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Aleix Palau | 8 April 2019

A pioneering project on musical composition in primary-school classrooms where the composer ‎intervenes to awaken sensitivity in students resulting in the children composing their own musical works

The project – a joint collaboration between the UAB (Autonomous University of Barcelona) ‎and L'Auditori – allows pupils between 7 and 12 years of age to participate in the process of ‎creating their own musical piece, under the guidance of a renowned composer and school ‎music teachers.‎

On 9, 10 and 11 April, the final concerts of this project will be held at L’Auditori, in ‎which 24 schools and 1,700 students from all over Catalonia have taken part throughout its ‎five years of operation.‎
The educational and innovative originality of the project entitled "The Composer Goes to the ‎Classroom" has been included in a doctoral thesis that has just been presented and at the ‎same time has led to the publication of an article in the scientific journal Music Educators ‎Journal, which highlights the educational benefits of this pioneering initiative in Spain for ‎both students and teachers.

The project "The Composer Goes to the Classroom" – a joint collaboration between the UAB ‎and the Servei Educatiu (Educational Service) at L'Auditori – allows contemporary music to be ‎studied in primary-school classrooms in the presence of a composer. Listening to and ‎analysing a composer’s works fosters musical creation processes in students, who then ‎present and discuss their works in a meeting with the composer. Finally, they have the ‎opportunity to perform the musical pieces they have created before an audience at ‎L'Auditori.‎

This is an innovative educational experience in Spain that has been running for five years and ‎is built on three pillars: contemporary music, the compositional process of the students and ‎the intervention of a composer in the classroom.‎

L’Auditori will host the final concerts of the compositions created by the students on the 9, 10 ‎and 11 April, in the morning. The 15 schools that have participated in the project during this ‎academic year will present their creations, alongside the composers who have taken part: ‎Oliver Rappoport, Pablo Carrascosa, Agustí Charles, Bernat Vivancos, Fabià Santcovsky, Joan ‎Magrané and Fritz Hauser.‎
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The project is coordinated by Professor Assumpta Valls of the Department of Teaching of ‎Musical, Visual and Corporal Expression at the UAB and is promoted by the work group on ‎Contemporary and Modern Music of the World, from the Institute of Educational Sciences ‎‎(ICE) at the UAB, comprising five primary-school music teachers and two professors from the ‎UAB.‎

The project began in the 2014-2015 academic year with five schools. During the 2016-2017 ‎academic year, L’Auditori joined the initiative. Currently, L’Auditori is intensely involved and ‎has incorporated the project into the Sampler Sèries cycle (newly created music), is ‎responsible for providing access to composers who go to the schools and offers the venue ‎where the final concerts take place. ‎
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Since the project started, a total of 24 primary schools from different Catalan towns and 1,697 ‎children have taken part.‎

Throughout the five years of the project, 13 composers have been involved: Bernat Vivancos, ‎Ramon Humet, Agustí Charles, Josep Maria Guix, Raquel García-Tomás, Joan Magrané, Oliver ‎Rappoport, Hèctor Parra, Carlos de Castellarnau, Pablo Carrascosa, Octavi Rumbau, Fabià ‎Santcovsky and Fritz Hauser.‎
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One of the most positive effects of the composer going into the classroom with regard to ‎learning "is that the composer’s presence gives rise to a unique experience of what is learnt, ‎but above all, of how it is learnt: that is, who says it and how it is said ", explains Assumpta ‎Valls, professor at the UAB.‎

The composer's visit triggers a very powerful and different type of motivation around the ‎learning of the composition process: "it brings the composer's reality closer to both the ‎student and the teacher. The composer introduces new ideas on how to advance and ‎develop in a musical sense and it becomes a way of learning how to develop one’s creative ‎potential” explains the project coordinator.‎

For composers who have participated, "seeing that the creative and sensory seed of the ‎children grows with sincerity and enthusiasm is a gift for both teachers and creators."‎

The educational innovation represented by the project has led to recognition by the scientific ‎journal Music Educators Journal, which has published an article about the project entitled ‎‎"The Composer Goes to the Classroom" (December 2018), written by Julia Getino, Cristina ‎González and Assumpta Valls. Julia Getino has also completed a doctoral thesis on the project ‎entitled "Composers go to the classroom. A study on the composer's intervention in the ‎process of musical creation in the primary stage".‎