One of the tools we use to talk about music and health is the story of Gira. Gira is a toy giraffe we take with us on our workshops and band visits, and she has a backstory that highlights some of the challenges the members of the Field Band Foundation might experience in their daily lives. In Giras story we see that the parents are not a big part of her life, her father often being away with his friends, and her mother often being at work. The story also tells us that Gira finds it hard making friends at school. She struggles with loneliness, and lacks social support in her life. Through the field band Gira finds friends, and positive adult role models. The tutor and the Social Officer gives positive reinforcements and listens when she needs to talk. Read the story of Gira here https://pulsestrongertogether.com/gira/.
Workshops on Gira consists of a number of activities designed to make the participants discuss and reflect on aspects of music and health. One of these activities is called “Spaces in Between”. The goal of “Spaces in Between” is for the tutors to be aware of the Field Band members’ emotional life and possible challenges. But also, to see how the adult role models in a member’s life can have an impact on him or her.
All the participants in this activity are given a role to play, it can be Gira herself, her mother, the field band tutor, a class mate or a fellow member of the field band. “Gira” will stand in the middle of the room. The other participants will be asked to imagine that they are in Gira’s head, and position themselves according to how far or close they think Gira feels they are in her life. Based on her story, we see that the father is not a big part of her life, and he might position himself further away from “Gira” than the field band tutor. The field band friend is closer to Gira than the classmate and positions herself accordingly. When everyone is in place we freeze the position, and discuss what we see. What does this say about Gira’s everyday life and social relations? We often see that the field band people are closer than a lot of the other people in her life. What happens if we remove the friends and adults from the field band from the picture? We will perhaps see that the field band might be more important for their members than they are aware of, and that as tutor they are in a unique position to be a positive influence in their members lives.
The overall goal of the Gira workshops is to make the tutors aware of the impact they have on members. A tutor’s job consists of more than teaching members how to play and dance. We can’t change all the circumstances in Gira’s life, but we can make sure that we contribute in the best way we can: By providing a safe and positive environment that builds resilience in facing the issues in our lives.
Written by: Emely Ruth Waet
Pictures by: PULSE