Music Makes a Difference

Exchange between The Norwegian Band Federation (NMF) and Field Band Foundation (FBF) has been on-going for many years. The first project, Band Crossing Borders (BCB), was initiated in 1999, and the aim of the project was to introduce the South African perspective of using music in lifeskills and social development, and to help create awareness of North-South issues amongst band members and Norwegians in general. BCB closed in 2013 and the same year, “PULSE – Stronger together” was introduced with the main goal to increase and share practical knowledge about the correlation between music, health and social inclusion. Both these projects have received funding and PULSE is still receiving funding from Fredskorpset (FK-Norway).

From 2003 – 2016, Toneheim Folk High School in Norway has been a co-partner of these two projects, by hosting the BCB and PULSE participants from South Africa as students at the school. The folk high school movement has a tradition of lifelong learning, endorsing equality and democracy as core values, and the partnership between NMF and FBF was viewed as a practical manifestation of these important principles. From 2016, the South African PULSE participants were no longer placed at Toneheim, as the demands of the next phase of the project required that they would be situated in Oslo and Bergen at the NMF offices.


MMD participants Penny Mokgobu and Katlego Moholwane

The presence of the South Africans from FBF at Toneheim was positive in a lot of different ways. It helped with social and musical development, diversity and global citizenship, both for Norwegian students and the South Africans attending the programme. This is why Toneheim proposed a new partnership between themselves and FBF to continue this relationship. Toneheim has worked hard to collect funding for this, and has now become a reality. The project is called “Music Makes a Difference” (MMD). The first round of MMD will begin in August this year, and will last the whole school year. After the school year, the participants will come back to FBF and share the skills and knowledge they will obtain with their fellow tutors and members in the organisation.

The participants from FBF attending the programme this year are Katlego Moholwane and Penny Mokgobu. They will travel to Norway later this moth to attend Toneheim. A couple of weeks ago, Penny and Katlego attended a two-day workshop at the FBF head office as part of their preparations for the programme. Lisa and Hanna together with Education Team Leader Eva conducted one of the workshop days where they talked about Toneheim, Norwegian culture, expectations and more. They even learned some Norwegian phrases.

PULSE wishes Penny and Katlego good luck. Enjoy Toneheim and Norway!


Written by: Hanna Bakke Negård

Photos by: Eva Bortne and Hanna Bakke Negård

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SommerPULSE in Molde

This week, more than 50 kids attended SommerPULSE in Molde. SommerPULSE is a part of the concept “FeriePULSE” (VacationPULSE), where VinterPULSE is in the winter holiday and SommerPULSE is the summer holiday. You can read more about VinterPULSE 2018 here.

School holidays can be a challenging time for children and parents who for various reasons do not have the opportunity to go on holiday, they fall outside or are excluded from activities which might be too expensive. FeriePULSE, sponsored by Kavlifondet, is free of charge, and designed to give children something fun to do in their vacation. Through this project, the children are exposed to music from different cultures with the PULSE team from South Africa in charge of the whole workshop. FeriePULSE is a concept to provide opportunities and fun activities for all children regardless if they are playing in a school band or not. This is the second year SommerPULSE is conducted in Molde.

Written by: Hanna Bakke Negård

Pictures by: PULSE team Norway

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PULSE in Limpopo

Last week PULSE and Field Band Education (FBE) travelled to Limpopo for an Educational Band Visit. Lisa, Marie and Nomkhosi from Education conducted the band visit in Musina.

Hanna, Dineo (FBE) and Sindi who is one of the Peer Educators conducted an Educational Band Visit in Blouberg. In the previous and upcoming band visits the Peer Educators are getting more responsibility and they are becoming more independent. This is important because the goal of the Peer Educator programme is that the PULSE and FBE curriculum will be sustainable in the Field Band Foundation after the PULSE exchange programme is over. Read more about the Peer Educator Programme in an earlier blog post here.


Film by: Lisa Laila Gontarek

Written by: Hanna Bakke Negård

Pictures by: Hanna Bakke Negård

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Summer PULSE Preparations

We are getting very close to Summer PULSE project in Molde which is the last biggest Holidays program in Norway 2018, the project will starts on the 30th of July to 3rd of August 2018, the Pulse team has already started with final preparation and collecting material that will be used in summer PULSE. Summer PULSE it’s basically a holiday Program where our South PULSE participant conduct a workshop which last for the whole week in Norway, teaching children South African music, dance and other activities. This project is also giving the NMF peer educators an opportunity to practice their facilitation and teaching skills throughout the week. Copy of received_10160262118400724  

The PULSE team wants to give their special thanks to Thulani Maluleka for conducting a recruitment drive for Summer PULSE in Molde. As PULSE team we are really looking forward to make this project a home away from home. The numbers of applicants for this holiday project it has really improved from what pulse project use to have before, this is a good indication for the project in terms of measuring the impact Pulse is doing in Norway,The PULSE team says it feels like the day is taking forever to come because they feel more ready and equipped for Summer Pulse.pulse Written by: Chief Zwane

photos by: Dennis and Katja

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The Office

The PULSE team in South Africa attends and conducts different workshops and seminars throughout the year. The biggest project being Educational Band Visits together with Field Band Education (FBE).  Through the Educational Band Visits the aim is to visit all the field bands around South Africa and to upskill the staff about the correlation between music and health, disability awareness, lifeskills and different Education content (see previously blog post here). In between these different seminars, workshops and band visits, the PULSE team is based at Field Band Foundation’s head office in Rivonia.

This round of PULSE (PULSE5) is the first year that all the north participants are based in Johannesburg for the whole year and working at the head office. Previously there have been teams based in different regions in South Africa, such as Kimberley in Northern Cape and Parys in Free State. With this year’s decision of having everyone based near the head office, the combination of the PULSE participants working and travelling together can vary from time to time. For PULSE5, this model is working very well in terms of communication, efficiency and planning. A result of working closely with the different departments within Field Band Foundation’s head office, PULSE5 feels integrated in the work environment and the organisation as a whole.

Some of the office work PULSE conducts consist of planning upcoming Educational Band Visits and other events. In addition to this, PULSE has a list of other things on the work agenda, such as: conducting follow-up work with the bands after the Educational Band Visits and communicate with Project Officers, contribute in developing surveys which are widely used within the foundation, develop roll-out plans, curriculum and other documents such as reports after completed events. Monthly lifeskills and HIV/Aids activities conducted in all the field bands are monitored by PULSE. In addition to these things, they are continuously improving the PULSE material and documents, and are making sure that they are up to date on the scheduled outcomes within the project. Also, FBF is currently developing a music and health strategy where PULSE naturally plays a big role due to their focus area in general.


Counting and packing t-shirts for the celebration of Youth Day in the field bands

Written by Sofie Hjertvik and Hanna Bakke Negård

GIF by Lisa Laila Gontarek

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Building Resilience

”Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress – such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems or workplace and financial stressors. It means ’bouncing back’ from difficult experiences.” (As defined by American Psychological Association:

In short, resilience is about coping with the difficult sides of life and being able to “bounce back”.  With focus on strengthening your inner self, PULSE believes that doing a music activity or joining a music community such as Field Band Foundation can help building your resilience. You can feel mastering and support and regain your self-esteem by learning an instrument or dance and build new and positive relationships within a safe space. Read more about how the PULSE giraffe GIRA built her resilience when she joined the Field Band Foundation here.

1 June 2018, PULSE in South Africa attended a workshop on resilience with an external facilitator, Laverne Antrobus from the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, hosted by JPCCC – JHB Parent & Child Counselling Centre. The focus in this workshop was mainly on how to be aware of factors that are beneficial for your mental health or factors that will have a negative impact on people’s well-being. Individuals will be more able to endure and cope with unpredicted difficulties that occur if they are resilient.

Building resilience is important for everyone at all stages of life. Yet, children and young adults will be dependent on others to start the process towards a strong inner self. Being around supportive and loving adults is crucial for a child’s development. At the workshop, two sets of visual tools were handed out in work with children.


The “thinking brain” is when your brain is in the relaxed mode, where it usually is. When you experience something alarming, such as anxiety, fear or a risk-element, your brain jumps over to the “alarm brain”. Here, it will feel unsettled and in an alarm state. All people usually have their own steps on how to get back to the “thinking brain” (acceptance, calm down, deep breaths, etc.).


Helpful and damaging thoughts

The other example was on how to acknowledge sad emotions and how you can work on getting resilient by oscillating between confronting damaging thoughts and getting helped by focusing on helpful and positive thoughts. Meaning not to supress damaging thoughts, but to accept them, understand why they are there and find ways of moving over to helpful thoughts.

If one actively engages in this process of being aware, and start recognising the required and personal steps, one can strengthen the ability of being resilient. Using the visual tools, children can also learn how to cope and make what happens in the brain more comprehensible and visual. In work with children, it is all about facilitating the process and make them understand how to cope.

The workshop was really inspiring for the PULSE team. It provided the team with additional, important knowledge to add to the focus of building resilience through music participation. Building resilience is a personal journey, but music and dance can improve the progress and supportive adults can facilitate the whole process.


Written by: Sofie Hjertvik

Photos by Sofie Hjertvik and Hanna Bakke Negård

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Music Collection Project

The PULSE team in Norway is working on a pilot project together with the Norwegian Band Federation (NMF) called the NMF Inclusion Project. This project consists of collecting different old childhood or lullaby music from many different languages and cultures that can be found around Norway. The project is currently running in Oslo and Bergen, and the work consists of traveling around to different places taking recordings of songs from children and parents.


The Leader of the project, Ketil Vestrum Einarsen was really impressed by the collaborative work of collecting the music that PULSE and the have done in the two cities. The team has collected a few songs from different school bands, Korps Klubb and schools. Using different kinds of activities and songs such as Thula Throlmor has really opened up many doors in regards to getting songs from the children. The song Thula Throlmor is basically two lullabies, one from South Africa in the South African language Zulu, and one from Norway in Norwegian combined together as one arrangement by Odd-Erik Nordberg.


The aim of this project is to improve the inclusion in the Norwegian banding activity and give everyone the sense of belonging and mastering. PULSE hopes that bringing this kind of opportunity to the banding activity will make everyone see it as a safe place to send their children regardless of language or culture. Both PULSE, Team Bergen and Team Oslo are very passionate and happy about this project.


Written by: Chief Zwane

Pictures by: PULSE team

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