Schoolchildren become musicians

Schoolchildren become musicians

For almost two weeks, the emil fisher elementary school is transformed into a russian carnival. At least two classrooms. A total of 47 children from classes 3a and 3c are working on their own version of stravinsky’s "petrushka" ballet. The original scene in stravinsky’s ballet is a fair in st. Petersburg. A juggler appears who plays a devious game with his puppets – with the vain ballerina, the melancholy petrushka and the mischievous moor.
"Compose strawinsky" is what coburg’s general music director roland kluttig has called this project. In stravinsky’s ballet the plot tells of the love notes of petrushka, who falls in love with the ballerina, who of course throws herself into the arms of the moor. For through the power of a magical flute melody the puppets come to life. And they behave like real people – with their jealousy, their longing for love and their hatred.

Just as important as math

it is by no means a matter of course that schools declare themselves willing to cooperate in such a project, says carmen schmidt. Together with soren schrader, the berlin-based pedagogue already led the landestheater’s equally ambitious janacek project last year. In fact, these two weeks are almost too little for such an ambitious project. But getting more time is actually impossible. "Of course, with this project, we are creating a lot of confusion in the daily school life of the two classes", says schmidt, who is nevertheless convinced of the educational value of the project: "what the children learn in these two weeks is just as important as mathematics, for example." Schmidt and schrader naturally want to put on a convincing performance on the stage of the landestheater with the 47 children of the emil fisher elementary school. Even more important to schrader is this aspect: "the children learn to listen to each other and to make music together."

Sabel made it herself

for the children this project is a rough challenge. The woman carmen schmidt of course – and this is also to be traced again and again. To concentrate on one topic over such a long period of time is a real challenge for the children. "They must learn to endure silence for once", says carmen schmidt. Because only in this way can we succeed in making music together.
A few days before the performance at the landestheater, the "petrushka"-project has already gained a clearly recognizable structure. Time and again, stravinsky’s ballet score with its cleverly worked-in melodies is characteristically echoed in the children’s music-making. The costume parts and many of the necessary requisites are also largely finished. Only the moors, who play an important role in petrushka, still need a rough sabel. In this case, of course, they are made of thick cardboard and have to be wrapped in aluminum foil so that they look a little like metal.
But it’s not that simple. First the outline of the sabel has to be painted on the foil with a little overhanging edge. Then this outline has to be cut out and draped around the cardboard form.

Is there a happy end?

Then the game of petrushka can begin. The only question that remains is how the musical puppet show will turn out in this version.
Whether the moor will end up killing petrushka with his sabel? Or whether petrushka might escape not only the moor, but the juggler as well? "We deliberately want to leave that a little open", says carmen schmidt. "Our favorite conclusion would be, of course, if petrushka could really begin a new life as a free man at the end of it all."

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