SF 2015 Report

To find a like-minded person is really good luck and seldom happens in our lives. That’s why it’s hard to describe the joy of the participants of the 13th International EAS-Student Forum, who found 25 of them, all at a once! The Student Forum, organised in connection with the 23rd EAS/ISME Conference in Rostock brought together young and enthusiastic Music Education students – from Germany, Netherlands, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, England, Belgium and Sweden – who had four beautiful days getting to know each other, sharing ideas and inspiring each other with new ways of teaching music.

Anne and Linus, two student delegates from the previous Forum, did a great job preparing various musical games to break the ice (although, it’s nice to admit, there wasn‘t much to break). Students had so much fun doing all of the activities and became a warm and friendly youth community from the very first moments. They also had a lot of great experiences taking part in the workshops prepared by the host students from Rostock. Various experiments with the voice, sounds of breathing, and musical instruments, gave students many useful ideas of different musical activities that do not need particular musical skills and yet still provide opportunities to engage in collective music making. These were new and inspiring ideas for students to take back home. As important was the discussion surrounding the main theme of the conference – which encouraged students think more broadly about listening as an important part of music.

Of course, participation in such an event requires preparation: each student was asked to bring one song, one listening acitivity and one warm up activity or musical game which could be shown and taught during the Forum. The workshops, where the students shared their ,,homework“ was probably the most exciting part of whole three days. One could feel so much interest and excitement in the working groups where students were playing games; discussing music listening issues; practising interesting, sometimes rather complex songs in many parts; or challenging their tongues while trying to sing in various languages. This rewarding work became another proof of how valuable and inspiring it is to share, and how much joy one gets from making music with others.

All these workshops and activities were not only designed to broaden students‘ thinking and offer teaching activities. Another goal was to create a workshop for the participants of the main EAS conference. Students had a long and rich discussion deciding which activities of the ones they had brought along were the most interesting and exciting and/or which had the most educational value or emotional reward. The result was obviously worth working hard toward. On the last day of the Forum, students led a rich, funny, inspiring and motivating conference workshop which included a wide range of musical activities from many different countries. Students and audience alike danced, acted, sang, played rhythms, listened, improvised and, importantly, enjoying the beautiful moment where music, creativity and friendship connected to make them a little better as educators  – and as people.

The 13th International EAS-Student Forum in Rostock is worth being called a beautiful adventure. Friendly city, impressive university, inspiring people, rewarding communication, and creative work; this was an amazing, long-lasting, wonderful sensation for those who took part in the event. Two music education professionals, Marina Gall and Branka Rotar-Pance did a great job in making the Student Forum a place where the trainee teachers could feel happy and at ease, and gain inspiration for their further steps towards exciting music teaching. And it has payed off more than one could imagine: because one of the most beautiful things about music is sharing and giving and the Student Forum was a community where this was took place with great joy.

Jonė Girdzijauskaitė