On Thursday, November 17, a team from the Vareille Foundation—Projects Director Clément Dumortier and Communications and Press Manager Pauline Daragon—spent the day at Schule Hardau in Zurich, visiting classes and meeting with the teachers from the Conservatory, who have now been working with the children once a week for over a year. Pauline contributed this post describing their experience at the school.
We began the day by immersing ourselves in Antonia Paratore’s violin class. The students—now six years old and in their second year of violin instruction—worked in groups of four, reviewing melodies they knew, with and without their bows. They paid close attention to their classmates as each child played in turn, and they even sang Jingle Bells in preparation for Christmas!
We then followed the same small group of students to Annina Kamm’s classroom for a lesson on rhythm and music. The children practiced moving their bodies with the music to improve coordination and used a xylophone to mark changes in tempo. Each took a turn “in the driver’s seat,” keeping time with the mallets as the pace became faster or slower. In the final exercise, they stretched out on the floor, listening to music and reacting with their whole bodies as the tempo changed.
At the end of the morning, we visited Hong Yip’s class, where five children gathered around their young teacher, each more focused and conscientious than the next. The class began like a familiar ritual, as each student went up to the teacher to have the chin rest attached to his or her violin. Then they went through a series of songs and games, all designed to help the children practice their instrument and learn to listen—and what a pleasure it was to watch! The teaching method made learning fun, and the lesson seemed to fly by in just a few minutes. It was a charming experience—and a very promising preview of the upcoming holiday concert, which is sure to be a delight!
Overall, what struck us most during our immersion in the A violin can change the world project was the impressive level of concentration the children brought to their classes—a promising sign that they will succeed.