A One-day Session in Free State

PULSE and Field Band Education (FBE) is currently planning three weeks of workshops in Free State. It is going to be one workshop week in each band. One in Parys,  one in Vilioenskroon and one in Kroonstad. These workshops are called “Super Heroes” which will result in a final event called “Amazing Race”. This is a day filled with a lot of games and fun for the members where the focus is disability awareness. “Super Heros” and “Amazing Race” are funded by Ponahalo. You will read more about this in a later blog post.


Friday this week, PULSE went to Viljoenskroon in Free State where they executed a one-day training and information session with staff from all three Free State bands. This was to give them an extra update about “Super Heroes” and “Amazing raze”, and what preparations that are needed from them. To promote the topics and raise awareness in their communities, stakeholder engagement has been emphasized as an important part of the preparations. The Free States bands are all “inclusive bands”, which means that they have extra focus on including people living with disabilities.

PULSE and FBE have developed a “Knowledge and Skills Assessment” that the staff members should take before PULSE and FBE arrange “Super Heroes” and Educational Band visits round 2. The results from this assessment are being used to evaluate their level of knowledge, so that it will be easier to plan the content of the upcoming workshops and also which of the topics that should be emphasized. In addition to this, PULSE got to try out some of the HIV and Aids activities: due to funding received from PEPFAR (read more about this here: Raising awareness about HIV and Aids). PULSE has developed a series of activities, where the aim is to increase knowledge and awareness about HIV and Aids. PULSE needed to see if the activities were comprehensible and if the staff was able to facilitate them. The plan is to implement the activities for the staff and members in all bands in the Field Band Foundation this year.


Free State teams trying out HIV activities

Written by: Hanna Bakke Negård

Pictures by: Sofie Hjertvik and Hanna Bakke Negård

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Korpsklubb in Bergen 

PULSE, team Bergen, has kick started its new year with a new exciting project called “Korpsklubb”. In 2016/17, the team has been working with Varden Skoles Musikkorps as our own project in Bergen. In this Korpsklubb, we will use the basic activities to try to introduce all members into banding activities. Basic activities consists of clapping rhythms, doing body percussion, singing and games with call and responses, which also helps in aural training.


We will now be working with the Korpsklubb project in Møhlenpris and at Seljedalen Skole for six weeks, with 20 children in each group, one hour per week. As most of the children are not part of a school band, we make sure that they all feel included musically by introducing them to playing Pbuzz, dancing, singing and playing simple rhythms on djembe. Each school will get an opportunity to showcase what they have been doing at the end of the six week period. In week 9, PULSE will also host a one week workshop in Møhlenpris Skole in Bergen which is called ‘’VinterPULSE’’. In the workshop, we invite and include all kids, not just the ones that are part of a school band.


We believe that these activities will help child grow, learn and have fun. Basic activities, as mentioned above, are one of the great aspects for developing strong and diverse youth. These musical activities will prepare children to know how it is like being in a school band, and will hopefully encourage them to join the band afterwards. Playing in a school band is one of the best activities to consider, if you want to help your child develop stronger social and intellectual skills.


Written by: Denis Mashabane and Masibulele Langa

Photos by:   Bergen PULSE team


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New Year, New Team Member

Unfortunately one of the PULSE participants in South Africa had to go back to Norway. Luckily a former PULSE participant was happy to come back to South Africa and join the PULSE team in Johannesburg.


The new/old PULSE participant is Lisa Laila Gontarek who was a PULSE participant in 2015-2016 (PULSE3). Lisa grew up on the island Karmøy in Norway. She has a bachelor’s degree in Music Performance from The Grieg Academy in Bergen, Norway, and she also studied pedagogy at the same institute. Prior to coming to South Africa, Lisa has worked in Malawi with the FK project MOVE, and has afterwards worked with various music projects in Malawi and Norway. Her primary instrument is the recorder, but she also has experience with playing the violin. Lisa has already spent a year working with PULSE in South Africa in 2015/2016. During this year she stayed both in Free State and in Northern Cape where the main task was to upskill the staff in these regions to promote awareness around disabilities, social inclusion and gender equality. This time around she is looking forward to new focus areas at work, as well as getting to know more field bands around South Africa.

PULSE (NP5) is happy to welcome Lisa to the team. Since the north participants arrived in South Africa, they have not been properly introduced, so here it goes:

Sofie Hjertvik grew up in Ørsta, a small town surrounded by mountains on the west coast of Norway. She has studied music and has a master’s degree in Music Therapy from The Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, Norway. Prior to coming to South Africa, Sofie finished her studies and has also worked as a music teacher in different arenas. Her primary instrument is the flute, and she has experience from playing in various orchestras and ensembles. Sofie applied for PULSE because she wanted to use her skills and knowledge in a different setting, and to work in South Africa seemed like a real adventure. She is looking forward to learn more about Field Band Foundation, and to work with links between music and health with PULSE.

Marie Rotevatn is from Nordfjordeid, an idyllic small town on the west coast of Norway. She has a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from The Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo, Norway, and she has also studied arts management. Prior to coming to South Africa, Marie has worked as a teacher and conductor in various wind bands. Her primary instrument is the clarinet, and she also has experience with playing the saxophone. Marie applied for PULSE because she had heard many positive things about the project for many years from former participants, and she was eager to work with what she loves in a new country and in a new environment. She is looking forward to the work tasks and experience the work with PULSE provides, and is also looking forward to experience what South Africa has to offer.

Hanna Bakke Negård is from Lørenskog, a small town close to the capital of Norway. She has studied music at The Grieg Academy in Bergen, Norway, and has a bachelor’s degree in Radiography from Bergen University College. Hanna’s primary instrument is the trombone, and she has long experience with playing in various ensembles, bands and orchestras. Prior to coming to South Africa, Hanna worked as a radiographer at Oslo University Hospital. Hanna applied for PULSE because she wanted a change of scenery and experience another work environment on a different continent. She is looking forward to bring her skills and knowledge on music and health to the project and to learn as much as possible.


Lisa Laila Gontarek, Marie Rotevatn, Sofie Hjertvik and Hanna Bakke Negård

PULSE in South Africa is very excited to continue the work on music and health with the main focus area on disability awareness.

Happy new year!


Written by: Lisa Laila Gontarek and Hanna Bakke Negård

Pictures by: Eva Bortne

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The south participants held the first educational workshop this year, in Bergen. The workshop was with many young and energetic young leaders who are in the NMF Peer Education Programme from all over the country in Norway.


The goal for this workshop was to equip the peer educators with tools to make the learning environment in banding activities more inclusive.  This was not a very long workshop, but with the energy and eagerness to learn in this three-day workshop, we managed to dish out a lot of information from the peer educator guides and activity library. We strongly believe that the youth is the future movement in the banding activity, so it is important for us to make sure that we give them relevant information to keep the chain of inclusion going in the Norwegian school bands.


After this productive workshop with various kinds of information and new skills learned, the peer educators could bring home a written guide that will help them to create a more inclusive learning environment. The guide is written by Ragnhild Sandbakk and Christian Larsen. The guide based on planning tools, teaching skills and leadership skills. The guide itself is written in Norwegian, so it was not an easy task for us South Africans go through with the peer educators, but with the help of the PULSE extension team Anne Oksfjellelv, Katja Furnes, Christian Digranes and Ketil Vestrum Einarsen, it made the process easier.


The workshop it was not only based on the theoretical part of the guide, but we also had a practical part that was to play music together and make sure that everyone is included as since we also had non-musical participants. During the sessions, we managed to include non-musicians by singing, dancing and also playing p-buzz. This was a perfect example to demonstrate how we include everyone to experience a sense of belonging.


Written by: Adrian Mackay and Chief Zwane

Photos  by: Denis Mashabane

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Holiday PULSE in Plettenberg Bay

Have you ever thought about the benefits a child can get by doing music?

By togetherness in music, mastering and inclusion, you can create self-confident and happy human beings. Some of the benefits the child can receive from music training can be to develop a sense of responsibility as the child will practice healthy work habits of being on time for rehearsals and performances, and acknowledging their role in the band. When a child has a part to perform in a music ensemble or dance production, they also begin to understand that their contribution is necessary for the success of the group. Through these kinds of experiences, children gain confidence and start to learn that their contributions and presence have value. Above all, enjoyment and a life-long appreciation of music and fun activities will strengthen the children´s self-esteem.


PULSE (np5 and sp4) together with sponsors, Plettenberg FB staff and Eva.

The first weekend of December, PULSE travelled to Plettenberg Bay and had a three-day workshop that was called “Holiday PULSE”. On this workshop PULSE5, north participants (NP) together with returning PULSE4 south participants (SP) facilitated music, dance and activities to members together with the band staff. As mentioned in the blog post from 24 November, “Holiday PULSE” is based on a model developed in Norway with the Norwegian Band Federation (NMF) called “FeriePULSE”.

Holiday PULSE gave the region an extra activity (in addition to ordinary Field Band rehearsals) that was used to help to motivate the band and everyone else involved in the band. That means parents, members, neighbours, community and regional team. The workshop included band members from different schools in the district, which gave them a good arena to make new friends with the same interests. This is a good tool to strengthen their social health. The kids that attended the workshop really seemed to enjoy all the extraordinary activities and the challenges in learning and mastering the new music introduced to them. The workshop ended with a final event that included a parade and a concert where they presented the new music they had learned in addition to music they already knew. Sections also performed music they had rehearsed themselves. By contributing to a final event like this, the kids can get a stronger mental discipline through respecting the contributions of others and putting effort into the success of the final product.


PULSE has not before visited Plettenberg Bay, therefore it was important and a good thing that this project was executed there. In addition to music and dance related activities there was also extra focus on HIV and Aids, and PULSE taught the members about resilience by introducing them to Gira.

Holiday PULSE in Plettenberg Bay was a pilot project and the project can be used as a fun camp or as an extra activity for field bands across South Africa.


Written by: Hanna Bakke Negård

Photos by: Eva Bortne + PULSE team

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Positive effects of parents involvement in a child’s life

The PULSE team in Bergen continues to participate in seminars around Norway with skolekorps. It is said that it is not over until the final whistle, but with Varden skoles musikkorps, we had an early Christmas.


The team had two exciting consecutive seminars; one in Voss on 17 November  and another one in Varden skole on  25 November. At Voss, we rehearsed Christmas songs,  and in this seminar  the band also had time to be divided into sectionals which meant that also PULSE had to take charge in facilitating the different sections. The seminar in Voss included games, quiz, Christmas presents and a little small concert at the end of the day presented by small ensembles. On Saturday 25 November, band members and their parents met at Varden skole. It was very inspiring to see that also parents were taking part in both seminars. Parents were also part of the games played during the weekends, they really seemed to enjoy it and the members felt supportive supported. As the members felt supported.  The members also had a feeling of mastery because they worked so hard to show their parents what they are able to achieve in the school bands.

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When parents take part in after school activities like these skolekorps, they increase their interaction and discussions with their children and are more responsive and sensitive to their children’s social, emotional, and physical developmental needs. Consistent parent involvement leads to a huge impact in terms of communication and relations between parents, teachers and administrators . Bands that actively involve parents tend to establish better reputations in the local communities.


PULSE has witnessed a positive effect on children in bands where parents are actively involved, and that benefits everyone. Therefore, when teachers and parents continuously support and encourage children’s learning and development, korps become a home away from home. Children have better self- esteem, are more self- disciplined and show higher aspirations and motivation. Members whose parents remain involved usually make better transitions and are less likely to drop out of the band.

Written by: Masibulele Langa and Denis Mashabane

Photos by: Gøril Vikølen Nøkleby


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Exciting Week Ahead

2017 is moving towards an end, but there is still a lot for PULSE to be a part of before the Christmas holiday is upon us. As the time goes by, the PULSE project keeps on moving forward, and new work tasks and projects are developing. The last few weeks have contained of office work with upcoming events and planning ahead. In this blog post you will be introduced to the upcoming events for next week.

The Peer Educatorspeer

Tuesday 28 November, the participants from the Peer Educator Pilot Programme will have their panel assessment and a celebration dinner afterwards. Each peer educator has one hour to give a presentation where the main focus will be on one specific topic from the content of their own choosing and reflect on their own development. The last part of the assessment will be questions asked by the panel assessors. The panel will consist of both internal and external assessors. PULSE will be a part of the panel assessments as representatives for the peer educators, and also preparations and arrangements for the event beforehand. PULSE wishes the peer educators good luck, and are really looking forward for their presentations on Tuesday.


Working with previous PULSE-participants 

PULSE (NP5) has together with the PULSE team that went to Norway last year (SP4) been planning a workshop that will take place in Plettenberg Bay the first weekend of December. The workshop is called Holiday PULSE and is influenced by the Norwegian Band Federation (NMF) and PULSE’s “FeriePULSE” (or VinterPULSE/ SommerPULSE)  in Norway. You will read more about this in NP5’s next blog post.

This is the poster for the final event on the Holiday Pulse:



Written by Hanna Bakke Negård and Sofie Hjertvik

Picture/ poster by: Emely Ruth Waet and Sizwe Nkosi



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