We have come to the end of the pilot year of our Welcome Notes project in the Netherlands. We have led 3 training weekends with a total of 62 trainees and organized 40 workshops in several refugee centers in the Netherlands. It was an incredibly inspiring and sometimes challenging pilot year. The Welcome Notes training program will continue, more news about this will follow soon. But first we would like to share some experiences from one of our workshop leaders with you.
Dennis is a guitarist and music teacher and he has followed the first Welcome Notes training. Together with other workshop leaders he has lead several workshops in two different refugee centers in the Netherlands:
“One of the most important things I learned from the training was the use of non verbal communication skills – how to lead a workshop without using too much language.
Most workshops were inspiring: people joined the flow of the music making. It worked very well to use music to make first contact and to start with easier activities and continue to the more challenging ones, to keep the group focused. We’ve laughed a lot and there was mutual contact among the participants and with the workshop leaders, which was essentially the goal of the workshops. My biggest challenge was to take my time to really build up an activity. So, it was very helpful to work together with the other workshop leaders and to learn from each other.
I especially enjoyed the personal contact that I made with people who were sadly forced to flee their home countries and are now facing an uncertain future in an unknown environment. It made all the abstract stories about ‘the refugee’ more individual and personal.
The biggest surprise was how beautiful it was to write songs together with the workshop participants. And I’m still in contact with one of the participants to see if we can record some of his songs!”