Orchestras at school to grow in harmony

Paris, salle Gaveau, Sunday, April 3, 2022: 13 students from 3and from the college of Allassac, a small town in Corrèze, came to perform on stage with the Lamoureux orchestra, for which they provide the pre-concert. It’s a great day for Inès, Rémi, Arthur and their comrades; the tension is in full swing! Playing in front of a real audience, in a large hall, is a first.

Just like the discovery of Paris, which most people don’t know. Freshly landed, they have no time to lose and, armed with their flugelhorns, cornets, trombones, euphoniums and percussion, they take the stage for a short rehearsal.

On the daytime program, three pieces were performed under the direction of Jean-François Courtès, their conductor and music teacher: Hey Judas, the beatles, Stay with me, by Ben E. King, and Pirates of the Caribbean, by Klaus Badelt. They are then joined by a dozen musicians from the Lamoureux Orchestra, conducted by their conductor Adrien Perruchon, for a military march by Beethoven.

Their three instrument teachers from the music school are also present. Student musicians and professional artists play in a beautiful ensemble. The teenagers, concentrated and attentive, adapt to the new indications of Adrien Perruchon. They are aware of living a unique experience, which they will not soon forget.

An adapted pedagogy

They have this incredible opportunity thanks to the Orchester à l’école programme, a regional project based on a three-way partnership: a school, a structure specializing in music education and a local authority. In this case, it is the Mathilde-Marthe-Faucher college, the music school of the Pays d’Allassac and the town hall, of which two delegates made the trip to attend the event!

Today, there are more than 1,400 orchestras at the school and 40,000 student beneficiaries. The principle ? A primary or secondary school meets for three years (from CE2 to CM2 or from 5and on the 3and) around a common project: the creation of an orchestra, accompanied and financially supported by the Orchester à l’école association, which participates in particular in the purchase of instruments.

“The association favors very rural areas and deprived neighborhoods, where instrumental practice does not exist, says Marianne Blayau, general representative of the association. It also ensures that children receive appropriate teaching materials. You have to find the right measure: that it is not too easy, so that they work and are proud of what they do, and still remain reachable. †

Because every student has their place in a class orchestra, regardless of their skills and knowledge. And you don’t need to know music theory. The children are placed on an equal footing and at the same time learn to read music and instrumental technique, and are offered a repertoire that will allow them to play in orchestral formation from the beginning of the lessons, through an adapted pedagogy and innovative.

In addition to the two hours a week, there is training at home. Allassac’s young students also benefit from an hour of choir, as well as their hour of musical training, dedicated to the orchestral project.

From the warm-up to the final spinning, the students prepare for a concert in a prestigious Parisian venue.


Renowned musicians

Two weeks earlier, the class of 4and of the same college played on the national stage of Brive-la-Gaillarde. † And they are also playing in the Gers this summer, as part of Gautier Capuçon’s tour, Jean-François Courtès rejoices. Motivation goes hand in hand with performing in public. †

One of the foundations of the system is to allow children to play as often as possible with professionals: the cellist Gautier Capuçon, ambassador of the association, the Lamoureux orchestra, a loyal partner since 2015, or even the trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf n’ they don the hesitation to put their fame at the service of the project.

Many partnerships have been set up by the association. Playing with renowned musicians is a real source of pride for the students. “Practicing together in a new room, with other instrumentalists, a new conductor, teaches them to mobilize in the moment and teaches them a certain flexibility”, says Adrien Perruchon.

Among the upcoming concerts a major project: On the other side of the wall, musical comedy by Étienne and Jeanne Perruchon about exile and reception of refugees, with 4and of the college Les Maillettes in Moissy-Cramayel (Seine-et-Marne), played on the stage of the opera house Massy on 1er and July 2, 2022.

Apprentice musicians do not hesitate to help each other in learning music.


Cultural openness and self-confidence

Free and egalitarian, at the service of individual and collective development, the orchestra at school is a source of many benefits for children: cultural openness, well-being, self-confidence, creativity, integration, struggle against school failure, consideration for others, mutual aid… The relationship with parents and teachers is also beneficial.

The advantages are clear, first of all for the atmosphere in the classroom, says the French teacher, also about the trip to Paris. It creates a class cohesion that carries them, as far as they have a common goal. There is an impact in the attitude, the work, the accuracy, the discipline, which really helps them move forward. † Maelys, 14, testifies: ” It’s good. We play. We’re all together. It creates a stronger bond with others. It allows us to do something other than lessons at school all the time. »

The children played well and it was a close-knit and cheerful group that took a seat in the hall to listen to the rest of the concert. “I had faith in it. I had faith in my comrades’ says Charlotte, surprised she hasn’t had stage fright. Florian nods. Manon, who plays trumpet, confides: “It’s different from ours. The room is very big. We’ve already done small concerts, but in front of a few people, not so many people. I had stage fright just before playing; then, when it was gone, it was good. It was hard to change the pace, but I’m glad we’re here. † Lilou, very excited, is now looking forward to exploring the capital. On the programme: the Louvre, the Palais Bourbon, the Maison de la radio et de la musique… The adventure continues!

School orchestra. One hundred thousand and one stories, conducted by Pascal Mateo, Alternatives, €19.
Orchestra news at school.
Diana!, a documentary by Coline Gros (2017).

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