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Make Music Not War

Music evokes many beautiful feelings at each and every one of us. At times, those feelings are joyous and delightful, even nostalgic, while at others, they serve as a real good remedy for when having the blues. Only a month has passed since the end of the project, but our symphony of feelings is still resonating within our hearts. It was a truly life changing experience that we had the privilege to be part of. “Make Music Not War” is a multinational youth exchange project that welcomes young people from 8 different conflicting countries, with the hope of having a try at resolving some long-lasting disagreements by using the power of music. Turning a cacophony into the most beautiful symphony – in the quite literal sense. Being surrounded by that many ingenious, talented, and madly passionate musicians was truly an uplifting and inspiring experience that certainly leaves a mark on you. We had the chance to unleash our creativity and with the many brilliant minds combined, compose original songs about peace, with friendship and love serving as our muses. I had the most amazing time within those 11 days we spent there, without a care in the world, just doing what I love. It was an irreplaceable experience, which quite frankly changed some of my perception of life, for the better of course, and I will always remember to cherish that. Among all the beautiful souls I met and the incredible vibe of the whole project, I must admit it managed to exceed my expectations.

Instead of only taking my word for it, here are the impressions of my friends from the Macedonian team as well:

“”Make Music Not War” was a lifetime experience. Something that every musician should experience at least once. The hanging out with people from 10 different countries and jamming together is a step closer to uniting the world. When you think of music you don’t have time to think about the problems.”

Martin Spiroski

“In a world often divided by conflict and misunderstanding, the Erasmus+ project “Make Music Not War” is a project that gives hope, unity, and an opportunity to unleash your creativity. My experience on this project was astonishing, seeing people putting their country’s conflicts aside and making music, or should I say making magic happen, really opened my eyes to see how easy it may be for us to fix these problems, but we just can’t seem to listen.”

Jana Slavevska

“Make music, not war, a message that was truly felt and done on this project. The whole thing felt like an inner puzzle of getting to know yourself, on how you and others work and think under certain circumstances. From meeting people with different backgrounds and cultures to working and collaborating together on the project. The atmosphere was very friendly walking around the house, there was always something to do, as in being extra help in the kitchen or checking on others on what they are doing. Overall, I had plenty of fun in this project, and plus I was proclaimed the king of foosball so there’s that.

The final days where we had to say goodbye to each other gave us a reality check on the regular days that are upon us. Even though the project was to make music not war, I believe that we made much more than that. The friendships, experiences and memories that we made along the way, all sum up to an involvement that I would highly recommend to others.”

Filip Pavlovski

“My time at the “Make Music Not War” project was nothing short of transformative. From the very first session, I was struck by the unique blend of fun and purpose that defined our activities. It wasn’t just about honing our musical skills, although that was certainly a big part of it, it was about coming together with a diverse group of individuals, many of whom I now consider very special. This project taught me so much about the power of music as a universal language and reinforced the idea that when we come together, we can overcome any barrier. It was an experience that I will carry with me always.”

Trajche Stankov

And it’s the truth, it’s an experience we’ll all carry with us, always. Despite our differences in culture, in language, in customs, we managed to unite with the help of a language which we all knew well – the language of music.  

“Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here!”
― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s ston

Cannot argue with that, Rowling, the most powerful magic indeed. And I really hope that this is not the end of it. I hope that our musical journey doesn’t stop here, but rather begins. Wherever it takes us next, regardless of time or place, I am certain that we’ll once again have the most unforgettable experience!

Stefan Nikolovski

Stefan represented Volunteers Centre Skopje at the training course: “Make Music Not War 3” that took place in Garlstedt, Germany from May 21 to 31, 2024. The training was organized by our partner: NaturKultur.