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07 June 2018 Photo Supplied
Emotional safety during examinations

Mid-year exams have begun and with crunch time comes emotional upheaval. However, it is manageable and should not deter you from the end-goal of succeeding in your studies while maintaining high mental health standards.

“The exam period is a time when stress and anxiety levels are higher than usual. Stress can be positive and help you stay motivated and focused. However, too much stress can be unhelpful and can make you feel overwhelmed, confused, exhausted and edgy,” says Dr Melissa Barnaschone, Director of Student Counselling and Development at the University of the Free State (UFS).

According to Helpguide.Org: Trusted guide to mental & emotional health, “Mental and emotional health is about being happy, self-confident, self-aware, and resilient. People who are mentally healthy are able to cope with life’s challenges and recover from setbacks. But mental and emotional health requires knowledge, understanding, and effort to maintain. If your mental health isn’t as solid as you’d like it to be, here’s the good news: there are many things you can do to boost your mood, build resilience, and get more enjoyment out of life.”

For further details on topics including: Building Better Mental Health, Emotional Intelligence Toolkit, Benefits of Mindfulness, Improving Emotional Intelligence (EQ), Cultivating Happiness, visit the Help Guide. 

Dr Barnaschone has a few tips on how Kovsies can better approach academic anxiety during the examination period. Here is what she has to say:

News Archive

Teaching has always been in opera singer’s genes
2016-12-26

Description: Albertus Engelbrecht Tags: Albertus Engelbrecht 

Albertus Engelbrecht believes that his predecessor
and mentor at the Odeion School of Music ,
Peet van Heerden, prepared him wonderfully for his task
as Vocals lecturer.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen

He has captivated audiences from Berlin to Los Angeles with his singing talent for 17 years. Yet, teaching has always been in his genes, and as a child Albertus Engelbrecht dreamed about teaching music someday.

Once, when the opera singer stood on the Free State flats during his MMus studies at the University of the Free State (UFS), he knew this is where he would come.

He has been employed as Vocals lecturer at the Odeion School of Music (OSM) since 1 July 2016 and is now ploughing back his knowledge for students he believes have an incredible passion for singing that is not found even in European vocalists.

Concerts in Los Angeles stand out
Engelbrecht was a lyrical tenor at the Landestheater Niederbayern in Passau, Germany, and was working with students as well as professional singers (in Nürnberg and later Passau). However, he was bitten by the teaching bug much earlier. “When I was a student at Stellenbosch (where he obtained his BMus degree at Stellenbosch University), I discovered I had a love for vocals training,” he says.

He has performed all over Europe and worked with famous conductors such as Philipp Augin (Los Angeles Opera). “The most impressive performance was the New Year concerts in Los Angeles, and specifically the concert in the Walt Disney Concert Hall, with fantastic architecture by Frank Gehry, and housing approximately 2 260 people.”

“When I was a student at Stellenbosch, I discovered that I had a love for vocals training.”

Big boots to fill at OSM
He achieved his master’s degree magna summa Cum Laude at the UFS and received the Fanie Beetge prize for the best postgraduate student. He studied for his master’s degree under Peet van Heerden, with Dr Matildie Thom Wium as supervisor.

Following Van Heerden’s retirement, Engelbrecht had big boots to fill. “The most important thing that I learnt from him as mentor was that the instrument of a vocalist is also the body and soul of that individual – to be able to see the human standing, singing before me.”

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