PULSE has done it again; another exciting Samspill weekend at Marikollen Kultursenter in Rælingen. This time 136 members from different school bands in and around Oslo met for a three-day seminar filled with music, learning and friendships. Their ages ranging from 9 to 16 years old. Samspill aim to give young musicians in the region an opportunity to meet and play music together, as well as offering them an experience of performing in a large band.
Sihle was already booked for a seminar at Furuset Skoles Musikkorps this particular weekend. NMF Øst and the PULSE management therefore challenged Sizwe to lead the project in partnership with one of the musicians in NMF Øst’s regional band, RØST; Tron Petter Nilsen Aunaas. Tron-Petter was also one of six praktikanter (peer educators in training) from VinterPULSE 2016 and he therefore had firsthand experience of the Field Band way of using music related activities to achieve non-musical goals. His main task was to assist Sizwe trough out the project, translate for him when needed and explain the chosen activities we prepared to show case on the concert the following afternoon.
On Saturday evening, after a long day of rehearsals, Sizwe and Tron-Petter where given two hours with the group of 136 youngsters to inspire them with energy, laughter, a bit of movements and no instruments. The main goal was to make the group feel relaxed and experience a sense of togetherness as a group, and prepare an item to present at the concert the next day.
Sizwe decided to teach a song from South Africa called “Re na le ba pala” which is a song taken from Tswana and means “We are playing, singing, dancing and celebrating”. It is a song used in happy occasions like weddings and it chosen to make people feel happy and energized.
The Samspill participants attending the seminar were so excited about the song and within an hours’ time they had learned the melody and the lyrics, movements and a rhythmical section had been added to the piece and they were ready to present the piece at the concert. According to Sizwe they experienced a lot of laughter when going through the lyrics and introducing the movements, but ones all the parts where put together it sounded really well and the youngsters really sang their hearts out.
FBF’s activity library is a great tool to use when planning a workshop like this. It contains more than 40 activities where you can engage participants in team building activities, icebreakers and energizers that can contribute to improved social well-being and create a sense of belonging; also in larger groups.
To start the workshop Sizwe decided to use an energizer called “Fire in the mountain”, an activity Tron-Petter knew well from VinterPULSE 2016. In this activity, you need someone to call out “Fire in the mountain” loud and clear for the whole group to hear. The group will move around in the room and shout back “Hey Hey” every time the call out is shouted. Suddenly the caller will call a number and all the participants must form groups of that number by hugging and holding on to each other.
Sizwe explains that the main goal with the activity chosen was to create a safe space and an inclusive environment before we introduced them to Re na le ba pala. The good thing about the activity is that it is physical and that all participants are taking part in the activity. The constant movement in the group will make one lose track of the people they normally stay with and they will end up hugging people they don’t know that well. They must all use their voice while shouting back at the caller and this helps every person to feel confident in being heard and using their voice in the next activity.
The feedback from the members who participated in the activities was overwhelming they were all focused and participating with a positive attitude towards the chosen activities.
Sizwe also found that it was a good experience working together with Tron-Petter on this project. He was very professional, had good work ethics and understanding of what we were trying to achieve. He participated whole-heartedly in the activities together with the rest of the group and this is an important aspect of being a good role model to others and it helped them feel comfortable to participate. After all he is one of them and at their age, there is power in being a peer. This we know for a fact from South Africa.
Tron-Peter will also take part in VinterPULSE which will take place in the Winter holiday 20th-24th of February at Sagene festivitets hus in Oslo.
Written by: Sizwe Nkosi
Pictures by: Tron-Peter Nilsen Aunaas