Reconciliation and rock & roll
The Kosovo conflict has left Mitrovica divided. Albanians live south of the river Ibar, Serbs in the north.
The Mitrovica Rock School connects Serb and Albanian teenagers through music. It brings back a music tradition that makes both sides proud. And it invests in the city’s young people.
We stand for quality education in popular music, teaching employable skills, and putting the “rock” back in “Rock City.”
We restore Mitrovica’s proud music heritage, together.
What we do
- Daily music lessons in vocals, guitar, bass guitar, keys and drums
- Mixed band program: a talent-development program where ethnically mixed bands learn songwriting, band coaching, recording, promotional and performance skills from expert local and international trainers
- Training weeks with students and teachers from both sides of Mitrovica
- Mixed workshops: a free program where teachers focus on specific material not taught during the regular skills lessons
- Sound engineering: an intensive free training program teaching live and studio sound engineering
- Traineeships: on-the-job-training for senior students and talented organizers, aimed at teaching employable skills
Jelena, singer, songwriter and guitarist
“This project encourages young people from both sides of the bridge to look past their differences and connect via music.”
The project Music Connects delivers thousands of music activities to Serb, Albanian, Macedonian, Roma and other youth. We will establish a recording studio in Mitrovica and train sound engineers in Mitrovica and Skopje, increasing cultural participation and cooperation and lowering the barrier for young bands to enter the region’s emerging music scene.
Music Connects is a partnership with Musicians Without Borders, Fontys Rockacademie, Music School Enterprise, and Roma Rock School. The project includes:
- Successful Mitrovica Rock School programs: mixed bands, mixed workshops, daily lessons, training weeks, and concerts
- The integration of minority groups into the program of Music School Enterprise, Skopje’s leading commercial rock school
- The start-up of Roma Rock School, integrating Roma youth in Macedonian society through inter-ethnic music programs
- Joint summer schools bringing mixed bands of all three schools together
- A professional studio at the Mitrovica Rock School for use by musicians and bands from both sides, and a home studio at the Roma Rock School
- Sound engineering training for selected participants at all three schools
- Training at all three schools by Fontys Rockacademie
- A documentary film by HATCHED-MV, to be submitted to film festivals in the region and the EU
Music Connects is supported by Creative Twinning, a program of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs implemented by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency; the Stability Pact Fund through the German Embassy in Pristina; the Robert Bosch Stiftung; and the Austrian Development Agency.
In 2008, the Mitrovica Rock School started as a project at the request of local musicians. The original Mitrovica Rock School project was managed by Musicians without Borders and Community Building Mitrovica, with support from Fontys Rockacademie and IKV Pax Christi.
With support from the Matra program of the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Mitrovica Rock School was able grow from a promising project to a successful organization, and in 2012 the Rock School registered as an independent NGO.
In its ten years of existence, some 1,100 youth have attended the Mitrovica Rock School. The school has produced 44 ethnically mixed bands, 19 of which wrote/write original songs.