[ Nozipho Hlungwani was one of three students selected for an exchange programme with the Royal College of Music in Stockholm from August 2017 to January 2018. This is the 3rd and final part of her story (lightly edited for clarity and flow). ]
The school visits were magnificent. We visited two schools where we worked with different age groups. The first school was Heléne’s school in Lidingö where we worked with small children on keeping the pulse. We designed games that had a strong link with our main topic as Heléne requested. This is where I realized that learners learn at different speeds, therefore you have to focus on each learner’s progress.
The second school was Camila’s school in Upplands Väsby where we worked with ninth graders. It was much easier for me to work with them as they understood English much better than the younger learners. We had fun with this group, they learned from us and we learned from them.
It is really fascinating that all the schools that we visited were very interested in South African traditional music and they could sing some of the songs that I personally don’t even know! I asked them to teach me a song; I was moved when Camila’s learners sang Bawo wethu wase mazulwini (Our Father who art in heaven). I wouldn’t have minded doing the school visits more often because that’s where I learnt more things that could make me a great teacher.
What I think about the city itself
Stockholm is a very beautiful city and reminded me why I love water. The city is calm and refreshing, but with many activities to keep yourself entertained around the city. Stockholm has the best transport system that I’ve ever seen in my life, which made traveling more convenient. I’ve been on a boat and a tram for the first time and I didn’t have to pay a fortune for that — I just swiped my SL card and it was possible for me to experience something new in my life.
The image above is the Stockholm railway map. Whenever Vuyani and I had a bit of spare time, we would take our SL cards and decide which line to explore next. In the end we had visited each and every stop on all the lines! The day that we were on the black line going north, we had to pay an extra fee to go further, which we didn’t know about, and guess what happened then? But that’s a story for another day …
The Christmas decorations filled my heart with love for the festive season because I’m a person who don’t really make a great fuss when it comes to the festive season due to having insufficient reasons to celebrate it when I’m home. Being in Stockholm changed my way of seeing the festive season because of the love I shared with my friends. In Stockholm it was definitely the best festive season I’ve had in my life, regardless of my family being far away.
I want to emphasize how lucky I’ve been to have gotten the chance to study in Stockholm for 5 months. I left Stockholm with opened eyes and new perspectives about the field of study I have chosen. This trip was an eye opener to me and I will indeed use it to open others’ eyes as well. Everything that I’ve learnt will be useless if I don’t pass it on to others; therefore, I will make it my first priority to share my experiences with people back home.
Everything that I read in Eva Wedin’s book will help me grow as an upcoming music teacher and performer as it holds almost everything that one needs to be a great, well-equipped and wonderful teacher and performer. I have tried some activities already with the schools I visited during my stay in Stockholm and it works wonders. As a musician, I never thought relaxation was as important as warming up, but now I know because I was taught by great lecturers (Eva and Ing-Marie).
In addition, every moment spent in Stockholm is very memorable to me in both my personal and educational experience. I really appreciate having to perform on different occasions because I don’t always get the opportunity to do so when I’m home. The support from our lecturers and fellow students filled my heart with warmth as we had an exam concert to bid farewell to Stockholm. Seeing them smiling at me when I was about to sing kept me strong. I could see that they have faith in me, therefore I pushed myself more and more on each song.
I wish in the near future I could get a similar opportunity to study more of Dalcroze Eurhythmics as I have developed an interest in becoming a teacher that specializes in Eurhythmics. For now, it’s time to spread my wings and fly high above the sky.
I would like to thank the NWU School of Music who gave me the opportunity to go to Stockholm. It was really an opportunity of a lifetime. The knowledge, skills and experiences that I’ve acquired at KMH make me a better person and I feel that I have a lot to offer to anyone who needs my help. I also realized that it’s time to start something new with members of the community where I come from which will benefit the youth in my home town. I’ll continue visiting schools in order to have musical activities with them. I am more equipped with new fun activities that I can also use during Musikhane. I’m thankful to have been given the opportunity to explore so much in life, which brought more than one direction in my life and career paths.