SIIIIIILENT NIIIIGHT! HOOOOOOOLY NIIIIIGHT !! :The Christmas Carols are Chiming in Alex today.
By joining on mellophone I hope to get a first-hand experience of how it is to be a mellophone-player in the alex fieldband before Christmas. The first thing I realize is that a Silent Night in Alex is slightly different from a Silent Night in Norway; it seems to be not that silent. I am literally blowing my lungs of to keep up with the rest of the group, the enthusiasm is undeniable: CHRISTMAS IS HERE! (It is, after all, November).
We continue with the next song: “Hark now, hear the angels sing”. I get over the initial phase of culture shock quickly and adapt to the new and exciting approach to Christmas Carols; this is great,; HARK NOW HEAR THE ANGELS SING, A NEW KINGS BORN TODAAAAAAAAAY. I get carried away and one of the members start hushing at me, trying to make me play softer: “Dhlala Phansi,, Dhala Phansi! ”
The conductor asks mellophones to go rehears their part somewhere else; apparently we need an extra group-session; “And mellophones, please keep it down!“
One of the most experienced mellophone players takes the lead of our group rehearsal. We are two new members today, so he is up for a challenge. He first plays a section of the song and makes us repeat it. When everyone seems to get it, he continues, step by step, always making sure everyone knows witch notes to play. When we forget our parts he laughs at us, but in a good way, causing the whole group to laugh at our mistakes. In this way it does not feel scary to miss a note, and it really helps me and the other new member feel relaxed and included in the mellophone group. What an amazing group leader!
These experiences made me think of two important jobs the Field Band does for the members’ health and well-being:
1. Developing good leaders.
2. Creating a place of belonging for the members.
Working with leadership skills is vital during the rehearsal, as responsibility is delegated to different members of every group. Further the Teachers in Training program focuses on teaching specifically engaged and talented members to become teachers and leaders. These skills can benefit the members also outside a Field Band Context through contributing to create future leaders and empower the members in their everyday life. Through being able to teach their skills away to other members, self-esteem, a greater feeling of achievement, self-value and meaningfulness will have the potential to grow in the members. It’s about seeing their own potential but also about learning to cooperate with and help other members.
The other area that struck me as important is the feeling of belonging they might get in the field band. After only participating in this one rehearsal I already feel like I am part of a group. I have made 6 new mellophone friends that I look forward to play with and meet again. This social experience of working together as a team or group seems to be vital for the joy and motivation of the members. Hence the field band can provide the members with a social network, a common group identity and a place of belonging. Through this big family of friends and tutors the members can also get the emotional support and care that they might be lacking at home.
Besides witnessing young and inspiring leaders and getting new mellophone friends, this Christmas Carol Practice has also affected my physical health; it expanded my lung capacity and damaged my hearing capacity!
Have a Silent Night ; the Alex Way !
Written by Lisa Katrine Svendsen