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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PULSE teaching methods: Cases

When PULSE is out facilitating for tutor teams across South Africa, one of our focus areas is to facilitate for reflection. We work together with the tutor team, using their expert knowledge about the field band and their members to come up with solutions that work in each individual situation.

One of the tools we often use to facilitate for reflection is activities calles Cases.

The team is given a scenario that can arise in a field band, and are then asked to act it out, each one taking roles such as tutors, members, social officers, etc.. In each scenario, a conflict, problem or something to be improved is present. Some of the cases can also be taken to the members, having the whole band work together towards being more inclusive and considerate.

After acting out the situation, the PULSE facilitator leads a discussion, asking follow-up questions and examining what exactly is going on in the scenario. The tutor team is then asked to reflect on what could be done differently to solve or improve the situation.

Here’s an example of a case as presented in the PULSE guides, and suggested follow-up questions:

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There are many benefits from using this way to work:

The tutor team gets to involve themselves in the situation through roleplay, and often can see the situation from other angles than they usually do (e.g. through playing the role of a member).

The tutors know their own band and band members best. PULSE is only initiating the discussion and putting light on possible problematic scenarios. Having the tutors reflect on how to solve challenges in their bands brings up a lot of thoughts and creativity, and ensures that the solutions being decided on will actually work in each specific band. Implementing this way of forward thinking, not only of immediate issues within the band, but also of what could become or create issues along the line prepares the tutor team for facing challenges head on and provides tools to do so.

A lot of the material we facilitate is theory. This is necessary and useful as well, but getting up from the chairs to move around and do some role-playing every once in a while brings the material to life in another way than even the most engaging facilitator, and contributes to the material feeling relevant and fresh for the participants.

We know that expressing yourself creatively through music and art can be an important booster for holistic health. As such, being able to work creatively with theory material could help increase positive feelings such as self-esteem and mastering.

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Written by Ine Nord / PULSE

 

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Strengthening cultural awareness

Recently the whole PULSE-team were fortunate enough to travel to Hamar to participate in a festival called “Stoppested Verden”. Being invited to Hamar meant more than anything to PULSE-team as we got the opportunity to represent our country in this festival. Being part of this exciting event gave the PULSE-team a platform to share the experience of one of the South African traditions being gumboots dance. Gumboots dance was created by African mine workers who relocated to South Africa. Gumboots dance was used as a  form of expressing their emotions, feelings and gratitude as most were forced to work under harsh conditions and also separated from their families and also were not allowed to speak while working. It has also been said that the gumboot dance was used as a form of communication in order to energize and uplift the workers. The dance is very rhythmical, using different beats and clapping techniques. It works well in smaller ensembles as well as in larger groups.

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The festival is located in a park belonging to the Norwegian Railway Museum and an antique train transports the children and their families into a world filled with activities, professional artists and a variety of cultural expressions! One of the organizers explained that through inviting the local citizens to Stoppested Verden they seek to surprise, motivate and trigger an interest for and understanding of the values within the worlds’ many diverse cultures that are represented in Norway today. Concerts, workshops, activities, performances and exhibitions are the tools they use to create awareness and spread knowledge and understanding of the multicultural diversity we are all a part of.

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Norwegian Railway Museum

By meeting people from all corners of the world sharing our lives at the same time, uplifted  the good human spirit feeling. These kind of festivals additionally prepares one and edifies about what we cerebrate or optically discern in other countries. Reality is that we are living in a society that is constantly changing. People are constantly on the move; either it is within the borders of their countries, across neighbouring borders or like us; to a different continent. Migration and emigration in smaller or larger scales for all sorts of reasons has always happened. Question is whether this is strengthening or weakening our respective cultures.

Our experience from Stoppested Verden has made us realize that meeting new cultural expressions makes us more aware of our own. Looking at the other artist’s we spoke to about the similarities and the differences of our culture and traditions created a strong feeling of together. We also found ourselves performing with other artists and together we made something that reflected and showcased all the involved cultures. Never did we feel like we lost our South African expression or identity.

Written by: Thulani Dupa and Masibulele Langa

Photos by: Sihle Mabena & Stoppested Verden archive

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Change Agent Action Plan

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If you follow our blog regularly, you might have read our previous post about Educational Band Visits.

An Educational Band Visit is where PULSE and Field Band Education travel to various bands out in the regions offering training and up-skilling in various topics such as conducting, teaching skills, practical music theory and disability awareness.

To ensure the sustainability and longevity of the PULSE project, it is crucial that the knowledge shared with the tutors during the Educational Band Visit is also implemented in the rehearsals with the members. PULSE is always striving for the benefits of the up-skilling to reach member level, and is therefor consistently focusing on closing the gap between the field band tutors having the knowledge and implementing the knowledge. The field band tutors are already doing a great job as role models promoting a positive change in their communities and in their bands, and to support them in taking this to the next level PULSE has introduced the “Change Agent Action Plan”.

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The Change Agent Action Plan is exactly what it sounds like – an action plan that the tutors make as a team on how they are going to implement the new knowledge that they have gained during the Educational Band Visit. During every PULSE session, we write down some key points from the session on a flip chart paper, which we later hang up on the wall. By the end of day three we have a wall full of information from the sessions; explanation of different types of disabilities, how to better accommodate members living with a disability, tips for inclusive teaching and improved communication, strategies for inclusion and the list goes on. We then use all this information on the wall as a resource for the tutor teams, where they each have to pick one thing they think is especially important to implement, and discuss this with the rest of the team. Each team then agrees on what topics they want to focus on going back to the band, which improvements they will make and commit to this plan by signing it and hanging it up in the Field Band Truck or somewhere else visible in the rehearsal space. The plan needs to be realistic and specific since they are reporting back to PULSE the four following weeks on how they are doing on their implementation.

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As the Educational Band Visits continue, PULSE looks forward to hearing more about how all the different Change Agent Action Plans are being rolled out!

Written by Solvor Vermeer, pictures by Emely Ruth Waet.

 

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Implementation of PULSE strategies and teaching material.

During the National Tutor Workshop in February, all tutors that attended were tasked with taking the story of Gira and other music and health related activities back to their bands. In the following weeks, the tutors representing most of the various field bands would make sure that what they have learned would benefit their members as well.

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Members doing an activity to raise learn about how powerful body language can be, and how people can show emotions differently.

The Gira material developed by PULSE relates to the core values mastery, belonging and resilience. It aims to provide band staff with competence and activities in regards to providing a safe and supportive field band environment where members can experience mastery and belonging, and through that increased self-esteem and resilience.

We have received written reports from almost all the bands and as such they are documented to be able to implement PULSE strategies and teaching material in their local band without PULSE participants present after the national tutor workshop.

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Tutors telling the story of Gira to their members through role playing.

Unfortunately, a few bands have not been able to implement the material due to either being closed, or the tutors that was in that band at the time of the workshop have been relocated to another band shortly after the workshop.

Changes and relocation of staff and the occasional closing of a band is a challenge we are well aware of, so we are also continuously working on implementing the PULSE material in as many bands possible through educational band visits, e-learning sessions and through other PULSE initiatives.

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Implementation of PULSE strategies and teaching material.

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PULSE Celebrates Norwegian Constitutional Day

On the streets of Norway playing South African music on Norwegian Constitutional Day the 17 May.

May 17, is a Constitution of Norway that was signed at Eidsvoll in the year 1814. The constitution declared Norway to be an independent kingdom in attempt to avoid, being ceded to Sweden after Denmark-Norway devastating in the Napoleonic war.LWPV7625

In celebration of the Independence Day, in Oslo city children and adults from all parts of the city and schools were gather to parade pass the Royal Palace, where the Royal family exchange waves and greeting.WKKG9556[1]Sihle Mabena led Furusetskolenes Musikkorps with the help of Thulani Maluleka and Sizwe Nkosi led Bjørndalskolenes Musikkorps. The two bands are part of the PULSE music and health programme, they both took part on the constitutional day with a unique vibrant music from South Africa. IMG_2720[1]The song that is mostly liked by Skolekorps in Norway is one of the Field band foundation traditional songs called Amavolovolo, and some of the songs that were also played on that day are:

·         Stamp

·         Ubuhle bendoda

·         Makarita

·         Ziyawa

Most of the members from Furusetskolenes and Bjørndalskolenes Musikkorps was their first time playing in the Constitutional Day. The smile on their faces and the energy they gave was overwhelming. As PULSE our goal is to focus on how to promote holistic well-being and improve the quality of life within the community we work in, by including members from marginalized groups into banding activities.

Parents were also included on the parade, which boost more confident in the members; it was indeed a day to remember that was full of laughter, dancing and singing.IMG_2710[1]

Not only the Furusetskolenes and Bjørndalskolenes musikkorps implemented Field band style but also Lørenskog Musikkorps which is led by Ante Skaug former Bands Crossing Boarders (BCB) participant and facilitator at Field Band Academy (FBA).

Norwegian bands have the similar marching style as the military. Ante incorporated some of the Field band marching style in his band, one thing that stood out from Bjørndalskolenes, Furusetskolenes Musikkorps and Lørenskog Musikkorps is, playing without using any music sheet, the way its normally done in FBF.PULSE team interviewed one of our members on how he felt about being part of the Constitutional Day playing South African music, his response was:

“I was very nervous and happy to be part of this amazing day, but once I had the first note of lower brass playing Ziyawa the feeling of being afraid fade away. I found myself dancing and singing, it’s a feeling I will never ever forget I was smiling and felt a sense of belonging” -Member

Children had a special role in the celebrations. The biggest part of the event was dedicated to them. The children’s parades had marching, waving homemade Norwegian flags and carrying school banners and playing Music,  and Music is one of  Norwegian culture.IMG_2656[1]IMG_2653[1]

 

Written by: Sizwe Nkosi and Sihle Mabena

Pictures by: Sihle Mabena/Web

 

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