This has indeed been a very interesting week for the 5 of us here in Oslo. While all the students at Toneheim were on holidays, the 5 of us were touring the most of Oslo doing what we love doing…teaching music the South African way and having small concerts. It was not difficult finding our ways around the city to and from the seminar/rehearsal venue at all because we had a little help from our friend Hanne Cecilie and also everything here in Norway has been made very easy by the internet. All you have to do is to “download the right Application on your mobile”…they say.
We started the work period by having a meeting and dining with Ellen Neverdal at her home and I must say the food was delicious.
On Monday and Tuesday we went to the Norwegian Academy of Music, in Oslo. There we met
wonderful students currently studying their bachelor degree in Music and Health and master degree in Music Therapy. It was awesome for us being there talking about how it was growing up in South Africa, what the challenges were there before and how it is now. We also spoke about what the Field Band Foundation is and the impact it has on the Youth of South Africa. Then we shared why we are here in Norway, what Pulse is and our experience here in Norge working in the Pulse program. After our time at NMH the students were very excited about what we were talking about. We had concerts where they performed for us, then we performed for them and afterwards taught them one or two South African songs with sizzling dance moves as well. Most of the students were singers, so they had to sing…but in Zulu! J
From teaching the significance of music and dance in Field BandFoundation to 24-30year olds we moved on to sharing our music with 6-9year olds. We visited Aurskog skolekorps, Linderud skolekorps, Lakkegata skole korps and Grunerløkka skolekorps. All these bands are situated in schools where the pupils have various cultural backgrounds. Now it is always so fascinating to work with these young ones.
The youngest member we had was 6 years old playing the Flute and she played so well. She kept saying her name the right way, because I kept on pronouncing it wrong. Norwegian names are kind of difficult for us to pronounce, not to mention remembering them, just as some South African names may be hard for the Norwegians. Many of the little ones in Linderud and Lakkegata were not that fluent in English. That meant that I had to go all out with the little Norwegian that I knew when I would present the 5 of us, explain why we were there and the songs that we were playing and teaching.
I struggled a bit when I asked the Trombones at Lakkegata skole to play me a “Bb-major” (1st position) and they then played me a “D-major” (7th position).I had to play the note over and over again, until one girl said to me; det er B, ikke “B-flat”, (meaning that is a B and not a B-flat) and then came Eb…she said to me, det er “Ess” ikke E-flat. So I told myself that I will never forget those two notes as long as I am in Norway. There was one small boy who was really tired from all dancing while playing, so 30minutes before we ended, while Thulani stopped the band after the song, this little one shouted “Takk for idag” (Thank you for the day) which is a way of saying that the rehearsal is over and everyone can leave. The 5 of us could not help, but to laugh, because that is exactly how we felt when we started here in Norway without understanding the language, that sentence was the very first and very important sentence that we quickly remembered and never forgot it up unto today.
Two of the little ones while we had a small break in between the rehearsal decided to use their rehearsal time to work on their dancing, and I must say they were truly amazing at dancing. Amazing how music can unite people. We spent the entire week teaching social inclusion and health promotion through the activity of music and we have really focused on the social inclusion in all the bands/schools we visited.
We closed the week by performing at Orkis Røde kors in Oslo where we had those guys on their feet actually dancing. After a succesful week we celebrated with BBQ Ribs at FRIDAYS Restaurant. What a way to end the week, it almost felt like home for us.
Written by Bruce Veldman