Since arriving in Norway the PULSE-team have been teaching in various bands and seminars using the FBF approach. Some of the participants we have worked with has never touched an instrument before. During our seminar’s we always introduce a variety of elements such as; playing by ear, dancing, singing and activities from FBFs activity library like icebreakers, energizers and team builders. We are experiencing a lot of laughter and happy feelings during our rehearsals, many of the musicians we meet can be very shy at start, but once they touch their instrument and start to play is when they express themselves through the music. The feeling of achievement when the participants master what we have thought them can be overwhelming at times.
One of our members from Furuset Skoles Musikkorps was asked “What does music mean to you” her reply was “whenever I feel afraid , I hold my head high and whistle a happy tune, so no one will suspect that I’m afraid, and every single time, the happiness in the tune convince me that I’m not afraid”
Participants at this years VinterPULSE in Oslo and Bergen were asked the same question and at both places Happiness received the most responses. In 2015 240 youngsters was asked the very same in South Africa with the same result (ref the report Musical activities as health promotion, https://pulsestrongertogether.files.wordpress.com/2015/07/report-a-7-july.pdf, page 41).
Based on this we believe in the power of music to influence positive change, because music help us understand and express our moods and attitude. Music help us to reorganize our thoughts and feelings while keeping us on track. We have seen a positive change of behaviour; members becoming more disciplined and focused, they open up to each other and dare to show their vulnerability, they laugh and smile when working with us.
Socially, children who become more involved in music groups or ensemble learn important life skills, such as how to relate to others, how to work as a team and appreciate the rewards that comes from working together towards a common goal where everyone is needed. This shows that picking up an instrument can help a child to break out of their social shell. This is supported by the VinterPULSE evaluation where 75% of the participants in Oslo and 68% in Bergen reported that friends is an important factor for their definition of music.
Drawing on our personal experiences as music teachers it is clear to us that music has a role to play in a child’s ability to learn and develop. Not necessarily just in terms of general intelligence, but in terms of strengthening their mental and social well-being. Researcher in Phycology of Music and Dance from University of Hertsfordshire, Dawn Rose, is supporting this view when she states that musical learning can help children to apply themselves, as well supporting the processes involved in teamwork and appreciation of working towards shared goals.
We are also happy to note that Dural music centre has listed many good reasons for why music is a beneficial to children (ref http://www.duralmusic.com.au/10-reasons-children-should-learn-music.html) that correlates with our experience;
- It teaches patience and appreciation
- It builds confidence trough mastery
- It teachers them how to relate to others and therefore strengthens them socially
- It can boost their brain power and stimulate their memory
- It helps them to connect with others; music is reckoned to be amplified when experienced with others
- It teaches discipline and strengthens ones self-direction
But most importantly; Music is beneficial because it makes one happy!
Written by: Sizwe Nkosi & Sihle Mabena
Photos by: Aleksa and Mads Ostberg