From September 4th 2020 to February 10th 2021, the organisation Art Apart has organised eleven 90-minutes workshops with youth at risk have been held in GRIG’s premises and Cultural centre Magacin. Under the professional guidance of the workshop leader, and with support of GRIG’s staff and the musical assistant, the total of 20 youngsters from Belgrade’s centres for children without parental care and Centre for Youth integration went through the workshop process, with 2-12 participants per workshop, depending on Covid19 restrictions and restrictions in foster care homes, where some of the participants live.
Trough introductory musical workshops, we tried to establish contact with young participants by engaging in the conversations about their musical taste and previous experience with music. We discovered that our participants liked different music styles (from folk, to pop and rock music) which were a great starting point or exchange and learning for everyone. Few of the participants are gifted with extraordinary talent and with great interest in music, which we noted for special support in the later phases. The songs which were rehearsed in the introductory choral workshops have been selected by the musical facilitator, in order to familiarize the participants with the working process, while in the following workshops the songs were selected in accordance with participants’ interests and with their active participation. Also, we organised first amateur audio recordings for the participants, with an aim to get familiar with the recording process, and one specially talented participant (Vladimir Jovanovic) had a private workshop in the music studio, where he was acquainted with the professional recording process, professional studio equipment, and where he professionally recorded guitar tracks for the future arrangement of the song with a music producer.
Besides developing musical skills through choral singing, the process has proven to bring numerous “non-musical” benefits for the participants, such as developing and strengthening self-esteem, sense of togetherness and peer support within the group. New friendships between the participants are established, and trough the numerous exercises we nurtured participants’’ mutual support and peer to peer learning.
The project “Regional Youth Compact for Europe” is a three-year project implemented by Center for Democracy Foundation and 13 partners. The project is funded by the European Union and co-funded by Balkan Trust for Democracy.