From October 23-28, we ran our third annual Training of Trainers in the Netherlands, bringing together 49 professional musicians from 20 countries for 6 days of intensive training in our working principles.
The aim of the training was to prepare experienced music workshop leaders to train others in their local communities in methods of using music for community building and healing. Topics covered included songwriting, percussion skills, music therapy, nonviolence and exploring the creative process.
This reflection was shared by our trainee Pablo Mendez Granadino, director of Armonia Cuscatleca, one of the local partners of Soy Música, our project in El Salvador:
One of the most valuable parts of my experience in the Netherlands with Musicians without Borders is being able to reflect on the work I have done with Armonia Cuscatleca in El Salvador. It is very inspiring and necessary to meet other community music leaders from around the globe with common aspirations and goals.
Before this once in a lifetime opportunity with MwB, the only goal I thought I had achieved with the youth orchestra of San Pedro Perulapan, was how to correctly play a few scales along with a few popular songs. I didn’t realize that what AC was offering was hope, empathy, community, creativity, family, friendship, confidence, a voice! It is very hard to be heard when all these positive aspects of life are drowned out by violence, extreme poverty, corruption, broken families and lack of education or employment. A very difficult aspect of working in such a hostile environment is being able to stay focused and not turn into a sponge that absorbs all these negative aspects of culture that unfortunately Salvadoran families have to cope with on a daily basis. I will not lie and say that I haven’t been affected by the reality of Salvadoran life. It’s been a very challenging 2 years of my life but I can definitely say I am stronger, more thankful for what I have, and more resilient.
I want to share a little of what MwB shared with me. The very important and vital Principles of Nonviolence by Martin Luther King. One of these principles says “nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people. The nonviolent approach is not passive but active: it includes making choices and taking action that contribute to justice, peace and community-building. It’s the decision to act, despite risks and fears. Although it take courage, nonviolence can be and is practiced by ordinary people like you and me.”Rwanda Youth Music program manager Chris Nicholson, Trainer Danny Felsteiner Mekori and Rwanda project coordinator Allison Shyaka perform a song together.