A chance for a dream by Natallia Kunitskaya

Context of Author

My name is Natallia Kunitskaya I am a Belarusian artist from Minsk. Being a keyboard player in several Belarusian bands, I am also creating my own electro pop music as a singer, songwriter and producer under the stage name Mustelide.




The story of a young musician, who quit working in a bank and started to run her own music project, inspired by a youth exchange for musicians – this is my story!

Story in Full

My name is Natallia Kunitskaya, I come from Belarus, Minsk. I have my own story, how non-formal education can help and change somebodies life, so I'd like to share with you my experience.

I am a musician, playing in a band, and I also started recently running my solo project ‘Mustelide’, where I compose, produce, perform and record everything on my own. I really enjoy what I am doing now, it has always been my dream, but before 2013 this my life was very different. I worked in a bank and to be honest it was not my kind of activity.

In September 2012 I knew from the Internet about the youth exchange ‘Give Music a Chance’ it would take place in Lund, Sweden. The idea of this project was to assemble young musicians from different countries. They would be required to create music and songs together during 2 weeks, to record them and perform them on stage.

When I heard about this project I understood that it was exactly what I needed, so I applied, I was selected and took 2-weeks holiday from the bank where I worked. It was a real challenge for me, but I didn't want to lose this chance.

The project was not simple but it was really fascinating, I was so inspired by such a kind of youth project. I discovered ways in which people from different countries can work in a team, exchange experiences, looks and cultures.

But I'd like to mark out some especially important things I learned from this youth exchange:

The most important thing for me was to see that my life can be different. All the time the participants dealt with music, from the morning to the next morning, and I understood that it really gave me pleasure, and that's what I'd like to do, not only two-three times a week but all the time at home. So it helped me to find clearer my self-identification.

The next important learning was realization, that in this activity, which was most interesting for me – I can be successful! I was supported so much by the other participants during the project, and everybody enjoyed what I did. So it helped me to become surer of myself, to become more open.

I also got some professional skills and practice during the project, which helped me at home. For example I tried to work in a special recording style and it was not as hard as I had thought before.

One more important thing was learning to communicate with people, not only with different characters but with different culture specifics and tastes. It was not so simple because all the people in this project were ambitious, creative, and I think you know that musicians are not always so simple to communicate with. But we all learned how to work together in a team and how to respect each other and our co-operation was just fantastic.

All the participants have become good friends and haven’t stopped the cooperation, we are keeping the contact and support for each other.

No matter where we came from, what our socio-cultural background was, we all had similar hopes, wishes and dreams.

And I can say with certainty that non-formal education is very helpful and sometimes even better for some steps in your life than formal education. It helped me to find my place, to become more open and sure, to break the barriers, enhance creativity and entrepreneurship, and develop mutual understanding. After 2 years working in a bank in the human resources department I noticed that such skills like communicability, flexibility, openness, creativity and initiative, have the same relevance as professional skills. And these social and creative skills you can get with the help of non-formal education. The most interesting thing for me is that you can get them very quickly if you're ready to change because during youth projects you are often in a risk zone where you develop very fast.

But first of all I'd like to share with you my personal result after this project: When I came back home I understood that I'm ready to change me and my life, I wasn't afraid any more, the project pushed me and the people close to me at home supported me. So I left the job in the bank and started to learn how to record music at home. Now I have my solo project and the first album has been released. With just three singles released in spring – summer 2014 I received from the Belarusian and Russian press an unofficial title of ‘the first electronic princess of Belarus’. Every day I deal with music, I am playing keyboard in the band regularly, I work at my own projects and make collaborations with other musicians. I’m actually doing this! All that I dreamed of and wanted to do, I am doing it!

I also became a mentor in our ‘Youth Education Centre Fialta’, it's exciting to help the young volunteers from different countries. I have lots of pleasure from this activity and want to continue this.

Well I really feel happy.