One of the best things about when you decide to learn from people who know a lot about a topic, is the leaming you get on that subject, but also the experiences and the extra knowledge you acquire. The RagnaRock Band is one of those extra knowledge, acquired thanks to one of my professors in the Master of Music therapy, José Fernando Fernández Company.
RagnaRock Band is a project that began in 1983 at Norden Aasen, a special education school in Oslo, later the scholl and adult training center Nydalen Voksenopplaering in Oslo. The members of the band were mentally retarded pupils. This band has for 35 years been a well known and successful band. Its name evokes from the Noroen mythology of Ragnarok. It has been active until recently but it is unfortumately not anymore, due to a decicion of the leadership at the school thet is hard to understand.
The peopel who attended this special education center became musicians of a real rock band. How was this possible? Thanks to the initiative of the musictherapist Tom Naess who adapted a method of teaching the instrument of a rock band (guitar, bass, drums) so that they could be used by the users of the school.
The guitars, with open tuning, went on to have 2, 3 or 4 strings that could be touched with only one finger. And most characteristic of this method: Tom Naess invented a system with which, through colored lights, the members of the band knew what chord they had to play at every moment of the song. These chords were using only the firs and fifth notes of each cord, to avoid the third in order to play both in major and minor. The green lamb corresponden to the Tonic, the yellow to the Subdominant and the red to the Dominant. In this way they could accompany any song, playin all the same chord at the same time. The band director directed the group through these color lights which he lightened by foot pedals.
RagnaRock Band played concerts in Norway and several European cities, recorded several CDs and took part in several TV programs.
But the greatest successes occurred in the actual band members who formed the band during the years that were active. Their sef-steem, perception, self-confidende, social skills, initiative, physical and cognitive development improved considerably thanks to their experience in the RagnaRock Band.
Naess, T. & Stesaeth, K: “Together!” RagnaRock, the Band and Their Musical Life Story