SF 2011 Report

In May 2011 the European Association for Music in Schools convened the 9th Students Forum to promote discussion among educationalists and students of “Teacher responsibility for children’s music activity- teaching styles – roles and responsibilities”. The central aims of the forum was bringing students and teachers together to share and exchange information, experience and ideas about their own training, music in schools and music education in their own country. The forum took place at The Stanislaw Moniuszko Academy of Music in Gdansk (Poland) in the frame of an international EAS-conference and a meeting of the EAS-board and a new EAS doctoral forum. There were participators from 13 different countries like: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Turkey. The forum provided an opportunity for 27 students to take part in workshop activities, share first-hand experiences, songs, ideas for making music at classroom and also listen presentations based on recent research during the conference.

First evening we all gathered at Academy of Music, where we could finally met Branka and Gerhard student’s forum organizers. At the start of the forum, students were given general information on the results of the student forum in Bolu- Turkey form last year. Then we were welcome by Yanou and Julianna, two students who had already took part in SF last year and were there to share experiences and help with co-ordinations of forum.
Next part of meeting we spend on warming up games held by Branka and Gerhard, which helped us to get to know each other better. Then the rest of evening we focused on the poster session. Each student in internationally mixed group was asked to develop a poster about the music education in the school system of their own country-that means: the main content of the music curriculum for all children in school and the kinds of musical activities, that children participate in ( and out of school).
At the end of the Monday meeting we were invited to official dinner for student forum, EAS board and Music Academy authority and then we continued getting to know each other during less official supper in pub.

Tuesday appeared to be very busy day too. Some of us started at 8.30, some later ;-). Divided into small groups, we were sharing examples of musical activities and repertoire from ours countries and we was trying to find a new context of exercises we brought. After all presentations, together we decided which one we want to present to the plenary. The most popular and different from others was song “ Dere Geliyor, dere” brought by Turkish girls: Tugba and Fulya. After working in groups we had opportunity to take part in workshop about “Contemporary music and its sound in the context of Dalcroze exercises” which provoked a stormy discussion between participants . The coffee break calm down emotions and was a good refreshment before meeting with President of the EAS Board -Sarah Hennessy.
Meeting with Sarah Hennessy was based on discussion focused on the theme of the Forum and sharing of the students’ different experiences and perspectives of learning to become a teacher in their own school system. Referring to the topic the task was to find the suitable role for a modern teacher including specific music teachers’ roles, social roles and traditional roles. Together we founded that nowadays is needed to have many different attitude to work like being a critic, co-learner, instructor, trainer, model, facilitator, educator, guide, mediator, motivator. Sarah Hennessy also reflected the need for a stronger safety in the classroom and building good relationships. We all agreed that music lessons can be more enjoyable than others subjects and that developing from different levels is challenging but still possible (as a great example we watched short movie form choir lesson of The PS22 Chorus from Public School 22 in Graniteville, Staten Island (New York). At the end of day we met again in ours groups to sum up what we had learnt that day and we shared ours reflections and observations. For those who wanted to continue discussion, where organized social evening together with the EAS doctoral forum.

Next day we spend on independent group work. Our aim was to create a presentation which would be given by the whole group to the Conference delegates. I feel that was really difficult task. We had been working very hard whole day, supported by Branka, Gerhard, Yanou and Julianna, almost without any break. I didn’t realized that preparing such a short presentation is so time consuming, but I feel it was’t waste of time. We divided the work between us and everybody tried to be organized and had some contribution to the presentation. What really surprised me was positive attitude of people. I was happy that despite of being tired nobody gave up and hardly anyone complained.
Last day of forum was intended to our public presentation devised and made by all of the students to the delegates of the EAS Conference. I think that it was really well done job and as students, we showed that we care and we are aware of the need to plan strategies which could improve future Music Education.

“I need a teacher who motivates
Not just a teacher who educates
Be a guide
Show me how
Help me know more
Than I do right now!”

After presentation we met again to sum up and officially closed the Forum. We discussed about EAS-Student network (how we can strengthen it) and what we can do to be still in touch to share news about music educations in our countries. As the result of that discussion we have already established the forum facebook group which (till now) included almost 20 participants of EAS Student Forum 2011.

The evaluations of students of each participating country showed us the importance of such international experiences. I feel that during this forum I have learnt a lot and I had broaden my mind. Thank you all again for this opportunity of being the part of such a great team. Warm greetings to all of you J!

Agnieszka Lewoc