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The program

A unique path to a unique goal

A violin can change the world helps children perform better in school by teaching them to play the violin—a challenging instrument—through consistent instruction from ages four to eight. To reach as many disadvantaged children as possible, we designed the program in partnership with authorities in Switzerland and France so that it can be integrated into their education systems. We’ve also taken the unusual step of scheduling the violin lessons during regular classroom hours in school. This is what makes our program unique—and successful.

Launched in 2015, A violin can change the world is solidly underpinned by a wealth of scientific studies showing that playing a musical instrument enhances cognitive development in young children. In Switzerland, preliminary evaluations of our program clearly support these findings. In France, a team of researchers at Sciences Po/CNRS* is conducting a study to prove its benefits.

* French National Center for Scientific Research

Fast facts: Fall 2021

5140

young violinists

96

violin teachers

53

schools in France

5

schools in Switzerland

12000

children helped by 2025

Built into the school curriculum

A violin can change the world is designed for children in disadvantaged schools that need extra resources, and both the violin teachers and classroom instructors are specially trained. All of the violin teachers have degrees, and they’re selected through a rigorous, highly structured process, often in partnership with local schools of music.

Children take violin lessons in school, during regular classroom hours, and classroom instructors actively participate in the program, incorporating the violin into the curriculum. All students are required to take violin lessons, just as they are required to take reading and writing. The program also seeks to bring families into the school community around a project that benefits their children.

Grade levels

France

moyenne section and grande section
(preschool and kindergarten)

CP and CE1
(first two years of primary school)

Switzerland

Levels 1H-4H (Valais Canton)

Levels 1P-4P (Geneva Canton)

Kindergarten 1-2 and primary grades 1-2 (Zurich Canton)

A violin can change the world

Project fundamentals

schools

in disadvantaged areas

students

ages 4 to 8

violin teachers

are highly qualified

teaching method

is age-appropriate

3 group classes

per week, during the school day

violins

each child has their own instrument

open classes

family members are welcome

evaluation

is independent & scientific

The right instrument

We provide the children with top-quality instruments, and our age-appropriate teaching method is the main focus of the training for our violin teachers. The instruments come in different sizes, so even the youngest children can handle them easily. And because the children are allowed to take them home, the violin becomes part of the family—a sign of trust and a point of pride for parents. With the youngest children, who don’t yet read music, we use several teaching methods with proven effectiveness.

A violin can change the world: 2021 award winner

French Education Ministry’s National Innovation Day

Next steps

A force for change in public education

We’ve already made the transition from pilot project to large-scale experiment—but our goal is ambitious. In 2025, we plan to hand off our program to the French education system, working with officials and administrators to incorporate A violin can change the world into the curriculum. In 2024 we’ll announce the results of the impact study by France’s National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and propose a proven, cost-controlled implementation process that will be easy to deploy. We’ll also present an independent cost-benefit analysis of the project at the national level.

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