[ 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 Part 2 of her story (lightly edited for clarity and flow). ]
The introduction week was very exciting. We had many activities from different departments of the school, which were really fun. The programme was well organized and useful information was provided, although it was a challenge when it came to healthcare because it was only presented in Swedish. But later arrangements were made for all the exchange students to have the presentation in English, which showed that the school really cared about us.
The Swedish course was one of the best courses. I enjoyed learning the basics of the language. The lecturer was friendly and whenever I had a problem I went to him and he would assist me in the blink of an eye. I’m glad I had to take this course because it made me realize that I can still learn more languages on top of the nine languages that I already speak. I will continue learning the language through the website where I have registered myself for Swedish lessons.
Bo Rosenkull is awesome, he unlocked something in me which I never thought I’ll have, which is patience when learning new music. He taught me so many things in such a short period of time. My wish is to work with him again; he gave me a variety of voice exercises, which are very effective. He took me out of my comfort zone, which made me realize that I actually have a wider voice range than I thought.
In addition, I appreciate the work he has done with me, especially as most of the things he told me were what my voice lecturer back home always tells me. This made me focus when practicing because both of my voice lecturers picked up the same things about my singing, and it’s not something that they’ve even discussed. If there was something I could wish for, it will definitely be to have more time to practice with the pianist in order to get used to singing my pieces with accompaniment. Nevertheless, I had a great time working with Susan Yondt; she’s one of the humblest pianists I’ve ever met.
Group classes with first years
All the classes I’ve shared with the first years were very memorable. I enjoyed every moment because it was really fun and everyone was involved. There was a very good interaction between the lecturer and the students. I’ve learnt lot of things from this group.
I was taught by this group that teamwork and unity goes a long way. This group did everything together, they supported each other on a professional as well as personal level, and they were concerned about how their peers were coping. To show how caring they are, I remember during the Swedish folk music week we had lecturers that sometimes forgot that there are exchange students in the group, and the students made it their priority to always remind them to address us also in English, which made us feel part of the team.
The Eurhythmics classes were the highlight of my trip to Stockholm. Studying Dalcroze Eurhythmics made me realize that teaching doesn’t always have to be formal and boring, you can have fun while teaching and learning at the same time. For me there was never a dull moment when I attended these classes. I had fun and I learnt things that I wouldn’t have learnt if I wasn’t part of the exchange programme. I never thought that one can actually teach by saying nothing, but doing something instead. It sounds strange, I know, but it works wonders!
The best part of Eurhythmics to me was being introduced to many different types of objects that I can use to present an enjoyable lesson, regardless of the age group. I’ve personally discovered something about Eurythmics classes: sometimes I would wake up feeling so emotionally drained and home sick, but the moment I started the movement class I would feel much better. In addition, I mentioned to Vuyani that Eurhythmics classes are my therapy sessions whenever I’m not feeling well.
During Eurhythmics classes I also learnt various way of stretching my body and I saw how important it is to stretch your body daily. Before attending these classes I never cared about stretching. In addition, all three lectures played a major role in developing myself, including our guest lecturer who taught us movement (dance).
There is one thing that I want to highlight that really, really caught my attention which is using playing cards to make scales and melodies (see picture below). We made major scales as well as minor scales and each person had a different way of using/placing the cards. I would love to use this activity in order to help those who need to develop their aural training as well as solfa singing. This technique was introduced to us by Incaa as our farewell lesson.