Body music can be used as a powerful tool in social inclusion and the workshops of body music can be a way of overcoming of social and cultural differences. As participants in different projects with goal of implementation of art in social inclusion, leaders of the workshop have had experience of how Body as an instrument workshops can significantly improve skills of some specific, unprivileged groups.
Body music workshops for protégés of Center for social work
During years 2012/2014 we worked with children, protégés of Center for social work in Novi Sad, Serbia, children with disadvantaged backgrounds of age from 10 to 16 years of age, with different economic and social obstacles and educational difficulties. The group consisted of Roma children, facing discrimination because of their ethnicity, children with slight intellectual disabilities, with poor school performance, limited social skills and risky behaviors.
After two years of continuous workshops (during school year), they acquired more competencies and skills. Through public presentation, two theater plays with music and body percussion, they acquired more self-confidence and the skills of public performance.
Working with peers, in group where there were often problems and aggression in relationship, children improved communication and cooperation. It helped them understanding the principle of functioning in a healthy environment and a cohesive group.
Children’s music skills improved to the level that a Roma boy enrolled in primary music school for drums and percussion, broadening his knowledge. It allowed him to participate in lessons with excellent children of stable socioeconomic background with democratic education and further develop his social skills.
European project Except
During participation in European project Except, years 2013/2015, body percussion and vocal workshops were chance for unprivileged youth from 14 to 19 years of age to learn and improve the language they expressed their emotions, fears, views with. Music and rhythm are powerful channels of communication for young people.
Songs young people developed and wrote lyrics were incorporated in different public performances. They dealt with themes like discrimination because of gender, age, sexual orientation, politics and nationalism, gender rights and roles. The play Plum orchard was successfully performed in Hungary and Serbia in 2015 as street and public space theater, and also in schools, for youth of similar age.
Working with children with disabilities
In work with children with mental and physical disabilities with mixed difficulties (as autism, cerebral paralysis, microcephalia, hydrocephalia, George syndrome, hyperactivity) workshops were carried out with mixed group of participants. Children with disabilities were accompanied with siblings, neighbors and peers willing to cooperate. During the workshops in Montenegro in 2017 (Tivat, Budva) children improved their social skills, made a progress in learning and motor skills doing music games, also stimulating creativity and practicing attention and concentration.
Some of the techniques combined with body percussion and singing were theater games and exercises and storytelling. We created an open story where children could add their ideas and experiences. Application of the technique was, for example, a song Happy birthday to you in sign language. Children learned to perform and incorporate it in storytelling play they all participated in creating and performing.
Body music for youth with dissabilities
The project Crossover has been implemented in 2018 in the partnership among the Institute for Culture of Vojvodina’s Slovaks, Elementary and Secondary Boarding School Milan Petrović and NGO Open Circle Novi Sad, within the framework of the Novi Sad 2021 Foundation’s program Audience in Focus. The project had an explorative, educational and inclusive character.
Traditional musical from this region was combined with contemporary interpretation and arrangements. Musical and stage performance were conducted by body percussionists, choir and the orchestra. The orchestra used special devices based on assistive sensory technology, eligible for persons with physical disabilities.
We were a group of musical and stage performers of various genre perspectives who come from various backgrounds.
The project had several stages and the final performance, as a result of the preparation and workshop activities. We performed in the period from October to December of 2018 at several locations in Novi Sad, Irig, Lug, Vrdnik, Kisac and Sremski Karlovci.
The workshop Body as an instrument implemented on work with different social and age groups helps fostering tolerance, multiculturalism, inclusion and overcoming of social and cultural differences.