Music Matters. PULSE!
Music Matters PULSE is a joint project with the Norwegian Band Federation (NMF) that focuses on using music to develop lifeskills and promote wellbeing in bands in South Africa and Norway. Every year, NMF and FBF exchange four personnel in order to share knowledge and experiences with the aim of building each organization’s capacity to serve their respective communities.
The aims of the PULSE project are to:
Build a better understanding of how music can be health-promoting and part of lifeskills education in the FBF,
Increase the FBF’s knowledge of how to use music to include people with disabilities in the Field Bands,
Encourage women to be leaders and to overcome the cultural barriers that make it difficult for them in South Africa,
Contribute to the NMF’s ways of working in low-income communities in Norway,
Grow the understanding of how music can be a tool for health and building social communities in both countries,
Provide opportunities to develop young leaders who recognise the importance of community health and development.
Music Makes a Difference
Music Makes a Difference (MMD) is an exchange programme between FBF and Toneheim Folk High School in Norway. Launched in 2018, the MMD programme uses music as the primary vehicle to create opportunities for reflection and personal development for participants around identity, global citizenship, and diversity. Toneheim Folk High School emphasises self-development through peer interaction, open discussion, dialogue, and hands-on experience.
Educational Band Visits
Educational Band Visits (EBV) are short workshops provided to tutor teams during Education and PULSE visits to each band. The aim is to further educate Field Band staff in music theory, basic arranging, lifeskills, and music and health. During COVID-19, the EBVs have expanded to include Virtual Educational Band Visits (VEBV) on Zoom, where the upskilling of the tutor teams has continued digitally with an additional focus on team dynamics and self-care.
The Tutor Programme
To ensure more frequent contact with the local staff teams, week-long leadership development workshops for junior tutors are held four times a year. One staff member from each band is selected to attend workshops facilitated by Field Band Educators, Norwegian PULSE facilitators as well as external facilitators for that year. These workshops support the tutors with in-depth knowledge and skills to be able to facilitate a high-functioning field band. Modules taught include music theory, dance techniques, choreography, teaching skills, conducting, communication, social inclusion, and performance skills.
The TiT Programme offers training to members who are looking to develop their musicianship and their leadership skills. These members are given additional musical training and the opportunity to lead their sections under the guidance of the tutor team.
CREATIVITY AND PERFORMANCES
Music and Movement Workshops
Music and Movement Workshops offer training for Band Coordinators (BCs) and dance tutors in the FBF to improve their music and dance skills. These workshops focus on the acquisition and practical application of skills in music theory and arranging, conducting and ensemble playing, dance techniques, and choreography.
Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) Exams
FBF offers exam support to community staff members every year through the Associated Board of Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM).
ABRSM is the UK’s largest music education body, one of its largest music publishers and the world’s leading provider of music exams, offering assessments to over 600,000 candidates in over 90 countries every year. ABRSM supports high quality music-making and learning around the world, offering pathways and resources for learners and teachers that help build musical skills, provide goals and encourage progress. The core of ABRSM is the provision of graded music exams, practical and theory, grade 1 to 8. An ABRSM grade has a worldwide currency, and the exams are designed to motivate students at all levels and ages, providing realistic goals and tangible rewards for their achievements.
The Activity Library YouTube channel has a wealth of available videos for inspiration when planning field band rehearsals, sorted by topic such as teambuilders, icebreakers and energizers. These videos can be accessed via Music Matters - PULSE - YouTube.
Holiday PULSE workshops are offered in select South African communities during school holidays where members can play and grow as musicians and dancers, socialise, try new activities, and work together towards a closing performance.
Lifeskills and Social Inclusion
The Field Bands follow a yearly plan for the implementation of Lifeskills and Social Inclusion. The FBF teaches lifeskills through the medium of music and dance, and the curriculum is tailored toward challenges one may face in different stages of childhood and adolescence as well as regional societal issues. The Social Inclusion curriculum aims to teach respect and diversity, and covers topics such as human rights, LGBT+ awareness, and disability awareness.
Social Officer Training
Social Officers (SO) form the bedrock from which the FBF provides a fundamental social support structure to the band members and project teams across the country. SOs are responsible for implementing our lifeskills programme in the bands, identifying the psycho-social support needs of band members, referring cases of social need to the relevant authorities, and growing partnerships to create a local support network for FBF members and staff.
As not all SOs are trained social workers, we provide additional skills transfer and training. These workshops are facilitated by a team of well-experienced and registered Social Workers who understand the FBF context and have helped to structure an appropriate action programme for all bands.
The involvement of parents and caregivers is crucial in childhood development. To bring the parents closer to their children and the bands, the FBF also runs a series of parenting workshops. Discussions range from responsible parenting, building stronger bonds with your children, self-confidence and how to support academic programming. Information is shared with parents on sensitive topics such as sexual health and LGBT+ awareness and how to navigate these with children. The workshops provide a safe space for those in parenting roles to share experiences, gain more insights into the FBF, find ways to support each other and consider how far they have come in their parenting journey.