For all those who have never had the opportunity to discover classical music―and have never known the joy it can bring―we want to make free, effective classical music education available to disadvantaged children. At the Vareille Foundation, we believe that classical music should belong to everyone, not just a privileged few.
Our program takes its inspiration from the Bridge Project, launched by the London Music Masters foundation in communities on the outskirts of the English capital. Under this marvelous program, music classes become an integral part of the elementary curriculum from age four, and children begin violin lessons in their second year. Starting from the fourth year, instruction becomes optional, and children who choose to continue are given a violin.
The first English school to participate in the Bridge Project was Jessop Primary School, in a southern suburb of London. We visited the school, attended music and violin lessons for four- and five-year-olds, and spoke with their teachers, who were all very enthusiastic about the program. They emphasized its dual benefits:
The children are exposed to music. Some develop a genuine interest in music, and for others it can even become a vocation. Several Jessop alumni are now on scholarship at highly selective secondary schools with dual academic and musical curricula.
The school’s academic performance has clearly improved. The instructors are confident that the Bridge program helps children develop discipline and concentration and motivates them to make progress in their musical studies—which also contributes to their academic success.
This kind of project cannot succeed without support and active participation from professional music teachers and from the management team at the host school.
We have therefore contacted the Conservatory of Zurich, which has expressed enthusiasm for the project.
The Verbier Festival has also expressed interest in developing a project along these lines and is currently working on a feasibility study.
Finally, we have partnered with a French foundation to develop similar projects in France.