menu Menu
Developing Leadership In Students & Sharing Logistics Responsibility: The Case of CEMUCHCA
Haiti
Implementing Program-Wide Curriculum & Teacher Preparation Training: The Case of Esperanza Azteca Previous Creating Sustainable Operational Systems for Long-Term Growth: The Case of Al ComPAZ  Next
Developing Leadership In Students & Sharing Logistics Responsibility: The Case of CEMUCHCA

Authors: Rossana Chiara Paz Pierri (Guatemala)

ABSTRACT

BLUME Haiti seeks to develop leaders and strengthen economic development through the pursuit of musical excellence. As of 2016, the organization has benefited over 5000 students through its focus on four areas of primary interest: supporting teachers, staff and students; funding educational opportunities for key Haitian teachers and students; providing instruments and materials and assisting with curriculum development. This case study offers suggestions for developing more leadership and commitment in students, and for using music as a tool to improve logistics and camp coordination.

FIELDWORK CONTEXT
26 June — 9 July 2017 | CAP-HAITIEN

In partnership with BLUME Haiti, I volunteered at the CEMUCHCA Camp outside of Cap Haitian for 12 days. (CEMUCHA is an acronym for Circle de musicians ehrétiens capris.) During this time, my daily activities consisted of cello sectionals and individual lessons with students at 3 different levels: beginners (who had started playing cello at the camp), intermediate (who had played for a few years but were still at a beginner level), and advanced (who had played for a few years and had won an audition to be in the advanced orchestra). With the advanced students, I focused on techniques such as extensions and position shifting in order to improve their playing of orchestral repertoire. With the beginning and intermediate cellists, I taught posture exercises and new technical skills, such as sitting correctly, holding the instrument, bowings, left hand posture, and major scales. The new cellists played their first recital at the end of the camp, after only 2 weeks with their instruments. The 3 different groups of cellists had lessons with me daily in sectionals. Some also had individual lessons.

SUBJECT BACKGROUND
CEMUCHCA CAMP & BLUME HAITI

Building Leaders Using Music Education (BLUME) Haiti is a non-profit organization that supports music programs throughout Haiti, in part by offering scholarships to talented teachers and students enabling them to take part in summer music camps run by various music schools, especially those with a n international volunteer teaching staff. A portion of the programming is designed to improve student and teacher musicianship and develop leadership skills.

Director Janet Anthony started teaching at camps in Haiti in 1996, and founded BLUME Haiti in 2012. As of 2016, the organization benefits over 5,000 students annually through its varied activities. A subset of the 13 member board are active volunteer teachers in Haiti and, depending on the needs of the partner school, will help to coordinate various summer camp activities

CASE ISSUE
DEVELOPING LEADERSHIP IN STUDENTS & SHARING LOGISTICS RESPONSIBILITY

BLUME Haiti aims to develop leaders and encourage economic growth through the pursuit of musical excellence. BLUME seeks to inspire and motivate students, and enhance the abilities they will need to become teachers and leaders of their organizations and communities. This case study considers how those mission-driven goals fit into a busy camp schedule of daily music lessons, sectionals, and rehearsals, and how the intensive musical training that students receive will improve their leadership skills and make a lasting impact on their lives.

As a teaching artist at CEMUCHCA, I found the camp schedule challenging because most of the activities started late. Many students arrived late for lessons. On some days, only half of my students came for their scheduled lessons. Some of the students really wanted to learn and asked for additional lessons, while others always seemed to have a new excuse to miss classes. When I asked for assistance from the logistics coordinators for the camp, they were unavailable or didn’t know precisely what activities were happening. This was understandable given that the general director for the camp was very busy with administrative, teaching, and conducting responsibilities, and did not have much logistics support.

This case study addresses three core questions: 1) How might BLUME develop more leadership and commitment in students? 2) How might BLUME use music as a tool to fight against culturally-rooted paradigms such as unpunctuality? 3) How might BLUME improve their logistics and camp coordination?

“This case study considers how mission-driven goals can fit into a busy camp schedule of daily music lessons, sectionals, and rehearsals.

ANALYSIS

The following table presents a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis of what I observed at the CEMUCHCA camp. The strengths and weaknesses given are internal aspects of the CEMUCHA camp, whereas the opportunities and threats are external aspects and not directly dependent on BLUME’s operation.

Strengths

  • Some students lead with their example and discipline
  • Team of international and local teachers working together
  • Music theory lessons, and other complementary lessons, given at camp
  • Director and team are interested in the well-being of students, not only their musical development
  • Director of the camp is very inspiring, accomodating, and an accomplished musician

Weaknesses

  • Some students show very low motivation
  • The students were unmonitored most of the time
  • Not all the students had their own instrument
  • Instruments were left unattended under sun or rain, and treated poorly
  • Logistics problems at daily activities of the camp and at concerts
  • Issues with basic instrumental technique of advanced students

Opportunities

  • A great number of students are already teaching at their own organizations
  • Growing national platform of music education and organizations that use music as a tool for social development

Threats

  • Unpunctuality is culturally acceptable
  • The area for lessons was very noisy, dusty, and hot, so students were distracted easily
  • Some students showed signs of malnutrition, causing learning difficulties
  • Students played with instruments that were not their size. This might lead to tendonitis or other posture-related diseases.

This case study focuses on two weaknesses that might be transformed into strengths: low motivation and logistics problems. The following table details several observed instances of each; note that certain items may be considered as examples of both low motivation and logistics problems. 

Low motivation

  • Lack of individual practice
  • Advanced orchestra repertoire too challenging
  • Beginning orchestra repertoire not motivating for students
  • Students are late to, or do not attend, individual lessons
  • Lack of after-camp objectives and follow-up

Low motivation and logistics problems

  • Unpunctuality
  • Uncertainty of objectives and activities
  • Little staff supervision of students
  • Few leaders and coordinators
  • Little student involvement

Logistics problems

  • Difficulties distributing classrooms
  • Bus coordination problems
  • Few staff members to set up chairs and stands
  • Concert planning issues: order, unpunctuality, low attendance
  • Little marketing and advertisement for concerts

Logistics difficulties may lead to low motivation. For instance, because of challenges distributing lesson rooms, some students were late or uncertain about the activity schedule. Students might lose motivation if they devote time to practicing a piece that won’t be rehearsed that day or even played at all at the camp. A late start time for a concert, or low audience turnout due to logistical difficulties, may also lead students to lose motivation.

RECOMMENDATIONS

The following suggestions are intended to develop leadership in students and share logistical responsibilities. These suggestions seek to respect the priorities of the camp and recognize the already significant effort required to find the economic resources to make it possible. The implementation of these suggestions would not require additional funds or new staff, but rather the delegation of certain responsibilities to students.

Potential obstacles to the implementation of these suggested solutions include a lack of support from camp coordinators, low participation among students, coordination and logistical problems, and the absence of a clear means of measuring the progress of leadership skills in students. All can be reduced by encouraging good communication between team members, and sharing the essential goals of each new activity before starting it.

When students contribute to the day-to-day functioning of the camp, they learn to appreciate the opportunites that the camp provides.

1: Create student committees

This recommendation engages students in camp activities that are usually coordinated by administrators or teachers. When students contribute to the day-to-day functioning of the camp, they learn to appreciate the opportunites that the camp provides. They will also develop the necessary skills to lead similar projects in their own music schools.

To create the committees, the camp staff (teachers, coordinators, and directors), must first identify those needs that may be delegated to students. Second, the staff must determine the members of each committee and whether committee membership will be optional or mandatory. Third, each committee should vote for a leader who will be responsible for coordinating the committee’s goals and activities with the director and coordinators of the camp. Below are some suggestions of committees, goals, and activities:

COMMITTEE
GOALS
ACTIVITIES

Staff

  • Keep all the instruments and materials of the camp in good condition
  • Set up the orchestra before a concert
  • Ensure that chairs and music stands are being used correctly
  • Ensure that instruments are not being neglected at any time
  • Place chairs and stands as needed for each concert or recital

Cleaning

  • Keep the environment of the camp clean and in optimal conditions for lessons
  • Delegate students to clean practice areas and supervise these students as necessary 
  • Organize campaigns for cleaning and recycling, and raise awareness about environmental contamination

Advertising

  • Invite the community to concerts to raise local awareness about the camp
  • Make signs and post them in the city
  • Organize social media campaigns
  • Invite students and families to visit the camp

Documentation

  • Document activities and concerts
  • Help the organizers send updated photos or videos via e-mail to solicit more donations
  • Take videos and photos of daily activities and concerts to share via social media and send to donors
  • Interview participants and create “thank you!” videos for donors

Serving food

  • Help the cooking team
  • Ensure that each student picks up their own plate after eating
  • Help serve food

Scheduling and attendance

  • Monitor the daily agenda of the camp
  • Ensure that students attend their assigned activities
  • Make a list of students at each level
  • Help teachers take attendance
  • Ensure that students are at class on time

All camp participants should collaborate in this process to ensure that these committees solve existing logistical problems rather than create new ones. Camp administrators and teachers must empower the leaders of each committee and help them find solutions when they encounter difficulties. Student committee members must have the authority to organize other students and delegate specific tasks to them.

2: Establish 5-minute meetings with leaders

The camp should have a musical plan, clear objectives, and a common goal determined in collaboration with the teachers and orchestra conductors. It is suggested that the camp implement daily 5-minute meetings that bring together local teachers, guests, and leaders from each section. These meetings, also called “standup meetings” in business vocabulary, will ensure that the daily plan and objectives are understood by all, and that any concerns have been addressed. The meetings should take place daily before starting activities and cover the following 3 topics:

  • Summary of yesterday’s progress
  • Activities and goals for the day
  • Potential challenges

These meetings will foster a sense of teamwork and encourage a common focus with regards to the day’s priorities. They will also help team members share important information, such as lesson rooms and schedules, to ensure that students receive the correct information. To ensure that the meeting is effective, the following guidelines are suggested:

  • Form a standing circle so that everyone can see each other. The discomfort of standing will help to keep the meeting short;
  • Meet no longer than 15 minutes to maintain an active interpersonal dynamic and retain the attention of the group;
  • Appoint a moderator or leader to keep track of time and coordinate additional meetings with leaders as necessary;
  • Address any concerns on the part of team members. Make the dynamic participative rather than merely informational;
  • Include teachers, coordinators, and principals at each level of the orchestra.

3: Give after-camp responsibilities

The camp includes a group of students that are already teaching in their own music schools or after-school programs, and are interested in learning teaching strategies. In addition, certain highly motivated students would like to continue learning about their instruments after the camp. For example, one beginner cellist was the only cello player in his home community. He was very excited at camp but will probably spent the rest of the year without a cello teacher. How might BLUME keep these students motivated and help those students who are also teachers throughout the rest of the year?

BLUME should experiment with the following ideas to determine how to best adapt to the students’ needs:

  • Ask the volunteer teachers to create a list of methods and repertoire that students can use to learn on their own during the year;
  • Form peer groups of students that can help each other throughout the year;
  • Coordinate Skype lessons or Facebook groups to help students with specific musical or technical concerns;
  • Give those students who are also teachers a list of possible goals and activities to use with their students;
  • Ask students to send monthly videos of themselves playing to volunteer teachers, who will then provide feedback. Volunteers may be professionals who offer feedback for free or students-teachers who will provide feedback as part of their training teaching process.

BLUME should offer these options to the best students at camp as a motivation to continue their efforts and accomplish new goals. Considering the logistical complications associated with coordinating follow-up activities throughout the year, however, it may be necessary to limit this opportunity to a few student leaders. These leaders could be chosen by using the final recitals as auditions.

CONCLUSION

Developing leadership in students is already an established goal of the BLUME organization. The collective practice of music inherently requires teamwork and leadership by breathing together, playing with the same bowings, sharing musical ideas, and simply playing together. At times, however, these practices are not enough to form leadership and teamwork in students. Children and youth will only truly understand the meaning, roles, and responsibilities of leadership by experiencing it. What better way to practice leadership than by leading small but important changes at camp?

It is recommended that BLUME Haiti prioritize the creation of student committees. These committees may result in more committed and motivated students, the development of local leaders, and a more well-organized camp experience. The second and third recommendations—5-minute meetings with leaders, after-camp responsibilities—may be implemented in parallel with the student committees. None of these recommendations require any extra financial support.

These recommendations may also be implemented at other music camps or in the daily activities of music schools, and may be adapted to the needs and characteristics of each institution. The goal of these recommendations—to develop leadership in students in conjunction with their musical training—must remain the primary focus. Leadership and teamwork skills, like musical skills, are developed by practice. 


Previous Next