September the month of Curiosity filled with activities

The theme for September was Curiosity. The word itself speaks of peaked interest and of seeking out something new and unknown. Which is exactly what the PULSE South team was in the process of facilitating. Throughout most of September, workshops were held, with a focus on the Tutor Programme, video workshop with B# (sharp), and Music & Movement which has incorporated dance accreditation facilitated by a dance company called Moving Into Dance. There was also facilitation for RPL – Recognition of Prior Learning which is an accreditation for facilitation.  This facilitation was directed to senior tutors and band coordinators.

Khaya Benela teaching music theory during Tutor Programme

 Workshops were held at the Container House which is situated near the banks of one of the biggest rivers in South Africa called the Vall river. The first workshop held was a Tutor Programme which was closely followed by a Music and Movement workshop. The Tutor Programme started on 31 of August 2021 and lasted for six days which including two days of videography. The Main content covered at the Tutor Programme was Music theory, Events planning, Communication session, Conducting, and Instrumental skills. There was also a full band session whereby all the participants came together and practiced music in preparation for the concert at the end of the workshop.  During the workshop, a motivation station was erected to write motivational quotes and morally boost each other’s confidence. A wellness group was also formed so that it will assist and remind the participants about the COVID-19 regulations. This group played a vital role as it is the one responsible for making sure that everyone is sanitizing every 20 minutes and the COVID-19 registers are properly every day.

Tebogo Ntshole During a conducting session

Soon the Tutor Programme, Music and Movement workshop commenced with a two-day workshop of videography. It was followed by PULSE and Education content which comprised of Conducting, Music theory, Music arrangement, Tutor in a Training session, RPL and Moving Into Dance accreditation, and full band sessions. The workshop started on 06.09.2021 and lasted for eight days. Major highlights of this workshop were the fact that there were external facilitators from different sectors of the entertainment industry.

Moving Into Dance brought two world-class dance facilitators by the name of Tebogo Letele and Oscar Buthelezi. Both of these facilitators possess international dance experience and awards under their belts. They worked tirelessly with the Field Band Foundation dance tutors. At the end of the workshop, these dancers were awarded certificates of accreditation for Moving Into Dance which is certified by SETA-Sector Education and Training Authority.

FBF dancers awarded with MID certificates

In conjunction with MID, RPL was running on the side. All the band coordinators and seniors who were at the workshop participated in these sessions. These sessions lasted for 2 days with a follow-up work whereby the participants were required to submit assignments after the workshop. During these sessions, participants were taught different facilitation skills and to combine a portfolio of evidence to prove that they possess facilitation skills and indeed they have facilitated.

Thabo Mosime practiced facilitating during the RPL session

As an external facilitator, we also had Godfrey Molele who is an ex-Field Band member and a Project Officer. Godfrey was a great help in both Tutor Programme and Music and Movement workshop. He was facilitating the Pit section which is Marimba, Steel drums, and percussions. He was also instrumental in documenting the workshop activities by taking pictures and videos during the sessions.

Tshepiso and Sherwin during a Tutor Programme workshop

The PULSE South Participants are currently assisting the senior tutors and Band coordinators with their RPL work.  They will be going out to different projects around the country to check up if the RPL work is in order and it is ready to be submitted to relevant authorities. During the band visit, the team will also be facilitating Focus Group Discussions with the project teams they are visiting and will be doing a general band observation followed by evaluations. In November, the last Tutor Program for the year will be hosted by the PULSE team. Participants will be writing ABRSM Grade 1 exams and a panel exam as well. We are confident that these tutors will do us proud by passing their exams with flying colors and we wish them all the best.

Participants paying P-Buzzers

In Norway, FeriePULSE has been held in several cities already. The events started in July for Bergen and in early August for Skien and Ålesund.
Participants attended every day from 09:00 to 15:30. During this time, they practiced playing instruments (some for the first time!), dance, and twirling. In the breaks, they were allowed to go play outside or sit down and relax, making new friends and acquaintances as the days progressed.  
Solvor, Sofia, and Nicholas from the PULSE North team participated as instructors and assistants during the FeriePULSE in Bergen, while Sofia also joined the FeriePULSE team in Ålesund.
Solvor and Sofia worked directly with the children, teaching them music and keeping them entertained during the breaks and during rehearsals. Nicholas taught the instructors and praktikants basic first, aid and he took on the job of documenting the choreography and music that the children were taught.

Participants singing during Ferie-PULSE concert

FeriePULSE has an overarching goal of being a fun and engaging holiday activity where children can learn the joys of musicking. It is also a gateway for the participants to get a feel of what being a part of a band is all about. Learning about inclusion and tolerance is a good way of giving the children resilience against prejudice and ignorance. FeriePULSE is an event for everyone, no matter their background or physical limitations. Teaching the children that everyone can contribute in their own way is a goal that the PULSE team takes pride in.

The praktikants have, throughout the events, worked closely with the kids and the instructors to get everything together for the closing concert that was held on the last day of FeriePULSE in the respective cities. Giving them the experience will help them have confidence in their own musicking skills, something they can bring with them to their own bands.  The praktikants completed two evenings of online coaching before meeting in person a few days before FeriePULSE started. In the online course, they were taught about inclusion, the importance of being a good role model, conflict solving, and what is expected of them during FeriePULSE. During the concert on the final day, the role of addressing the audience was given to two praktikants. They did a great job of introducing what musicking is and explaining what FeriePULSE means to us who work with it and why we strive to keep it going year after year.

Confidence and musicking need a layered approach, as there are so many different aspects to take into consideration. It’s not as simple as asking, “did your confidence grow after being a part of FeriePULSE?”.
Therefore, it is important that the teaching be nuanced in the way that children are taught. Everyone learns differently, and some catch on faster than others; the praktikants did a great job of patiently explaining and teaching the children in a way that they could understand.
They had several different sessions a day, with different teachers, though each group of participants had a pair of praktikants following them all week. It was also not mandatory to participate in the sessions, if a child decided to take a break or wanted to play instead of rehearsing, they were allowed to do so.
Learning and teaching should not feel forced and mandatory, which is why the children were, within limitations, given free rein to have fun and be active during most of the sessions

Authors: Nicholas Bahrawy and Jacob Mhlapeng

Pictures: Jacob Mhlapeng, Godfery Molele and Nicholas Bahrawy

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