A GCE Success Story: The Global Citizenship Orchestra for Youth
“The Global Citizenship Orchestra Project” was proposed by the “Larnaka Cultural Foundation for Children and Youth” and was achieved with the collaboration of “Sistema Cyprus”, a social-music organisation that operates in Larnaka and Nicosia, Cyprus. The project was implemented from March to June, 2019, in a warm summer night where nearly 700 people attended an orchestra performance with people from diverse backgrounds participating in a colorful and musical setting, where everybody had to cooperate in order to make music together.
Going back to the very beginning, the idea behind the “Global Citizenship Orchestra” was to implement a civil education program for children that was based on a music education project. In this project, we used a series of global citizenship workshops where activities from peace education approach and methodologies promoting integration and anti-racism education took place. The global citizenship workshops were combined with musical instrument workshops and orchestra workshops with an orchestra of about 80 children and young people who participated in social music programs in four different music centers, in the cities of Larnaka and Nicosia in Cyprus.
The children were split in groups of 4-5 based on the instrument they play. They received music workshops by professional musicians who taught them specific pieces from a variety of world repertory. Once a week, all students met for a general orchestra rehearsal and a global citizenship workshop led by an experienced facilitator who employed the use of music activities from a non-formal education manual that uses music for civic education.
After a short period of time, we could already see our goals for this project met. Through their participation in our orchestra our students started to gain valuable experience in collaboration, inclusiveness and acceptance and had a strengthened level of self-esteem and a sense of belonging. They actively learned about the values of equity and equality and were given the chance to develop self-concept, self-acceptance and high esteem through their participation in the instrumental and orchestra workshops.
On Wednesday 12th of June, our “Global Citizenship Orchestra” was ready to give a live experience of what it is to bring together a diverse population of children to participate and collaborate in the creation of our orchestra and the co-creation of music.
After the peer acceptance and the audience embrace, this project aimed and succeeded to reinforce participants' active citizenship in society by promoting social inclusion, social connectedness, and a sense of belonging with supportive peer methods. It also provided opportunities to develop a positive self-concept, self-acceptance, high esteem, problem-solving skills, help-seeking behavior and optimism.
Participating in an orchestra is akin to participating in a small society where everyone's input is necessary for the attainment of a common goal. Through this, albeit small, project, participants increased their sense of confidence and develop their communication and social skills while fighting against despair and fostering a more hopeful attitude for their future. With these benefits and skills, we can develop to become better citizens for our own benefit and for the benefit of our community and general society.