PULSE teaching methods: Cases

When PULSE is out facilitating for tutor teams across South Africa, one of our focus areas is to facilitate for reflection. We work together with the tutor team, using their expert knowledge about the field band and their members to come up with solutions that work in each individual situation.

One of the tools we often use to facilitate for reflection is activities calles Cases.

The team is given a scenario that can arise in a field band, and are then asked to act it out, each one taking roles such as tutors, members, social officers, etc.. In each scenario, a conflict, problem or something to be improved is present. Some of the cases can also be taken to the members, having the whole band work together towards being more inclusive and considerate.

After acting out the situation, the PULSE facilitator leads a discussion, asking follow-up questions and examining what exactly is going on in the scenario. The tutor team is then asked to reflect on what could be done differently to solve or improve the situation.

Here’s an example of a case as presented in the PULSE guides, and suggested follow-up questions:

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There are many benefits from using this way to work:

The tutor team gets to involve themselves in the situation through roleplay, and often can see the situation from other angles than they usually do (e.g. through playing the role of a member).

The tutors know their own band and band members best. PULSE is only initiating the discussion and putting light on possible problematic scenarios. Having the tutors reflect on how to solve challenges in their bands brings up a lot of thoughts and creativity, and ensures that the solutions being decided on will actually work in each specific band. Implementing this way of forward thinking, not only of immediate issues within the band, but also of what could become or create issues along the line prepares the tutor team for facing challenges head on and provides tools to do so.

A lot of the material we facilitate is theory. This is necessary and useful as well, but getting up from the chairs to move around and do some role-playing every once in a while brings the material to life in another way than even the most engaging facilitator, and contributes to the material feeling relevant and fresh for the participants.

We know that expressing yourself creatively through music and art can be an important booster for holistic health. As such, being able to work creatively with theory material could help increase positive feelings such as self-esteem and mastering.


Written by Ine Nord / PULSE


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Strengthening cultural awareness

Recently the whole PULSE-team were fortunate enough to travel to Hamar to participate in a festival called “Stoppested Verden”. Being invited to Hamar meant more than anything to PULSE-team as we got the opportunity to represent our country in this festival. Being part of this exciting event gave the PULSE-team a platform to share the experience of one of the South African traditions being gumboots dance. Gumboots dance was created by African mine workers who relocated to South Africa. Gumboots dance was used as a  form of expressing their emotions, feelings and gratitude as most were forced to work under harsh conditions and also separated from their families and also were not allowed to speak while working. It has also been said that the gumboot dance was used as a form of communication in order to energize and uplift the workers. The dance is very rhythmical, using different beats and clapping techniques. It works well in smaller ensembles as well as in larger groups.


The festival is located in a park belonging to the Norwegian Railway Museum and an antique train transports the children and their families into a world filled with activities, professional artists and a variety of cultural expressions! One of the organizers explained that through inviting the local citizens to Stoppested Verden they seek to surprise, motivate and trigger an interest for and understanding of the values within the worlds’ many diverse cultures that are represented in Norway today. Concerts, workshops, activities, performances and exhibitions are the tools they use to create awareness and spread knowledge and understanding of the multicultural diversity we are all a part of.


Norwegian Railway Museum

By meeting people from all corners of the world sharing our lives at the same time, uplifted  the good human spirit feeling. These kind of festivals additionally prepares one and edifies about what we cerebrate or optically discern in other countries. Reality is that we are living in a society that is constantly changing. People are constantly on the move; either it is within the borders of their countries, across neighbouring borders or like us; to a different continent. Migration and emigration in smaller or larger scales for all sorts of reasons has always happened. Question is whether this is strengthening or weakening our respective cultures.

Our experience from Stoppested Verden has made us realize that meeting new cultural expressions makes us more aware of our own. Looking at the other artist’s we spoke to about the similarities and the differences of our culture and traditions created a strong feeling of together. We also found ourselves performing with other artists and together we made something that reflected and showcased all the involved cultures. Never did we feel like we lost our South African expression or identity.

Written by: Thulani Dupa and Masibulele Langa

Photos by: Sihle Mabena & Stoppested Verden archive

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Change Agent Action Plan


If you follow our blog regularly, you might have read our previous post about Educational Band Visits.

An Educational Band Visit is where PULSE and Field Band Education travel to various bands out in the regions offering training and up-skilling in various topics such as conducting, teaching skills, practical music theory and disability awareness.

To ensure the sustainability and longevity of the PULSE project, it is crucial that the knowledge shared with the tutors during the Educational Band Visit is also implemented in the rehearsals with the members. PULSE is always striving for the benefits of the up-skilling to reach member level, and is therefor consistently focusing on closing the gap between the field band tutors having the knowledge and implementing the knowledge. The field band tutors are already doing a great job as role models promoting a positive change in their communities and in their bands, and to support them in taking this to the next level PULSE has introduced the “Change Agent Action Plan”.


The Change Agent Action Plan is exactly what it sounds like – an action plan that the tutors make as a team on how they are going to implement the new knowledge that they have gained during the Educational Band Visit. During every PULSE session, we write down some key points from the session on a flip chart paper, which we later hang up on the wall. By the end of day three we have a wall full of information from the sessions; explanation of different types of disabilities, how to better accommodate members living with a disability, tips for inclusive teaching and improved communication, strategies for inclusion and the list goes on. We then use all this information on the wall as a resource for the tutor teams, where they each have to pick one thing they think is especially important to implement, and discuss this with the rest of the team. Each team then agrees on what topics they want to focus on going back to the band, which improvements they will make and commit to this plan by signing it and hanging it up in the Field Band Truck or somewhere else visible in the rehearsal space. The plan needs to be realistic and specific since they are reporting back to PULSE the four following weeks on how they are doing on their implementation.



As the Educational Band Visits continue, PULSE looks forward to hearing more about how all the different Change Agent Action Plans are being rolled out!

Written by Solvor Vermeer, pictures by Emely Ruth Waet.


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Implementation of PULSE strategies and teaching material.

During the National Tutor Workshop in February, all tutors that attended were tasked with taking the story of Gira and other music and health related activities back to their bands. In the following weeks, the tutors representing most of the various field bands would make sure that what they have learned would benefit their members as well.


Members doing an activity to raise learn about how powerful body language can be, and how people can show emotions differently.

The Gira material developed by PULSE relates to the core values mastery, belonging and resilience. It aims to provide band staff with competence and activities in regards to providing a safe and supportive field band environment where members can experience mastery and belonging, and through that increased self-esteem and resilience.

We have received written reports from almost all the bands and as such they are documented to be able to implement PULSE strategies and teaching material in their local band without PULSE participants present after the national tutor workshop.


Tutors telling the story of Gira to their members through role playing.

Unfortunately, a few bands have not been able to implement the material due to either being closed, or the tutors that was in that band at the time of the workshop have been relocated to another band shortly after the workshop.

Changes and relocation of staff and the occasional closing of a band is a challenge we are well aware of, so we are also continuously working on implementing the PULSE material in as many bands possible through educational band visits, e-learning sessions and through other PULSE initiatives.


Implementation of PULSE strategies and teaching material.

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PULSE Celebrates Norwegian Constitutional Day

On the streets of Norway playing South African music on Norwegian Constitutional Day the 17 May.

May 17, is a Constitution of Norway that was signed at Eidsvoll in the year 1814. The constitution declared Norway to be an independent kingdom in attempt to avoid, being ceded to Sweden after Denmark-Norway devastating in the Napoleonic war.LWPV7625

In celebration of the Independence Day, in Oslo city children and adults from all parts of the city and schools were gather to parade pass the Royal Palace, where the Royal family exchange waves and greeting.WKKG9556[1]Sihle Mabena led Furusetskolenes Musikkorps with the help of Thulani Maluleka and Sizwe Nkosi led Bjørndalskolenes Musikkorps. The two bands are part of the PULSE music and health programme, they both took part on the constitutional day with a unique vibrant music from South Africa. IMG_2720[1]The song that is mostly liked by Skolekorps in Norway is one of the Field band foundation traditional songs called Amavolovolo, and some of the songs that were also played on that day are:

·         Stamp

·         Ubuhle bendoda

·         Makarita

·         Ziyawa

Most of the members from Furusetskolenes and Bjørndalskolenes Musikkorps was their first time playing in the Constitutional Day. The smile on their faces and the energy they gave was overwhelming. As PULSE our goal is to focus on how to promote holistic well-being and improve the quality of life within the community we work in, by including members from marginalized groups into banding activities.

Parents were also included on the parade, which boost more confident in the members; it was indeed a day to remember that was full of laughter, dancing and singing.IMG_2710[1]

Not only the Furusetskolenes and Bjørndalskolenes musikkorps implemented Field band style but also Lørenskog Musikkorps which is led by Ante Skaug former Bands Crossing Boarders (BCB) participant and facilitator at Field Band Academy (FBA).

Norwegian bands have the similar marching style as the military. Ante incorporated some of the Field band marching style in his band, one thing that stood out from Bjørndalskolenes, Furusetskolenes Musikkorps and Lørenskog Musikkorps is, playing without using any music sheet, the way its normally done in FBF.PULSE team interviewed one of our members on how he felt about being part of the Constitutional Day playing South African music, his response was:

“I was very nervous and happy to be part of this amazing day, but once I had the first note of lower brass playing Ziyawa the feeling of being afraid fade away. I found myself dancing and singing, it’s a feeling I will never ever forget I was smiling and felt a sense of belonging” -Member

Children had a special role in the celebrations. The biggest part of the event was dedicated to them. The children’s parades had marching, waving homemade Norwegian flags and carrying school banners and playing Music,  and Music is one of  Norwegian culture.IMG_2656[1]IMG_2653[1]


Written by: Sizwe Nkosi and Sihle Mabena

Pictures by: Sihle Mabena/Web


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Visiting Eastern Cape and Free State

The past two weeks, PULSE and Field Band Education (FBE) have been back on the road conducting Educational Band Visits. This time the regions that received training were Eastern Cape (Dordrecht and Sterkstroom) and Free State (Parys, Kroonstad and Viljoenskroon). In addition to receiving up-skilling in the PULSE and FBE content, a positive side effect of these sessions is that we gather several tutor teams from the same region. Some of these teams are scattered and far apart, and through these band visits the tutors get a chance to meet more of their colleagues in the Field Band Foundation. They get the chance to share knowledge, ideas and challenges, which contribute to a greater sense of community and support from the fellow tutors. As we are also doing these band visits with Field Band Education and the Peer Educators, the band visit arena truly is a place for transferring knowledge between the regions, PULSE and the Education Department. To read more about the topics we cover in our Educational Band Visits, please read our post: https://pulsestrongertogether.com/2017/03/31/educational-band-visits/

The last day of the band visit it dedicated to a final event with the members. On this day, the tutor teams travel back to their bands and plan a final joyful and motivational happening. The aim is to work on members mental and social health, include elements of life skills, and to start implementing some of the things we have covered in our sessions. The format is completely up to the tutors, it can be a rehearsal, a performance, an activity race etc.

In Free State PULSE attended the event in Parys, and were happy and impressed to see some of the activities the team had planned and hear the thoughts behind them. In the last part of the event the whole band played together, and members were encouraged to come up and act as the conductor for their favourite song. In the end their peers were urged to give positive feedback to the conductors. This can be a great way of building confidence and self-esteem, and imagine the sense of happiness and community you’ll feel from getting praise from your peers. This activity can be a way of building a positive environment where you communicate respectfully with each other. And as an added bonus: a great way of teaching conducting and musical leadership.

PULSE and Field Band Education get valuable input on our content from the tutors. We are always striving to improve and make sure our topics are relevant to the tutor teams. PULSE and FBE are working on further aligning our work, and are linking our content closer and closer together. The tutors get upskilling, and finds an arena for sharing knowledge and experiencing community with other tutors in the organisations. And lastly through the final event and implementation of the knowledge gained at the workshop, we see that the members also benefit from the Educational Band Visits.


Written by Emely Ruth Waet and Solvor Vermeer

Pictures by Emely Ruth Waet and Bongani Goliath

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Why dugnad is important?

17 May is approaching, new season has begun in Norway. Dugnad is the common term you’ll hear this time of the year and on the 11 May 2017 team Bergen was invited to participate at a Dugnad in the school band we work with. What is dugnad? surely you wondering. Well: Dugnad is one of those concept type words which can be defined in few sentences. This is a cultural resonance that represent a way of life or an expectation in Norway.


Dugnad is commonly described as community work where people get together and get involved in anything such as cleaning, painting, tidy things up and fixing in general. It can be in the neighbourhood you live in, the property you share, at schools or the volunteer activities you participate in. It is a common activity in school bands where parents get together in the afternoons to help the band to prepare for instance to the National day celebration on 17 May.  Mostly what parents do are tasks like; sorting out the uniforms, checking the band’s official Fane (band baner), sort out music, clean up the instrument storage room, prepare for the annual closing and also to make goodie bags with lots of candy for the National day parade.

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It was an exciting experience we got to be part of. Everyone worked as a team from the young musicians, the board members and all the way to parents. The spirit was high; everyone had a task to do and a spot to fill, people laughed and spoke to each other across the tables where they were working and people helped each other out when needed.

Social health involves your ability to form satisfying interpersonal relationships with others. It also relates to your ability to adapt comfortably to different social situations and act appropriately in a variety of settings. Spouses, co-workers and acquaintances can all have healthy relationships with one another. Each of these relationships should include strong communication skills, empathy for others and a sense of accountability. By attending Dugnad you are rewarded by a wider network, a sense of belonging and positive energy from people around you. There is no doubt that this is exactly what we witnessed during dugnad at Varden skoles musikkorps.

Written by: Thulani Dupa & Masibulele Langa

Photos by : PULSE team BGO

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