are also drill courses specially designed for the dancers.

The team designed a two-hour program, which are split into three sessions being gumboots, singing ziyawa and drum break with dancing. In between the sessions, we do energizers especially when we see the participants are starting to lose focus and tiredness kicks in, this helps to regain the energy and positive attitude to the group. Spreading activity library tools developed for FBF to NMF regions is one of our aims.

PULSE team has already been visiting a couple of these courses and before the schools starts again we will have visited courses on all levels throughout the country. Pulse involvement in these courses is to create the idea of togetherness and create a positive atmosphere of learning while having fun. This is to promote sense of belonging, well-being and sense of mastery to members. So far we have received positive feedback from the courses we have already attended to and this has been a great initiative to be involved in as PULSE

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Written By: Thulani Dupa, Sizwe Nkosi, Masibulele Langa and Sihle Mabena

Photos by: NMF archive and FBF archive

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Attending Another National Workshop!

One of the most memorable experiences the PULSE team in South Africa has had so far was the National Tutors Workshop in February , and we are happy to yet again attend a national workshop. This time the Project Officers (PO), Social Officers (SO) and Band Coordinators (BC) are gathered for training and up-skilling in everything from monitoring & evaluation and concert production to life skills and practical music theory, and much more. PULSE had a full day to facilitate sessions on Disability Awareness and Inclusive Teaching, as well as music and health. At the Educational Band Visits, we usually facilitate for tutor teams, but this workshop gave us the opportunity to offer training to band management. By providing upskilling to the leaders of the field bands across South Africa we ensure that the work done by the tutor teams in terms of inclusion of members living with disabilities is thoroughly supported, and that all band staff has a joint focus on these themes.

We started off the day with a session on music and health to remind everyone about the foundation of what PULSE bases its work on. In the beginning of the music and health session we asked what words the participants would use to describe music and dance. While a lot of the words revolved around the sound and movement itself, e.g. rhythm, exercise, dynamics, scales, we also see that many of the words used refer to something else. Words like joy, happiness, friendship and expression usually comes up during this exercise, and shows how closely music and dance is linked to health promotion in a holistic perspective. The band staff were reminded that there is a lot of potential for experiencing emotional and social wellbeing in a field band, and that they are in a unique position to contribute positively to their members lives.

The music and health topic ties in with the Disability Awareness and Inclusive Teaching session and our first theme of the day, which was barriers. Barriers are obstacles you might come across in your life. We all face obstacles, but if you are living with a disability you might come across barriers more often, and they might have greater effect and make life more difficult than it has to be. One of the biggest challenges of having a disability is not only the impairment you are living with but the participation restriction you experience because of barriers of accessibility. These barriers might be physical, e.g. lack of wheelchair ramps, but the term also involves non-physical obstacles such as attitudes. Our sessions are focused on the importance of not making assumptions of what a member living with a disability can or cannot do, and to make decisions on behalf of others based on these assumptions. It is essential for the field band members sense of mastering and self-esteem that they are challenged and get a chance to grow and improve. Also it is crucial that they are given as close to the same band experience as everyone else, as this will increase the feeling of inclusion and unity with the band. Our overall goal of the session is to make the staff not to focus on the disabilities and limitations, but to see the person first and to rather identify strengths and capabilities. A more inclusive environment starts with you.

Later in the day we looked at inclusive teaching skills. Here we introduce skills and tips and tricks for inclusive teaching, but our focus remains on having an open and creative approach to teaching. This mindset will help you look for solutions to accommodate all kinds of members, and to create an environment where everyone has a chance to learn and grow.

 

“It is not the disability, nor the wheelchair, that disables a person, but it is the stairs leading to a building”

(Integrated National Disability Framework).

 

Written by: Emely Ruth Waet

Pictures by: Sello Ramosepele and Emely Ruth Waet

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