To be a MwB Community Music Leader requires creativity. The situations in which we work are fragile and changing. Often resources are limited. Power can go off mid-workshop, a storm can flare up in seconds during rainy season, the mood of the children participating can be high or low. A million factors can alter the context, and force the workshop to change. Furthermore, the nature of music and of people means we can never predict musical responses. Successful workshops respond to the music that arises.
In April we ran training weeks in Rwanda and Tanzania to expand this creativity further. We worked with 50 young trainees to develop their skills in encouraging creativity from the children with whom they work. Our aim is that children taking part in workshops have the chance for their own creativity to flourish, and for music-making to involve all members of a group.
Musicians without Borders’ trainers from Rwanda, Israel and the Netherlands travelled to Tanzania and Rwanda to continue training with 50 young people as Community Music Leaders – using music and nonviolent leadership to support their communities’ needs. In both countries this was the third week of MwB’s four week training course. Our focus was creativity, and the role of a music leader in facilitating opportunities for participants to be creative.
The trainees are members of 21 community organisations. In Tanzania they will work to support former street children; unemployed adolescents; kindergarten and primary school children; marginalised youth; and young people facing poverty and lack of opportunities. In Rwanda, the trainees will support children marginalised by the affects HIV and conflict.
Day 1: Discovering Creativity
Part of being the leader of a creative process is discovering our own creativity. Using rhythm and movement the trainees spent the day trying out new ideas, and creating songs, beats and dances.
Day 2: Creating the conditions for Creativity
To allow any kind of creativity it is vital that participants feel emotionally, psychologically and physically safe. We train people in nonviolent communication techniques as a resource for creating that safety. In Rwanda, this teaching was lead by Dunia, a member of the Centre for Nonviolence, who trained with Marshal Rosenberg before returning to Rwanda in September 1994 to promote nonviolent practices in post-genocide Rwanda.
Day 3: Developing Creative Workshops
The trainees worked to develop activities that allow children to express their own creativity. They practiced song-writing techniques, movement exercises, and drumming activities to give opportunities for creative space.
Day 4: Practical Experience
Trainees in Rwanda visited the Roots Foundation in Kigali. The foundation works with street children to offer education, support, and mediation with families where possible.
In Tanzania the trainees visited the Langasani Secondary School, to work with older children, creating songs, rhythms and dances.
Day 5: Reflection and Closure
Rwanda – Tanzania Cultural Exchange
Nshimiyimana Emile, a coordinator and Community Music Leader in Rwanda Youth Music, joined the training in Tanzania as an Assistant Trainer. He shared his experience and helped the trainees to incorporate their musical culture into their work.