My name is Jarl Heggernes. I work as a guidance teacher at Landro School in Fjell community on the island of Sotra, which is about thirty minutes west of Bergen.
The population of Fjell is about eighteen and a half thousand, and still growing. This is due to many new business-opportunities and being situated close to the sea provides a very pleasant living-environment.
Being situated close to Bergen enables good opportunities for recreational and cultural experiences, while the local community can still maintain the local traditions.
Landro School provides education for children from the age of six until thirteen, which is divided into seven levels.
In my many years as a music teacher I have experienced a great progress in the area of music education. We have seen the advantage of concentrating on practical and aesthetical subjects like arts and crafts, music, dance and drama. These subjects are , among other things, used to consciously build and develop good relationship between the pupils.
The Norwegian school guideline states that schools should practise basic education and bring the cultural heritage to life. The guideline also encourages the participation in local cultural activities, which inspires youngsters to be active and creative. It also states that one should emphasize on the creativity and reflection, experience and be able to express themselves. Pupils should or are advised to always maintain a conscious attitude towards the arts and aesthetics.
Children should be given the opportunity to experience the many varieties that exist in art, and be encouraged to expand their own creativity. Schools should provide activities such as a school choirs and drama classes for example. The guidelines see the creative and socially integrated person as a role model. So with this approach in mind pupils and the school would welcome a project like “Concert and school”, or KOS as we call it. The school needs to address the daily running of the school ensuring that the project can be allowed to run smoothly.
I will explain how we organize ourselves at Landro School:
To succeed, a project like KOS demands a lot of resources and of course hard work.
A positive attitude among the teaching staff is absolutely necessary. Within our school we have tried different models of music education. We are fortunate to have several teachers with experience in the many fields of music and drama, this we found out to be to our advantage.
Teaching music, drama and arts and crafts to young pupils comprising of mixed groups, is one form of education we have practised. We have also tried the art of composing music, which the pupils found very interesting.
The application to take part in the project “A positive school environment” received the full backing of the school staff, which was very positive. The ultimate goal of this project is to give children a positive attitude towards music, drama, dance and illustrating art. The pupils need the encouragement to take part and not be afraid to express themselves.
We were encouraged to develop our own structures for teaching these subjects, and to create a quality school environment by stimulating the pupil’s musical and creative qualities. Soon we agreed on making one day a week different, a day where we concentrated on the practical and aesthetical subjects. The “Gla’dag” or “Happy day” was introduced.
If you should visit our school on any Thursday you will be met by song from either of our two school choirs. Maybe it will be an old song, or perhaps a new song, some with serious messages and some just for the heart’s content. The children are sat close together and we hope this will consolidate our school environment. The children are known to each other across the different classes. After choir classes the children take part in activities that are organized in small groups. Activities such as sculpturing, illustrating arts and of course all sorts of performing art. We have especially concentrated on dance, with both small and larger groups.
We have a tradition, which is to have a school performance or concert once a year, sometimes twice a year, where all the classes participate. We often combine our performances with other projects. Then we use the “Gla’dag” as well as a shorter, more intense period for practising.
Since we already had organized our school in this fashion, school staff found it natural to apply to take part in the project “Concert and school”. It was important that all the staff was involved, because it would be difficult for a small project group to run the project. We needed to find a way of stimulating the school’s growth by it’s own endeavour. The more people felt they were a part of the project the more chance it had of being a success. Because of this we found it necessary to spend a lot of resources on bringing the staff “up to date” from day one. This we experienced from personal seminars where we plan our projects, as well as socialize. We find that music and dance is a natural and very popular event on these seminars. Teachers also take courses in dance, choir practice and drama. We find that it is important to keep the teachers’ interest of music alive, as well as involving new members of staff; therefore we always start our weekly personal meeting with a song or a dance.
As this project comes nearer to the end we are left with a feeling of satisfaction. The school’s project group met the musicians up front, so to be well prepared for the work ahead, and so to stimulate their colleagues for the upcoming project and concert. These meetings also gave us insight into the musicians’ thoughts and ideas of how to run the concert.
As you know we have a tradition of giving school performances. These performances have given fantastic experience to both pupils and teaching staff. In the Kos-project we have striven to make the concert a natural part of the school year. We started the preparation for today’s concert early. The children learnt the songs long before the actual project they were connected to began. The children practised in their respective classes before the choir practise began. An assembly of all members of the school took place in the gymnasium to mark the opening of the project. At the school assembly the children from the local cultural school performed traditional folk music. After a short presentation of the upcoming project the work then began in the different classes. The life and work of the Norwegian composer Geirr Tveitt was an important factor of the project along with traditional art and fairytales.
We had an arrangement with the Bergen University College whose students gave us two excellent concerts. A fiddler taught us about his instrument the “Hardingfele” when he visited us. He also taught us some different folkdances, which the pupils found to be very interesting.
During the project period we also had an exhibition of “art and craft” in the gymnasium. Although the exhibition took place on a Saturday, most of the pupils and families attended. At the exhibition they had the pleasure of witnessing local art and craft and experiencing a wonderful dance exhibition by the Sotra folkdance group.
When the day of the concert arrived teachers and pupils felt well prepared and were full of expectation. In the weeks leading up to the concert we kept a regular contact with concert producer Jostein Stalheim who also attended the school performance.
As you will soon witness, the pupils and musicians participate together in a song and dance routine they have practised together earlier. The collaboration between musicians and pupils we found to be important and may well be developed for the future.
The original concert was performed during school hours but was still attended by some parents, and it was something they will not forget. They all thought it was “fantastic”.
This inspired us to perform a concert for the local pensioners and grandparents of the pupils. At that concert there were performances by the school choirs, classes and our pupils from the local cultural school. To be able to perform to a well receiving audience was an invaluable experience for everyone involved.
The “finale” of the project was to be an evening performance titled “A trip through wonderland” During the dress rehearsal on the morning of the finale we already had a “feeling” that the evening performance would be successful. So at the end of a journey through wonderland, from Askeladden’s kingdom, via the three goats that met the troll, and finally ending up at the summer mountain pastures with calls to the cows from the milkmaid, everyone were satisfied. The sound of one hundred and seventy children’s voices singing “Vi skal ikkje sova bort sumarnatta”, or in English “Do not sleep through the summer night”, we had a feeling of satisfaction and pride. The project and concert had been a success, which was endorsed by the parents whom attended.
The different projects and concerts we have entered have inspired us to employ external resources, whose help brought valued information and practical help. We also furthered our collaboration with the local cultural school, where children can take lessons in music, song, dance and illustrating art. These lessons take place after school hours. The teachers at the cultural school are specialists in their field of work so the children attending receive excellent instruction. Raising the teachers’ competence is important, and in our last project about Cuba we offered all teachers a three-day course in Cuban rhythms and dance.
Andre prosjekta ……………
When afterwards the project was evaluated we received only positive replies, as was the case for the concerts we have held previously. We have found that the experience of performing concerts and working on projects gives invaluable experience to the pupils and everyone involved. We have found that the school must plan well ahead of the project for it to work especially well. We are filled with curiosity, expectation and excitement while preparing for the project and the accompanying concert. We see the concert in a wider context; it becomes a natural part of our school day.
It gives me great pleasure to introduce the singer Reidun Horven, Geir Botnen on piano, Knut Hamre on hardingfele, the dancer Magne Kleiveland, and last but not least pupils and teachers from Landro school, in a concert in cooperation with “Concert and school” so please put your hands together for the sound of the waterfall; “Songjen i fossaduren”.