To work in Norwegians bands for the first time has been a great experience and it takes us out of our comfort zone.This is because of the language, the cultural differences and the need to do detailed planning and demonstrate movement. Back in South Africa we don’t teach musicians rhythms, as it comes natural, but rather we choreograph if the music needs a special choreography. After this we concentrate on things like pitch, dynamics and playing the right note. In Norwegian bands they often know how to play the right notes, so here we need to concentrate on the movements and rhythms of the music and make it come alive.
This can be caused by the fact that in South Africa we play music by ear and in Norway they read music on a sheet. So while we are taken out of our comfort zone, we are taking Norwegian bands out of their comfort zone as well, by taking away the chairs and sheet music, and teaching them to play by ear. This also helps the element of movement in the music and helps create visual presentation.
Communication during these sessions can be a struggle, especially since we are teaching in Primary schools and they are used to being taught in Norwegian and we teach in English. But because we work very close to community members and always have a band leader or representative present in our sessions, it helps to get the message across. These sessions are also used as our practical grounds to learn a new language; Norsk!.
It has been one and a half month working with the Norwegian bands and every rehearsal is exciting and unique with all the smiles we see from the children when they see us. We have been welcomed with warm hands by both the band children and the management and this ignites inspiration to our planning for every rehearsal.
We teach these children inclusiveness and a state of mental well-being through music and dance. We represent different cultural groups as we all come from different provinces and speak different languages. We come from a country where we have eleven different languages, therefore it is easy for us to bring these children with different dialects together. We just share our stories and experiences of how we live back home.
The children are mentally and emotionally healthy and we see this through the activities we do with them as they enjoy our sessions. Coming from a socially inclusive background we are slowly introducing a sense of inclusiveness and the following statement gives a short summary of how we do this;
We did a short story about potjie Kos (a traditional meal famous amongst Afrikaans speaking people in South Africa). It is about different vegetables coming together in one pot to make a delicious meal. So is it with the members. Despite of race or cultural difference, or dialect we come together to dance and play. The PULSE TEAM is a symbol of diversity, inclusiveness and togetherness as we speak different languages and yet we are a team.
The PULSE team working at seminars all around Norway:
We have been in more than five places in one month since we got here, in Lillehammer we went too Plan B music theater and Utsiktsbakken. We have also been in Bergen and Aurskog. This, for us, can be fun but also overwhelming, because it means we meet new people that speak a different dialects than what we are used to hearing. This can cause more complications in communication but we have discovered that this is also a tool for breaking barriers between us and the people we meet for the first time.
These seminars are a way of learning different ways of teaching and meeting different groups of people. There are differences in age, culture, dialect and environment. So our responsibility is to understand the differences and get to know our participants. And in achieving this, we spend time with participants during breaks and open a free line of communication.Every band is unique and we have realized that our presence brings a lot of expectations.
We have experienced that Norwegians are conservative and can be shy, so we use our poor Norwegian language to break the ice.It is little things such as playing a game that teaches children to respect each other and learn to humble themselves to their fellow band members that leads to teary eyes after a seminar.
We always hold hands together with the children when we do games and when we give instructions to the songs we are going to play with them. This is because we believe that together we are stronger.
Written by Sindisiwe Ngcobo