A BIT OF HISTORY AND METHODOLOGY
Orff-Schulwerk: literally, Didactic work of Orff. Not a method then, as it is commonly and for practical purposes referred to in Italy, but rather a didactic methodology or, even better, a pedagogic line, which took shape throughout the various decades and is still constantly evolving. "Schulwerk did not develop from any pre-considered plan - I could never have imagined such a far-reaching one - but it came from a need that I was able to recognize as such" (1). The primary necessity, which was stimulated by the revolutionary choreutic and musical experiences of the first half of the 1900's, was to overcome the separation between music and dance, which still substantially existed, even in those didactic proposals which had established the closest interrelation between the two areas of expression. Orff aimed instead at a "...reciprocal interpenetration of movement and music education"(2). Factually speaking, the Orff -Schulwerk developed gradually, beginning from precise intuitions, and through a succession of experiences which were structured into three large phases.
Phase 1- The first of these phases began in 1924 with the foundation of the Güntherschule (from the surname of Dorotèe Günther (3), Orff's first collaborator) in Munich: a school of gymnastics, music and dance that started off with a group of female students of between 18 and 22 years of age who would leave it either as dancers or as teachers. The activity, distributed in a timespan of two or three years, was eminently experimental and devoted great room to improvisation, aiming towards a training that would enable students to become both musicians and dancers at the same time. More than that: creators of their own music and choreographies. The didactic objective prevailed over the artistic one (4), however limited to the sectors of instrumental music, made with predominantly exotic instruments, and motoric expression. Orff himself admitted: "Apart from a few painful experiments, we had never allowed the singing voice and the spoken word their rightful place"(5). Over this more than ten-year long experience the bar instruments were designed and fashioned: a combination of glockenspiels, metallophones, and xylophones with removeable bars which become the tuned nucleus of the Orffian didactic instrumentation. Meanwhile, Orff was joined by Gunild Keetman (6), who will become his most faithful collaborator, especially in bringing the Schulwerk experience towards its natural recipient: the child. Already at the beginning of the 30's Orff starts thinking about "utilising the experiences gathered whilst instructing the youths at the Güntherschule to music as elemental teaching for children's musical education"(7). The project was to be be realised in Berlin, but the ethnic harrassment of Leo Kestenberg (music advisor at the Prussian Ministry of Education and the Arts and a staunch supporter of the project) who was Jewish made everyhting fall through. The Güntherschule continues its activities but Orff, absorbed by his work as a composer, is distracted from it.
First, vexed by the Nazi regime, the school was then materially detroyed during an ally bombing in January 1945.
Phase 2 - The second phase of experience and elaboration sets out in 1948 when the Bavarian Radio asked Orff to look after a cycle of fourteen broadcasts dedicated to the Schulwerk to be aired in schools with the aim of providing musical models tailored for children. Orff and Gunild Keetman prepared the radio broadcast episodes with a group of youths between 8 and 12 years of age, notably lowering the age range in comparison to the Güntherschule. The models of musical activity thus produced and broadcasted are taken up or re-elaborated in schools equipped with the essential part of the instrumentarium, which in the meantime had started being produced on an industrial scale. "Children were making music with and for other children. The model coming from the loudspeakers only had to be imitated and later further developed "(8). It was such a success that the broadcasts continued for more than five years, and were later resumed, bringing about the formation of Schulwerk scholastic music groups, and even a contest among the young listeners for the invention of a pentatonic melody with instrumental accompaniment on a given popular lyric.
It was the great rematch of word and singing, which had been heavily mortified in the Güntherschule. As if according to a sort of “counter-penalty” movement and dance were excluded, since the radio medium could not allow their use, apart from mentioning the benefit that dance would bring if combined with vocal and instrumental music. It was like a great experience complementary to the preceding one, just like a belated integration of what had been neglected at first, which also gave way to the ample and systematic introduction of the popular tradition. It was also the moment in which, following the publication of the materials produced during the radio broadcast experience, the Schulwerk ran into the equivocal definition of Method. The rhythmic texts, the children's songs, the spoken word choirs, the instrumental pieces, the ideas of rhythmic and melodic improvisation produced for the radio broadcasts cycle were in fact ordered progressively into the five main volumes of the original German edition of the Orff-Schulwerk - Music for Children. And it was quite predictable that they would be utilised not as a collection of models for own elaborations, but rather as an increasingly difficult anthology to be learned and performed. Already in the past, at the time of the first publications originating from the Güntherschule experience, Orff had noticed and criticised such a tendency. “Unfortunately the Rhythmic-Melodic Exercises, the aim of which was only to offer raw material, were often misunderstood and used as textbooks from which one would take one piece after the other to be studied and performed. This completely fails to appreciate the sense of the publication, which rather intends and asks not for the reproduction from the score, but for the free making of music, to which the written text should only serve as an inspiration and stimulus.” (9) To some extent, this is the inevitable risk run by any model, even the most experimental one, consigned to the written page. However, going back to the time of the failed Berlin project, it is possible to trace an attempt to contrast this regressive risk. In fact, to the twenty booklets of solely instrumental exercises published until then, (10) a Music for Children booklet as well as a Music by children booklet (the underlining is editorial) were supposed to follow. The by in place of the for underlines a much more advanced pedagogical intention, which disappears, though, from the editorial testimony of the radio broadcast experience.
Phase 3 - Two so large and complementary phases of experience and experimentation could only be combined and integrated in a new phase of pedagogical elaboration. This great syntheisis was launched at the end of the 40s following the request of Eberhard Preussner - at that time director of the Salzburg Mozarteum and a friend and supporter of Orff since the Berlin project - to commit Gunild Keetman to carry out courses for children, at first between 8 and 10 years of age. An ante litteram model of what the Preparatory Music courses in a few Italian conservatories would be like from the 1970s on. Gunild Keetman's activity started in 1949 and, evolving over the next decade, it paved the way for the establishment, at the beginning of the 60s, of the Orff-Institut, today the Carl Orff Institute for Elemental Music and Dance Pedagogy at the Mozarteum. It is the decisive step towards a unitary experimentation of the variety of experiences carried out until that moment. "For the first time Schulwerk could be taught in its fullness as we had always visualised it". (11) The age of the addressees is lowered to pre-school age and the attention is focused, more than on materials, on techniques and teaching itineraries, and on their more and more accurate differentiation according to the basis of the diverse necessities of the developmentale age. Thanks to collaborators of undisputed validity and to its new discoveries and researches carried out internationally in the fields of psychopedagogy and music pedagogy, the Schulwerk is enriched with new proposals and experiences. Further enrichment is contributed by the Schulwerk's international diffusion, starting from the publication of the German edition and the foundation of the Institute, as well as the decisive contribution, in both practical and "imaginary" didactic terms, of the bar instruments. This doesn't exclude that - even today - more "traditionalistic", at times certainly restrictive, interpretations of it subsist which focus more on the performance than on creation. In some way, this is the price payed by a didactic practice which is not rigidly tied to itinieraries and rules (as a "method" would be), but instead leaves space for personal inventiveness and for keeping pedagogy up to date. Orff writes: "It is an experience of long-standing that wild flowers always prosper, where carefully planned, cultivated plants often produce disappointing results" (12). In such a vision, although remaining in full compliance with a few inalienable foundations of the Orffian pedagogic line (which will be widely discussed later), it is possible to distinguish in today's Schulwerk "... not only the didactic work of Carl Orff and Gunild Keetman, but a little of those who are able to make use of it in a pedagogically correct and personally creative way "(13).
This openness, the fact of referring to experiences tied to other didactic proposals and of entailing some of their procedures (originally the ones of Jacques-Dalcroze and Kodály), also gave way to a few accusations of "illicit appropriation": almost as if the Schulwerk tended to fagocitate other pedagogic experiences, or plagiarize the work of others. But it is not so. More objectively, " Every phase of Schulwerk will always provide stimulation for new independent growth; therefore it is never conclusive and settled, but always developing, always growing, always flowing" (14). The fact of being open in an exchangeable way to the world of experiences and to assume them and re-elaborate them according to its own vision, is already in the premises of the Schulwerk. Which, while confirming its "non method" character, is also a further explanation of its great popularity and diffusion. But then, nothing in the active didactic and creative fields appears less productive than the reciprocal closure of "methods", each of which considers itself the key holder to a correct pedagogy.
The Italian re-elaboration – It is in this constantly evolving flux that, at the end of the 70s, the Italian edition of the Orff-Schulwerk, re-edited by Giovanni Piazza, is to be inserted. Not a "translation" of the original (as it is often erroneously said) but rather a re-elaboration, calibrated on the requirements of the Italian didactic situation of the time. It is Orff himself who, from a few years already, wants the international editions of the Schulwerk not to be "photocopies", pure and simple rhythmic transpositions of the original texts, but rather adaptations suitable to the didactic necessities of each of the different countries, including the use of local folklore materials. The Czech and Spanish editions are already following this line. Musical education in Italy, introduced into secondary school in 1962 on a one hour per week basis, is prevalently bound to Conservatory models. In 1969 SIEM (Società Italiana per l'Educazione Musicale - Italian Society for Musical Education), founded that same year on initiative of Carlo Delfrati, began to seriously work on the promotion and renovation of Italian music didactics, also introducing a first Orffian experience during the Fermo Music Camp in 1970 (15). In that period the Schulwerk experiences are still very rare, the related ideas not quite clear, and it is only in 1979 that, in a significant yet unexpected conjunction with the publication of the first volume of the Italian Schulwerk, SIMEOS (Società Italiana di Musica Elementare Orff-Schulwerk - Italian Society of Orff-Schulwerk Elemental Music) was founded in Verona.
In this general context the Italian choice, in full agreement with Orff, is not pointed at realizing an anthology of music for children suited for a not so well-known nor widespread instrumentarium, but rather at introducing a methodological blueprint which takes into account its origins, its prerequisites, its possible pathways. A presentation which aims at indicating "how" to structure a lesson or a didactic project, rather than directly supplying materials for use that would still be quite unclear how to employ. Hence, to supply what is missing - in the Schulwerk perspective of course - to the training and experience of the musical tutor of the time, with the aim of contributing at the growth of a creative teacher figure who is able to autonomously develop a project line, a teacher finding inside himself his own method. Therefore, it is a true ad hoc re-elaboration of the Schulwerk matter instead of an anthological translation of the German originals. From that moment onwards - upon request of Associations, Local Authorities and Italian and Foreign Institutions - either on his own or together with other teachers of motoric, choreutic, and vocal activities Giovanni Piazza begins and expands a workshops’ activity, around which teachers who identify themselves with the Orffian pedagogical line gather and train. After about a decade, in collaboration with two Roman Schools of Music (Insieme per Fare and Scuola Popolare di Musica Donna Olimpia), the "Methodology and Practice of the Orff-Schulwerk" course is activated; a course which rapidly acquires a national dimension; a course which a few years later, in collaboration with the Scuola Popolare di Musica Donna Olimpia, becomes the "Orff-Schulwerk Project", where some of the best teachers who trained with Giovanni Piazza are working. The always positive answer that the project has creates the need for a “representative” place, a place for interchange and information as well as for promotion and diffusion. This need determines the birth of the "OSI – Orff-Schulwerk Italiano" Association in May 2001. The growing diffusion of the external workshops’ activity by the "Project" teachers develops ever stronger relations with other national music Associations. That is why in 2005 the OSI organisational Forum is born, a forum which other Organisations interested in collaborating adhere to: through it decentralised workshop activities are put into practice. At the present state of things, OSI aims to obtain more and more qualified acknowledgements with the intent of a possible integration of an Orff-Schulwerk specialisation in the institutional sphere.
A methodological outline - A conceptual and methodological framework of what we consider the Orff-Schulwerk today can be summed up as follows:
a) approaching music by making music and not by learning first the notes, which are none other than the graphic recording of our sound inventions, and as such are to be considered a consequence of those and not a premise; the first learning of music, including the introduction to the reading and the writing of notation, always originates from an explorative and experimental approach, and not from abstract and theoretical preconditions;
b) music - especially in the early learning phase - is not detachable from other expressive activites (language, gesture, image, dance); these activities interlace, assemble, compare themselves and borrow ideas from one another, finding the maximum cohesion in the imaginary and creative approach, using everything pertaining to their communication potential as a material: bodily, verbal, vocal and instrumental sounds, language and singing, gesture, step, movement, mimicry; everything flows into performance models (dramatisation, pantomime, choreography, music theatre), which represent the natural consequence of the Orffian pedagogy, and which should be intended not as a reproduction of preordained events but as an organised representation of one's own artistic experience, individual and collective, as well as evidence of the contextually acquired competences;
c) the practice of elemental improvisation and composition, the elaboration in first person of sound forms and structures progressively fitting the different stages of psychomotoric evolution - which are carried out through tested methodological techniques supported by an ad hoc designed instrumentarium (the Orff Instrumentarium which can be perfectly integrated with art and other instruments as strings, guitars, wind instruments, electronic keyboards, electric bass, etc.) - give back to the child his role of actual protagonist, the subject and not the object of the educational process.
d) the musical activity is collective and, beyond translating the musical experience into learning, it aims at contributing to the comprehensive development of the person, to his or her integration into society, to the intellectual and creative development and to the training and refinement of his or her psycho-motoric faculties - in such a perspective it becomes a medium as well as a goal;
e) from every musical experience descend the adequate phases of aesthetic, formal and historical reflection, the first technical-executive acquisitions and the necessary theoretical-rational deductions, always in respect of the evolutionary moment of the students we are working with; this leads to a very well interiorised knowledge – as because personally experienced - not only of all the kinds of possible music, but also of the musical phenomenon itself.
Wanting to express the same subjects in a more axiomatic manner, we can indicate the premises of the Orffian pedagogy through the following "opposing" propositions:
- the pragmatism of the musical experience (in opposition to the still existing usual didactic abstractions);
- its close fusion with the expressive means of voice and body (in opposition to the too-rigid division into genres specificities);
- the push towards a personal creative elaboration, through elemental improvisation and composition (instead of the mere reproduction of given music);
- the elemental (or prototypical) nature of the musical models and therefore the wide use of popular and multiethnic materials, of borduns, ostinatos, pentaphonies and modalities (in opposition to the use of cultured music pieces either simplified for children or with a too-schematic and absolute harmonic tonal character) ;
- the path from musical experience to musical knowledge, and not vice versa; thus, the use of diverse pieces of music, including the everyday ones: rock, popular, etc. (rather than constricting musical learning in the areas and rules of "cultured" music);
- the main use of accessible instruments, with a direct production of sound, that are suitable to an immediate and engaging relationship with the body (instead of instruments more technologically advanced, or with a mediated and complex production of sound);
- the natural outlet of all of this into collective practice and forms of scenic musical dramatisation (rather than solitary exercise and solo performance).
As one can deduce from all of this, the Schulwerk pedagogic line in realised firstly in a "didactics of the customizable processes" which implies achievements, and not in a "didactics of achievements" to be reached through pre-structured processes. Since if the achievement predominated, the process would be a forced one; whilst our interest lays in the quality and richness of the processes without necessarily involving identical achievements for everyone. Achievements which - especially in the music field - woud be quite difficult to reach. Surely a certain quantity of basic and common achievements should be pursued, still leaving space for those who show a greater predisposition and yet always finding room for those who show less, including the participation of disabled students. We could say that ours is a "didactics of common processes" aiming at "diversified achievements" instead of a "didactics of common achievements" reached through "imposed processes".
PLURI- AND INTERDISCIPLINARITY: BODY, WORD, INSTRUMENT
Orff-Schulwerk can be defined as "naturally interdisciplinary": in the sense that a pedagogic line that shifts from the objective of reaching towards a "...reciprocal interpenetration of movement and music education" (16) already holds the principle of interdisciplinarity in itself. Of course, as we have already seen in the historical introduction paragraph, this did not and could not have happened all in the same stage. Rather, the very word "interdisciplinarity" was certainly not yet in use at the time of the Güntherschule in Munich. It is a fact that step by step, and especially thanks to not being boxed in the reassuring boundaries of a "method" and instead having left room for constantly evolving contributions, the Schulwerk can affirm - today more than ever – the methodological principle of not only being simply giving room to different forms of interdisciplinarity but to be experiencing interdisciplinarity as an intrinsic and central feature of its pedagogic processes. So much that, as we will widely discuss later, it is precisely in the “integrated performance”, a place of natural interdisciplinarity, that the Schulwerk finds its most characteristic didactic outcome.
Thus, everything that music can encounter or have connections with will contribute to the development of the Schulwerk musical experience.
Body - First and foremost, it is used in its function of primary rhythmic "instrument" because of its already strong ties to the experiential itineraries of the child. Nowadays, the extremely limited and circumscribed repertoire of the first sound-gestures evolves through the ever-richer practice of body-percussion - meaning all of the different forms of corporeal percussion which, gathered into creative sequences, will translate into actual sound-gestural choreographies. A powerful medium to shape and conosolidate - in addition to the mere ability of rhythmic and therefore instrumental performance - mastery and coordination in the use of the body, and with these all of the deriving forms of psychological self-confidence. The expressive motoric function is paired with the instrumental one: the body says, the body outlines, the body represents, the body interprets, the body mimes, the body multiplies itself together with other bodies. From free expressive movement to structured forms, the body can make use of the whole unlimited area represented by motoric languages.
Voice – It is used in every possible way starting from its phonemic and inarticulate expressions, both the more unrefined and primordial ones as well as the more sophisticatedly modulated ones, up to nonsense, word, verbal rhythmic articulation, language, singing, choir. As a first medium of exploration, experimentation, and relationship with the world, voice is in the child's experience an even more skilled and technically consolidated instrument than gesture, and covers at the beginning some diversified roles. The first one is that of supporting the rhythmical experience: the nursery rhyme, the rhythmically articulated counting rhyme already autonomously embodies a first rhythmic experience. It then goes on to support the rhythmic gesture, the rhythmic instrumental rendition, thanks to the strong psychomotoric bond between gesture and word. Synchronising the rhythmic enunciation of words with the either gestural or instrumental rendition of that same rhythm means giving it that confidence, either individual or collective, which the sole instrumental performance would struggle to reach. In a further phase the verbal rhythmic articulation is instead placed in a contrasting position to the instrumental rendition (perfoming one nursery rhyme with the voice and another one with the sound gesture or the instrument), so as to bring the rhythmic, physical and mental coordination ability to a much higher level: two complementary rhythms performed by the same individual. Think about how much this already predisposes towards the independent use of hands in the study of any given instrument, or towards the interdependence of the motoric functions in the study of the drum set.
Instrument - As we will also see in the paragraph devoted to the ensemble, the musical equipment of the Schulwerk is no more restricted to that which was used since the days of the Münich Güntherschule: the bar and rhythmic instruments then joined by self-made instruments. Today the ideal ensemble is composed, as well as of the tuned group of the bar instruments (playing the role of an instrumental block of easy use), also of all other available instruments: art as well as electronic instruments, not excluding digital instruments that can be functional for a specific research or project.
Visual area - Apart from the eye-hand-sound-ear circuit, which we will approach in the paragraph on the reversal of the didactic approach, this area includes all forms of notation: from the intuitive ones (listening to a sound and drawing it), to the making of more or less abstract or descriptive graphic scores, up to conventional notation. We must add to this the whole area of visual and plastic arts: drawing, the manipulation of materials and their interpretation into sounds or music, photographic and video sequences to be commented with music, as well as the whole area that has to do with set design and costume which is closely connected with the realisation of scenic-musical performances.
NATURE AND FUNCTION OF THE FIRST IMPROVISATION IN THE SCHULWERK DIDACTIC FIELD
Improvisation is a part of the human creative practices. In its most common conception, improvisation presupposes the in-depth knowledge of a specific expressive language. It is a "professional" practice, which requires a mastery of the technique through which the improvistaion is made, whether it be of the verbal, motoric or musical area. The improvising dancer needs complete control of the body and of his or her gestural techniques. The popular poet who improvises in ottava rima (a procedure which is still common in some regions of central Italy), as well as an outstanding intuition for the combination of verses, also posesses his or her own's consolidated linguistic and synctactic repertoire, inside which he or she reutilises own formulas, that contribute to a personal characterisation of style. It’s a little like the jazz player, adding up to an extremely deep knowledge of the connected harmonic language the use of a personal "database" of patterns, formulas, and riffs he utilizes on the spot to develop his improvisational route. In Indian music, the tabla or flute players train on an extremely detailed rhythmic-melodic language, which provides the base for extremely refined improvisations. Likewise, a European "classical area” improviser could not improvise a fugue at the piano or organ on a theme given by the public at the end of the concert - as it still rarely happens - without an extremely in-depth knowledge of the tonal harmonic language as well as of the contrapuntal techniques and structural variants.
It is sometimes said that we know only a small part of the works of the greatest composers of a historical past "certified" by written production (Frescobaldi, Mozart, Hadyn, Beethoven), if compared to all that they produced through improvisation in their everyday routine. Apart from the specific and subjective talents as "instant creator" that were indispensable for those performing such a practice, improvisation thus means extemporaneously and creatively using a language and a technique one has full control of. Even the contemporary "free" improvisation, born in the 50s as a means to radically break free from historical languages and formal and structural models, could not exist without an "anti-linguistic" technique and conception which in time provided itself with subjective and collective formulas and precepts.
In our didactic conception, the approach is radically reversed. The first form of improvisation materializes in an absolutely unaware exploration. It could not be otherwise, considering the child's total "innocence" regarding to linguistic and formal elements, that he only posesses intuitive traces and “unconscious” expertise of. The area in which he ventures - whether it be the body, voice or instrument - is unknown to him and improvisation becomes the means for the discovery of his own and the chosen instrument's expressive potential. It is here that academic musical didactics again and always incurs in the misinterpretation that you must "learn music first" to then "make it". That is to say learning the notes as to be able to play. In our case, instead, the relationship with the instrument reverses. It is not the child telling the instrument "what to do" according to previously acquired theoretical knowledge, but it is rather the instrument "teaching the child" by revealing its potentiality, according to the way it is molded or touched. Obviously, this improvisational approach cannot happen in a purely arbitrary form. Of course, even in didactics a form of completely free improvisation can have its place, which is that of pure outburst, of the necessity to discharge tension, of the need of regaining attention: the moment for "racket". The explorative approach must thus be ruled precisely for it to lead to fruitful and significant discoveries. It is essential that three conditions are respected to produce this effect:
1. Working over a limited area - After an initial, liberating sense of total freedom, having at one's disposal the whole and indiscriminate range of vocal, gestural or instrumental possibilities for an improvisation ends up producing uncertainty and insecurity - it does not provide structural handholds, instruments for characterisation. Thus the field where the exploration is to be carried out must be circumscribed (delimitation of area): a certain range of verbal, vocal, motor and instrumental materials. For example, a reduced group of rhythmic instruments or the keyboard of a bar instrument that is given a specific layout (bars laid out haphazardly or in a disorderly sequence etc.). A layout which is also an essential part of a "delimitation" of the field to work in (delimitation of form), along with the type of rhythmic, melodic and gestural materials.
2. Working according to one or more rules - For example, combining a prefixed number of motoric segments, chosen from an ample repertoire, with the goal of constructing one's own choreographic sequence. Or combining a sequence of words that all contain the same consonant. Or peforming an ostinato instrumental accompaniment bound to a specific form of percussive gesture.
3. Using a margin of subjective discretion - The motoric segments are chosen at one's own taste. The words are to be found or invented without restriction other than the predetermined consonant. The notes of the ostinato are at the discretion of the individual player.
As the improvisational exploration proceeds, the initial innocence is replaced by a progressive awareness, for the aim of exploration is always knowledge. Elements of musical and motoric knowledge are acquired and rationalised, one approaches notation, reading, performance, and perceptive recognition abilities. So it happens that even in the didactic field, although elementally, forms of aware improvisation are achieved, reproducing (in a very simplified manner) the relationship with extemporaneous creation which pertains to the professional practice.
Carl Orff writes: "...elemental music, elemental Instrumentarium, elemental speech and movement forms. What is elemental? The word in its Latin form elementarius means: pertaining to the elements, primeval, rudimentary, treating of first principles. What then is elemental music? Elemental music is never music alone but forms a unity with movement, dance and speech. It is a music that one makes oneself, in which one takes part not as a listener but as a participant. It is unsophisticated, employs no big forms and no big architectural structures, and it uses small sequence forms, ostinato and rondo. Elemental music is near the earth, natural, physical, within the range of everyone to learn it and to experience it, and suitable for the child" (17).
Thus the Schulwerk concept of "elemental" composition does not mean "easy" or "facilitated" (Latin: facilis) according to the meaning this term acquired later. It does not mean the simplification, for child use, of something musically too complex for one's inexperience: for example, the transcription of a classical piece in a form accessible to a budding player. We mean it instead as a compositional form which is accessible in itself, as it is born from the handling of primary elements, that is to say conceivable, understandable and feasible for a child. It is indispensable to obtain from Orff's synoptic statement a more articulate picture of the "elemental" conception, as it has kept enriching and transforming itself in light of the constant evolution and modernisation of psycho-pedagogical research. In effect, the Orffian idea which aims at recovering a primordially lost "elemental quality" already includes - if interpreted with a progressively updated outlook - the basic prerequisites still applicable to a correct music pedagogy. Today elemental quality does not mean for us primordial quality (or, even worse, primitivism), but rather a primary, prototipical quality of the elements used for the creation of elemental music, which might also not belong to any kind of cultural tradition. A primary element - whether it be rhythmic (verbal, instrumental or motoric) or melodic (vocal or instrumental) - is an element endowed with an indispensable minimum quantity of "sense". Let's take rhythm, for instance. An isolated rhythmic impulse does not make sense on its own : it is a sound dot lost in space. But two dots, a succession of two rhythmic values forms a relationship (defined by the time lapse between them) and thus produces sense: indeed, rhythmic sense. The same happens with an isolated note, if compared to two notes, whether they be in succession or overlapping (harmonic sense). These combinations, these primary cells are thus the elements with which we construct our music. They are our building blocks, to combine or overlap in the successions we prefer. It is the musical game of construction. It is the musical game of Lego. Nothing could be more appropriate for children, who are great builders and architects. A game which is not born from theoretical-manualistic abstractions but from the use of entities which are concrete and manipulable: papers, cardboard, magnetic tablets, dice, cubes, that highlight the kind of elements which we use as we go on with our compositions. A concept which is quite far from the rhetoric and "romantic" one which sees composition as "inspiration", imagining the Great Author, a sheet of paper and a feather in hand, his face slightly looking up, suddenly reached by the luminous ray already containing the masterpiece. Also because not even in that field does that concept correspond to reality, which always presupposes a great elaborative effort.
Through the principle of structuring by cells, the elementary compositional procedure carries in itself a clear form of global approach (here is another of the pedagogic innovations included in the Schulwerk premises), just as in the study of language and writing, after the letters of the alphabet and then the phonemes, we come to the point where we start from the word as a whole: from that "hieroglyphic" that to the child represents the "house", the "cat" and so on. The cells are the rhythmic, melodic and gestural words with which we build our musical and motoric discourses. For elementary composition, too, the three conditions presented for improvisation are in force: respecting these always guarantees a balanced combination of active motivation and characterisation of the musical result. Here is an example in the metric binary field:
1. Limited area - A predetermined number of basic binary rhythmic cells.
2. Rules - Arrange four of these in sequence, taking care that the last one has a conclusive rhythmic sense.
3. Discretionary margin - Subjective choice of the kind of cells and of their disposition.
Thus configured, elementary rhythmic composition will always supply formally guaranteed results, which would be unthinkable of if the approach were to begin from a theoretical and conventional knowledge of the mere rhythmic values.
We could list the fundamental compositional behaviours involved in this particular procedure as: reiteration (the ostinato), juxtaposition, alternation, exchange, combination, permutation. These are all procedures which belong to the compositional processes of every epoch. The progressive acquisition of competences will also bring to the variation of a given element, which is the most evolved procedure. The fundamental procedure is, however, that of reiteration (the ostinato) which is often criticised as an excessively primitive form of structuring. Undoubtedly. It must also be said, though, that reiteration is the first form of intuitive structuring, and that it ennobles itself as stimulus and support for improvisation, and that it is not at all unknown to many current forms of music in use. The obstinate - and at times intentionally obsessive - rhythmic, melodic and harmonic repetition is on the agenda of rock and popular in general, just as reiteration is the foundation of minimalist music (Philip Glass, Steve Reich) or of other sohphisticated models practised in contemporary composition. In general the cellular use of the element, the module, the riff belongs to all common music genres, historically starting from jazz, the harmonic progressions of which are nothing else - in the end - than a great ostinato that serves as a base for the single improvisations.
Ultimately, elemental composition is in fact a form of composition based on module and combination which, save for the major or minor linguistic and stylistic quality deriving from the type and quality of the material used and from the capability and quality of the elaboration that can be obtained, guarantees an accessible practice for the child, without being in any way outdated or inappropriate from a conceptual point of view when compared to historical or current musical languages.
REVERSAL OF APPOACH: GUARANTEED FIELDS AND "NO ERROR"
"Reversing the approach" in music is in truth another way to name the beginning of a relationship with music starting from experience rather than theoretical abstraction. Our pedagogic line is filled with such reversals. It must be clearly intended though, that starting from experience does not mean randomly diving in the world of sounds and keep roaming around it without any awareness, but instead it implies the recourse to well-defined methodological guidelines that can channel this decidedly empiric and intuitive approach, and its progressive evolution towards the acquisition of abilities and competences lead to a level of awareness and rationality.
Ciro Paduano has clearly summarised the basic forms of such reversals in the following table:
-From an idea of Doug Goodkin, elaboration and extension by Ciro Paduano-
Starting from a "reversed approach" - meaning from experience and thus from "exploration" - also signifies beginning a relationship with mediums of which qualities and potential are still unknown to us. This makes it necessary, for experience to be a true vehicle for learning, to recourse to procedures which guarantee in all areas of intervention, and thus with different specific characteristics, the fruitfulness of exploration through observation and production. Here as follows are some examples which refer to a few areas of essentially musical experience which, because of their relationship with a historically decoded language, present particular requirements and difficulties. If, in fact, the unformalised sonic "game" (establishing perceptive or creative relationships with the sounds of objects, of the body, of self-made instruments of the surrounding world) seems all in all quite accessible, it is the moment of confronting "the notes" and their conventional writing that can find us unguarded and make us resort to (God help us!) spoken solfeggio: "of the good old times" - we wish we could say - but, alas, still “sadly surviving”.
"Reinvention" of the bar instruments - It is the first of the typical "reversals" of approach of our itinerary that consents a form of true exploration into an area so clearly mapped out under the linguistic-structural profile. Presenting children with the instrument in its regular disposition - with the bars on scale - means confronting them with a structured system which they know neither theoretically nor technically and from which, thus, they can only obtain inadequate sonic experiences: in the sense that they themselves will perceive that these sonic experiences do not respond to full form and potential of the scale.
Orff had already considered the problem, foreseeing that - thanks to the possbility of removing the single bars from the body of the resonator - the player could also have only the bars necessary for the current musical realisation at his disposal. However, such a procedure, rather than a true "exploration" of the instruments, represents a progressive "revelation" of its linguistic and structural properties: in an only partial availability of notes, which are from time to time modified or progressively augmented, the reality of the scale as a whole is - immanently - concealed.
So our approach is to start from a completely disassembled instrument, to treat like a "construction box" whose pieces are to be reassembled to one's liking in forms of motoric-sense play, or symbolic play through the construction - which comes so spontaneously to the slightly older students - of known shapes: houses, helicopters, turrets, broken bridges, etc. . Shapes to play, anyway (we are handling musical instruments after all!) to discover what they offer in terms of timbre, but most of all to "play" with the phenomenon of sound and of its thousands of sensory manifestations. Forms to play, not starting from impossible theoretical or technical music but from gestural behaviours, rhythmic and not, and which we will intuitively transmit to the instrument via the mallets. Gestures motivated by visual premises, rather than musical ones. I will not be trying to play notes, but I will play the shape I myself constructed, and that I have before me, initially choosing its most evident and attractive points, the emerging points. The percussive gesture, attracted or repulsed by the sounds that I go on to discover, repeats some itineraries , it becomes a sound which is more or less organised, reiterating a behavioural circuit I see - I hit - I evaluate - change or repeat, or otherwise expressed eye - hand/hammer - sound - perception - aesthetic sense. And, because it is born from a behaviour rather than from a specific regulation, the action becomes game, and the game becomes music. As if to say: game as the substance of music and not as a "gimmick" to approach the child to an arduous musical subject. The shapes to invent evolve as we progress: bars disposed in random order on the resonator, played in succession to confront - in a reversed manner - the principle of the scale; bars arranged from left to right so as to visualize the octave (C-c, D-d, etc.) or the triad (C-G-e, D-A-f, etc.), setting coordinated performance itineraries of these reinvented instrument "shapes" into an action that will produce variably organised sonic structures. This is our music. Here we have actually entered the structural models of the system that supply us with a knowledge and a competence immediately more advanced than could ever happen through the cold approach of written paper.
Rhythmic composition - Let's imagine that we wish to proceed towards forms of rhythmic composition after having learned from paper, perhaps with a bit of solfeggio, the more common values of our musical system: let's say half-note, quarter-note and eighy-note. Let's help ourselves with the traditional use of syllables of the Kodalic mould - Ta- a, ta and ti - and let's proceed to the construction of a rhythmic sequence - improvised or written - alternating and coordinating the values we know to our liking. Obviously, our sense of the "rhthmic phrase" is not developed enough for us to reach formally resolved results. "Ta-a ta ta ta ti-ti ti-ti ta ta Ta-a...": we would easily get lost.
Let's begin now instead from the "elemental" principle: our rhythmic experience is clasped to the verbal articulation of nursery rhymes suitable to the objective. The most renowned one: An dan / tike tan / se me / compa rè / ale lake / pume te / BIS! (18), which I myself found and used for the first time in the Italian re-elaboration of the Orff-Schulwerk (1979) and then taken up by other authors in many didactic texts, is very functional to our aim (so that I have been costantly using it again and again since then) because it is completely constructed by purely verbal sounds devoid of common significance.
Each segment of this count constitues a characteristic rhythmic cell. Some are rhythmically identical (An dan and se me, tike tan pume te and compa rè) and sowe can reduce our material to the most incisive ones: An dan, tike tan ale lake and Bis! obtaining four of the five basic binary elemental cells. To these we will add the fifth cell, tan tike, obtained by reversing tike tan. Each of these cells is to be intended and used as absolutely inseparable beacuse it offers the great advantage of containing already in itself the binary metric principle, and with this, an already predisposed and in some way "guaranteed" control of the rhythmic pace. Now let's compose four-cell rhythms abiding to the three conditions explained in the chapters on elementary composition and improvisation: from the ensemble of the five cells (limited area in quantity and "binary" form), choose four of them and place them into a succession of our liking (discretionary margin), taking care that the last of the succession be Bis! or tike tan because of their conclusive sense (one or more rules). The rhythms are composed with words, which give an absolutes sureness of the andamento because, on top of being already "metricised", they are a part, in the child, of a much more consolidated experience than that of a purely gestural or instrumental performance.
Proceeding in such a way, the appropriateness of the result is guaranteed by the procedure itself. Combining four differentiated yet homogeneous cells can only lead to a formally correct and sufficiently articulated rhythm, whatever the chosen combination. By arranging four of these rhythms into a succession, we will have a rhythm of sixteen binary beats exemplary in its phraseologic progress, of great verbal richness (and therefore very suitable for the rhythmic-verbal game), which we will have composed "without knowing it". Probably even a beginner music student would have trouble composing such balanced rhythmic sequences. For us, it is the act in itself of composing, tied to the simple three rules, and thus framed by the "guaranteed itinerary" that teaches us how to do it. It is the act in itself of constructing and of composition, which instills the sense of the regular phrase. It is, again, the reversal of the approach which consents us to immediately enter into the act of invention and of musical production, supplying competence and ability as a consequence of our doing.
Pentaphonies - The subject becomes quite interesting as we enter the field of tuned music, in the areas of melody and harmony, which is the true critical area for a "reversed" musical approach. How can we prescind from a prior learning of the notes if we wish to develop a melodic improvisation, or construct an accompaniment to singing? Here, the role of guarantor is due to the system of pentaphonies, that is, to those defective modal scales rather than to our modal or tonal scales, whose primary model is the Chinese pentatonic scale.
A mini-system of scales, which also includes a Lydian and a Dorian pentaphony of which I won't go on too long about here, each of which has the property of tolerating the overlapping of all the five notes of which it is composed. In other words, it consents a "practiseable" harmony, whatever the quantity and the vertical disposition of the notes used. It means, in other terms, that we can use such scales while playing in a group with a wide individual liberty in choosing the notes without running the risk of jeopardising the harmonic ensemble. Once again, the three preventive rules that guarantee a structured result are in force. For example: once the bar instruments are set up on a Chinese pentatonic scale (limited area) each player freely chooses three notes (discretionary margin) and repeats them in ostinato, always in the same succession, in isochronic ternary tempo (one or more rules). Thus I will obtain a static accompaniment - very rough for now, but working - instant and "choral", that could be of use for a song or a melodic improvisation carried out in turn. Here too, with the guarantee that whatever melody "comes out of the hatches" it will always be compatible with the harmonic base. The passage, upon agreed signal, of each player to three other notes will instantly and unpredictably modify the harmonic reverse whilst maintaining its appropriateness, and it will be a source of powerful and immediate sonic variety.
Such a procedure practically prevents anyone from making any "errors". Meaning the making of "objective" errors (I was supposd to play a C and I played a D): this generates confidence, self-esteem, spontaneity and flexibility of action. And it keeps producing experience as well as technique (exploring, exploring my hands will become more and more expert in handling the mallets), with which I will be able to base my ever more conscious musical choices, and correct any eventual subjective "errors" (I wanted to play that bar and I "fell" onto another which gives me an effect which I like slightly less). Once again it is the instrument, inserted into a "protected" itinerary, who teaches me "how to do it", and what the primary functions of the music are.
In the case of the pentaphonies, there is also more. Let's imagine we are already endowed with some experience and that we wish rachieve our collective accompaniment by overlapping proper melodic obstinates, for example, of two beats in binary tempo: meaning that each player will invent a short melody of four bits that he plays repeatedly and identically. Each ostinato is obviously endowed with its own rhythmic articulation homogenous to the whole, yet individually differentiated. By the overlapping of all the ostinatos we obtain a harmonic flux - pentatonic, Lydian or Dorian - with a very varied internal articulation of rhythm and counterpoint. This means that we are uniting into a single process the two basic forms of musical thought: horizontal thought and vertical thought. None other - even if at an elementary level - than the historical experience of the birth of harmony from the evolution of counterpoint. An almost subliminal acquisition - it too, in the form of "reversed approach", which opens and disposes our musical mind to growth well more than the pure and simple harmonic-chordal procedure of common use, and predominant in our culture, could ever do.
PERFORMANCE, ENSEMBLE, FOLKLORE
Performance, ensemble and folklore are three closely related subjects which concern the function of performance in the Orffian didactics, the model of instrumental ensemble which sustains it and the kind of material which constitutes its musical content. I will discuss them in such order:
Performance - Not all teachers recognise the educational value of performance. One of the contradictory themes usually sees elements of comepetitiveness and antagonistic confrontation intended as negative aspects that obstruct a balanced socialisation that lead to pronounced forms of dissent between individuals, and creating tensions and explicit forms underestimation of the self. That is, a system of emotions that contrast with the objective of a behaviour of harmonic exchange between the class-group members. If it is undoubtable that this can happen, it is at the same time certain that these same unsettling tendencies, also pushed to provocation, are quite common inside the scholastic group, whatever the conducted activity, especially in the presence of a teacher who himself has some difficulty establishing in first person a strong and convincing relationship with his pupils and in presiding over them, by pushing them to reciprocally harmonise the complexity of relationships that develops between them. The solution is certainly not in trying to level - so to speak - the personal situations so that the "best one" could accept being occasionally mortified ("you be quiet as you already know the answer") and that the least proficient be overvalued or protected. The solution would be (I'd like to emphasize the "would be", for we know that "between said and done..." with all that can follow) not to harmonise behaviours on the level of impossible "equality" but rather to reconcile them inside a sphere of "differences" inside which both "the best" and the "least good" can find a satisfactory placement, exempt of mortifications.
This is undoubtedly quite a difficult task, especially in the field of teachings which are bound to reaching some common objectives, such as linguistic, scientific and historic-anthropological ones. But, if set up in a non academic manner (at the end of such and such a cycle we must be able to read and perform rhythms in ... read and intone a melody in the field of ... etc.), musical activity - thank goodness - is the one that more than any other consents an integration of very different competences. This can happen if instead of "didactics for objectives" a "didactics of itineraries" is practised correctly. Meaning, instead of aiming to the "what" (the acquisition of those specific competences, common to everyone) we privilege the "how" (the ways in which we reach competences differentiated between individuals). But, to be clear: itinerary doesn’t excludes the objective.
If we wanted to enclose the details of the necessary equilibrium between objective and itinerary into a synthetic methodological device, we could say that a didactic itinerary should have:
1. Abundant general educational obectives
2. Restricted, well-aimed and within-reach common technical objectives
3. Richness of itineraries
Starting from such a plan, the performance is the natural gathering place of what is carried out and elaborated during the activity. First of all because it is a strongly interdisciplinary place, which includes motor activity and dance, every possible type of musiacal intervention, set design and costume design. But most of all because it consents the bringing together in a same united and collective task both the self-assurance of who is able to perform in solo, and the hesitation of whom - so to speak - doesn't feel like going beyond a stroke on the triangle. But also - and this is worth even more - the surpassed indecision of who never thought he could perform in an autonomous part. In the "cosmos" of the performance there is a place for everyone and everything, including - very importantly - the disabled student.
A quantity of general educational advantages are connected to this ensemble of properties: learning to coordinate but also distinguish oneself in the group; overcoming the posible fear of the performance; finding oneself able to contribute to a technical and expressive result greater than what one could do individually. On top of that, the great added value of the performance is also, finally, in the fact that it constitues the moment of the definitive and conscious acquisition of the competences reached: "I can do it, I can show it, my capability is recognised by the applauses, now I'm really able to do it". It is a sensation of acquired conscience and sureness which is explicitly manifested in those gestures of satisfaction that the students often display after their feat: a sure movement of the arms, of the head, of the whole body, a leap in the air.
The integrated ensemble - There is no doubt that one of the most fortunate inventions of the Schulwerk itinerary is the bar instrumentarium, now more widespread than ever although it has often been considered outdated, especially with the advent of electronic instrumentation. It must be said that a distorted commercial mentality has sometimes given way to massive attempts towards the decidedly anti-pedagogic introduction of electronic instrumentation into the school. The mercantile dream of "a keyboard for every student" has produced monstrosities - fortunately, usually overcome. A dream which corresponds, in reality, to a didactic procedure which is radically opposite to that of the "ensemble". Whether it be an electronic keyboard, a melody horn, a flute or a violin for each student, the idea of the same instrument for everyone on which to collectively learn first the notes, then to perform the same melodies, corresponds to a more depersonalising didactic procedure rather than a collective and socialising one.
In truth the instrumentarium, as it is to this day a very effective means for the diffusion of Orff's name, has often been mistaken for the "method" itself. Learning and performing elemental pieces of music even following specific didactic procedures (either Orffian or not) with the tuned bar instrumentarium was often practised and intended as an adequate and sufficient application of the Schulwerk. Starting from this methodological restriction we can justify the fact that the instrumentarium was perceived as a too-small, too-sacrificed, too-outdated, and too-characterised musical space.
This vision and this use of the instrumentarium have been amply overcome. Today the bar instruments are only the tuned “body”, practiseable and accessible also by the most inexperienced levels - by means of adequate forms of approach- of an ensemble open to all the musical instruments that the group has access to. Electronic instruments, art instruments, folklore instruments, autarchic instruments take part in the ensemble according to which musical product we are aiming for. In the rediscovered general popularity of percussion, the instrumentarium reveals itself as very adequate to the current sensibility of the youth; futhermore offering those properties of clarity and manageability (the diatonic setting of the basic models, the possibility of extracting and substituting the bar according to requirements), which are always very useful in the didactic field.
Use of folklore: what is our "popular" today? - The privileged relationship with folklore, in particular that of one's own Country, and even more so of one's own Region, was originally one of the distinctive characters of the second Orffian procedure: that of the Bavarian Radio broadcasts. In it, on one side Orff saw the conservation of a tradition risking progressive extinction and the recovery of the mystery and magic of archaic languages; on the other the adequacy to the child's need for an essential and limpid language like the one of counting rhymes and childhood songs closely joined to accessible and well-defined forms. The appeal to such repertoire was however in the beginning free of eccessive philological demands. Popular material does not always offer models completely adequate to what one or the other methodological operation needs, especially at an initial level. There may be one too many rhythmic or melodic complication, a formal or structural "deviation" in respect to the model aimed for, and so on.
An emblematic case of this flexible relationship with popular material was precisely that of the pentatonic repertoire, one of the strongholds of the first and of the current Schulwerk. Northern Europe does not have the same richness of pentatonic materials as Eastern Europe. So, by his own acknowledgement, where it became necessary for the melodic material to maintain the pentatonic functionality required in the very first phase of activity, Orff, and with him Gunild Keetman, did not hesitate to aptly intervene to adapt the popular material, or to create more "original" one.
On the other hand it is the very evolutionary nature of the popular repertoire that justifies such an operation: a repertoire which is subject to continuous modifications produced during its use in different geographic areas, and in different situations. The traceable variations of the most popular and widespread songs or nursery rhymes, constantly subjected to further modifications, are innumerable. So, if a philological and scientific attitude is obligatory for the ethnomusicologist researcher, what abstract philological necessity should impede interventions and any functional modifications on popular material for the didactic purpose? In a certain sense, didactics moves away from the complete observance to the original musical product, whether it be an author's piece or folklore. It takes possession of it, shaping it, transforming it, adapting it according to its needs. In other words, our didactics does not aim to "reproduce" given models but to "produce" its own elaborations.
Critical observations towards a too-narrow use of folklore reinforced such a configuration. What could be the sense, for a child who is more and more citified, constantly changing games, and subject to the all the more diffused and pandemic influx of the most varied technologies, of too-preferentially or even exclusively rebinding to local tradition? There was also who, already from the first technological musical experiences, thought they could see in the new electronic media a potential destined to completely substitute acoustic instruments, advocating their exclusive advent into the didactic field too. Yet the musical evolution of the past decades has proved such a hypothesis wrong, the same way it has downsized the hypothesis that urban and technologial play could substitute the physical rhythm of verbal articulation, gesture and song. But, going beyond the technological field, what could be the sense of confining a child within a local boundary when the media and the rapid evolution of transport were putting him into ever larger communication with the entire world?
Consequently, what is more interesting to our methodological itineraries is not so much the conservation or recovery of "one" specific tradition, as much as the acquaintance with "the traditions". Moreover, the value of a rhythmic, melodic or corporal-gestural material is not its belonging to a specific cultural stock but rather its phonetic, melodic, formal and structural qualities, its adequacy for a specific didactic aim of exercise and knowledge, its appropriateness and potential towards an autonomous elaboration. There is, in this perspective, a great openness towards the sources for locating materials, for which geographic boundaries no longer exist, while at the same time a well-defined "domestic" reacquisition within the group which will use it for a creative scope. Thus "our" popular, becomes concrete in the realisation of a product inside "that" class-group, in "that" specific moment of its technical and linguistic evolution, with its own competences, potential and instrumentation, starting from a source coming from anywhere on the globe, whether it be ethnic, folkloric, jazzistic, popular, classical or...autarchic.
The Sculwerk teacher should first of all be a "didactic personality". A few years ago, during a ministerial Convention in Castiglion della Pescaia, Carlo Delfrati very acutely and contentiously observed how in didactics the "virtuoso" is not contemplated as in the instrumental sense. There. Our teacher should be this: a Paganini of musical pedagogy. Stepping away from this paradox, a teacher that needs books as a nourishment for his personal growth and not as a direct support for today's or tomorrow's didactic unit. A teacher who is able to become his own textbook each day, being "his own method". For it is impossible to "teach" something that one doesn't have in himself and who one doesn't recognise himeslf in.
First of all, then, a teacher who is able to subjectively and "Schulwerkially" maneuver the didactic subject - the experimented one, the known and potential one - which is still now, and always will be - all to be invented.
A teacher who, within the tracks indicated by the existing Schulwerk, is able to elaborate his own pedagogic line, his own methodological procedure, his own didactic personality. A teacher who can propose and invent, and not simply reproduce.
A teacher who doesn't carry out his activities going from page x to page y, but who finds in the pages elements to re-manipulate for his own projects and objectives.
A teacher whose project is well-defined but not steely, and who has a great capability for leadership and coordination of the group: ready to accomodate all the creative "deviations" which come from the group (or from himself) during the activities.
So, a teacher who can do and get others to do, but also, lets things do themselves. One who knows the capacity to expose oneself, of putting oneself on the line, "without a safety net", pushing the children towards those unexpected grafts - which he shall know how to coordinate and harmonise during the active process - from which the creative divergences in respect to the project and itinerary are born, and thus the innovations, the discoveries, the new routes.
A teacher who dosn't homogenise with duress ("you shush because you're too good, you shush because you're out of tune"), but on the whole harmonises the different abilities and competences that always coexist in a group.
A teacher able to ripen a true and open relationship with his scholastic tribe.
All these capabilities are - in the end - closely connected to the "knowing how to learn" which is the fundamental moment in didactic activity. Knowing how to learn from what one receives, what emerges from the group, collecting it, storing it, re-exploring it and re-elaborating it inside oneself so as to constantly renew one's own richness for planning.
The teacher described, whilst facing the heavy emotional and organisational difficulties which must be confronted in the school as a consequence of the continuous and pronounced social transformations of our time, is not bored, on the contrary, he or she enjoys leading the group throughout the most diverse musical experiences. For if the teacher isn't the first one to b
e passionate about his proposals and to have fun whilst proposing and coordinating them, he will "teach" nothing. Boredom and distance do not communicate at all.
What kind of professional training is asked of such a teacher?
- From a general point of view a good humanistic and psychological formation.
- From a musical point of view, a medium level poly-instrumental experience (percussion, keyboard, wind instruments) is preferable to a Conservatory diploma.
- Practical competences in the field of improvisation.
- Tested knowledge in the fields of academic (counterpoint and harmonic technique) and experimental composition.
- Experience of group coordination and leadership
- From a human point of view: a very strong motivation towards measuring up with the growth of others, with the basic functions of socialisation and integration, an absolute belief that music is, among all subjects of study, the most highly educational one under every point of view - intellectual, perceptive and emotional - on both individual and social levels.