2. Educational offer
3. Terms and conditions of service
4. Case study – "A Música está na Escola” (Music is at School) – at Escola Secundária da Rainha Santa Isabel – Estremoz
Pioneering educational programming in Portugal, Orquestra do Norte has streamlined this experience over time, which occupies about 50% of its current activity. Past iterations of this program have offered somewhere between 70 and 90 performances to schools across northern Portugal. The goal is to promote education of the younger generations, harnessing the advantages of music regarding concentration, audition and abstract reasoning, as well as fine motor skills and rhythmic coordination. Each academic year, a whole season of discoveries waiting to be made, towards which the centers of learning contribute with making preparations in advance.
With proposals for both younger audiences and college students, via these pedagogic concerts, Orquestra do Norte establishes direct ties with their listeners, turning them into active participants in the experience (case in point, the “Concertos Sinfónicos Participados”, Participative Symphonic Concerts). In the upcoming season, the learning institutions may choose for the Orquestra to come to them within certain dates, or they may opt to attend open rehearsals, thus discovering the myriad timbres and the peculiarities of each work and its composer(s), in a different way.
The Orquestra’s proposals begin, with ears wide open, by the “Anatomy of the Orchestra”, proving that “Music also Travels”, “Music also Dances”, that there are 3 Bs that made history (Bach, Beethoven and Brahms) and that music changed cinema (“Compositions in the Dream Factory I and II”). In the “Participative Symphonic Concerts”, voice, movement and percussion turn listeners into interpreters. This year there is a premiere: concerts in which “Physics, Mathematics and Music” convey that everything is interconnected in the Universe of Sound.
When “The Orquestra goes to School”, there are programs conceived for necessarily smaller venues, with orchestral formations composed of strings, reeds, percussion and harp that will invoke markedly different worlds of sounds.
Within the works that will help demonstrate the instruments’ timbric colours, it is noteworthy to mention “Peter and the Wolf”, “The Nutcracker” and “The Four Seasons”. There are, however, others that illustrate the ways in which the instruments colour the music and connect to emotions - in order to understand, for instance, how the clarinet can be more intimitistic, the oboe keen, the cello expressive and the bassoon playful; and to know what timbre is, the volume, the rhythm - to fully seize the opportunity of an immediate contact with the Orquestra and, who knows, perhaps discover new talents and ways to contemplate the future.
To awaken the aesthetic sense and the love for music, actively contributing toward the child’s cognitive and social development are some of the pedagogic concerts’ objectives. Integrating music in educational programs is ever more important, since music has great influence over body control, expression, psychomotricity and cultivation of the voice and language, incentivizing creativity in children and teenagers.
The music room is a place for experiencing sensations, awakening perceptions and opening avenues of communication. The combination of these leads children to acquire competences and access another plane of understanding and expression. Since audition is of recognizable importance in the development of sensibility, one of the concerts’ objectives is to turn each pupil into an active receptor, endeavoring for each to participate in the listening of both specific musical fragments and complete works. In this fashion, the young listener may more easily learn to observe, analyze and appreciate the sonic reality in general and, particularly, the musical one.
The instruments’ timbre plays an important part in listening to a given work, since it helps to determine its character. Prior to the listening of an instrumental piece, pupils will learn the intervening instruments, through direct observation. Instruments are then presented sequentially according to families (strings, reed, brass and percussion) via a simple technical description, followed by the playing of a short passage, performed solo or by a group of musicians.
In a given musical work, different and varied factors come to the forefront: the epoch’s culture in which it was created, its creator’s environment, the composer’s own style, compositional structure, the voices or instruments that interpret it, etc. Regarding the composer, only the most determining biographical aspects are referenced, presented in a brief, agile and attractive manner, capturing the pupil’s attention. In such cases, composers’ portrait and respective life elements are employed, namely the place and country of birth. In all sessions both the author and the work itself is framed within the socio-cultural context of their time, outlining the music’s technical and aesthetic aspects.
Rhythm, melody, harmony, timbre and shape are Music’s basic elements utilized by the composer to create. Via directed listening, students are progressively sensitized to recognize these elements, enabling them to capture and compare, later on, the general distinguishing traits between different works from distinct periods and aesthetic currents.
Illustrating the aural experience with accompanying slideshows or videos is a resource employed in these concerts as an ancillary element of introduction to music, given the permanent power of attraction images exert over viewers. Projecting images related to the program at hand, in synchrony with thematic changes during the work, facilitates analysis and comprehension of each composition’s structure.
“A Fábrica da Música” is the generic title of a series of programs – composed by either selected excerpts or whole works – whose primary objective is the discovery and understanding of the Orchestra. Through specifically pieces, students will have the opportunity to know a symphonic formation from within and, in some cases, outright integrate it! In this fashion, each listener will uncover the Orchestra’s components, noting the duplicity of their nature, simultaneously simple yet complex – an adventure with several steps and proposals.
• “Anatomia da Orquestra” (Orchestral Anatomy)
The “Anatomia da Orquestra” is a program designed to showcase the constituting instruments of a symphony orchestra. The works to be interpreted in these pedagogic concerts are chosen according to their illustrative quality of the various featured instruments. In order to facilitate the comprehension of the intended aural information, clarifying verbal commentary – in simple, direct language - about the performances’ technical and conceptual aspects is employed. Recommended age group: 6 to 14 years
• “A Música também viaja” (Music also travels)
Discovering the orchestra and its instruments, verifying their versatility and the different ways to play, allow the distinctive features of different cultures to be identified. Thus, some excerpts from famous creations by composers originating from the most different regions across the World are presented in this program, which reinforces the idea that Music, despite cultural specificities, constitutes a platform for global communication. Recommended age group: 6 to 14 years
• “A Música também Dança” (Music also dances)
Throughout history, many famous composers wrote themes inspired by dances from their time. In these concerts, one will travel across these tunes, experiencing and discovering the specific characteristics of each work and their influences. Recommended age group: 6 to 14 years
• “A Música dos 3 B’s” (Music from the 3 B’s)
Three of Music History’s great composers share the letter “B” as their surname’s initial: Bach, Beethoven and Brahms. What do they have in common and where do they diverge? What have they stated in their lives and in their music? This program is conceived with the goal to showcase, via referenced examples, the evolution of both the Orchestra and Music within the time-frame ranging from the Baroque to the Romantic periods. Recommended age group: 6 to 14 years
• “Composições da Fábrica dos Sonhos” (Works from the Dream Factory)
How does one explain that Music, even when subjected to Film’s complex aural and visual code, can exert such a decisive importance in the final outcome? The answer lies in Music’s own nature, in the essence of its language, illustrated by diverse selected examples contained within works that marked the Seventh Art. A proposal with two movements:
“Fábrica dos Sonhos I” (Dream Factory I)
One begins by hearing some of the most widely known themes from the Seventh Art’s world. The objective is the acquaintance with the orchestra’s different instruments and their varied use within film scores, as well as to highlight the importance of orchestral music in Film.
“Fábrica dos Sonhos II” (Dream Factory II)
In this program, lending continuity to the presentation of Cinema’s seminal pieces, it’s intended that students are already able to identify the orchestra’s different instruments, previously introduced. The next step is to know the orchestra’s internal organization, as well as each of its intervenient’s role. Recommended age group: 6 to 14 years
• “Concerto sinfónico participado” (Participated symphonic concert)
This program’s objective is to promote the interaction between Musical Education students and the orchestra. Beyond than listening, there’s space for the attendees to actively participate. The chosen works’ scores include the audience, assigning them a vital role, not only in executing small choreographies, but also in percussion (corporal or instrumental) and vocals. Note: In preparation for such sessions previous classroom work is expected, with previously provided materials. Recommended age group: 9 to 12 years.
• “Matemática, Física e Música” (Mathematics, Physics and Music)
The connection between music and science, capturing the listeners’ attention towards different areas of knowledge. How many times does one hear youths complaining that what they study “serves no purpose”? Orquestra do Norte’s new program attempts to contradict this erroneous perception, proving to students that science has infinite applications in fields that may, even, involve the purest of arts. It is simultaneously a cross-curricular project that showcases technical aspects that are generally overshadowed by the act of artistic creation. The whole program’s foundation lies in demonstrating that music without mathematics and physics could not exist. Each moment is illustrated with the orchestra’s presence. Recommended age group: 15 years and older
• Peter and the Wolf (***Sergei Prokofiev***)
Peter and the Wolf is a children’s tale told through music. It was composed in the short span of 4 days by Sergei Prokofiev in 1936, with the pedagogic goal of showing the instruments’ sonorities to children. The story tells the way how Peter tricks the Wolf and saves his friends Duck, Bird and Cat. Each character (Peter, the Wolf, Grandfather, Bird, Duck, Cat and the Hunters) is represented by an instrument. Thus, Peter is represented by the string section, Bird by the flute; the clarinet gives voice to the Duck, the bassoon to Grandfather and the wicked Wolf is interpreted by the French horns. This program is conceived and staged by Jorge Castro Guedes, with the participation of actors Linda Rodrigues, Inah Santos and Mário Santos.
• “The Nutcracker” (Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky)
The Nutcracker is a piece from Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet, inspired by an excerpt from a tale by Hoffmann. The work develops around a Christmas night, where Jans Stahlbaum hosts a large party. The children, Clara and Fritz, wait anxiously. Clara’s godfather, Herr Drosselmeyer, is a toymaker. Upon his arrival, he entertains the guests with mechanical dancing toys. During gift exchange, Clara is bestowed by her godfather with a nutcracker wearing a soldier’s uniform. The party ends, everyone goes to sleep. Sometime later, Clara is attacked by legions of mice. Thence, the Nutcracker comes to life and faces the Mouse King, ending up fatally injured. Clara’s tears break the spell, transforming the doll into a prince, who invites the girl for a journey to the Land of Sweets. Upon her return, Clara awakens and retains her memory from that enchanted night. Program conceived and hosted by Jorge Castro Ribeiro.
• The Four Seasons (Antonio Vivaldi)
Which season is children’s favorite? Spring? Summer? The answer will be given after listening to Vivaldi’s most famous composition: The Four Seasons. Premiered in 1723, this set of concerts for violin remains as one of Music History’s most popular. Each movement’s texture is varied, illustrating the respective season. For instance, “Winter” is dark and sable, whilst “Spring” exhibits sounds that invoke then birds’ chirper and the bees’ buzz.
• “Ensaio Aberto” (Open rehearsal)
Project “Ensaio Aberto” invites children to enter an orchestra’s backstage. In a rehearsal room’s informal setting, youths will be able to verify the effort required to concretize a concert. The composer’s particularities will be pointed out by the conductor and the musicians – highlighting themes, motifs, transitions, orchestration details, formal structures, details of style and interpretation – in order to provide the audience with a close vision of the creator’s world, his work and an orchestra’s experience.
When there is no venue capable of accommodating the entire orchestra, or when the teachers’ and schools’ didactic option is directed in that sense, there are other possibilities for organizing the musical education program. The proposals integrating this rubric have the principal goal of unravelling the diverse families of instruments within the orchestra, through a specific Chamber Music repertoire. Thus, emerges:
• “O Mundo das Cordas” (The World of Strings)
In order to discover the orchestra’s frontmost instruments – and why they are so located – whose sonority goes from the violin’s lyricism to the cello’s telluric timbre. A family very seldom resisted by composers.
• “O Mundo dos Sopros” (The World of Wind instruments)
The most festive? The most powerful? Or are they also capable of growing delicate harmonies? From the warrior horns to the bassoon’s sweet sound, a world of wind instruments, divided into reeds and brass.
• “O Mundo da Percussão” (The World of Percussion)
As ancient as the world of men, percussion makes audiences vibrate, with diverse and often surprising sonorities. An appeal not unnoticed by the younger, even when they are discovering music.
• “O Mundo da Harpa” (The World of Harp)
A source of multiple sounds, the harp has its own place in composition throughout Music History. Something only listening can explain, across this most antique instrument’s complex possibilities.
Fonte múltipla de sons, a harpa tem lugar próprio na composição ao longo da **História da Música**. Algo que só a audição pode explicar, nas complexas possibilidades deste antiquíssimo instrumento.
- minimum 10m x 10m room for placement of the orchestra;
- availability of the venue two hours prior the concert for set-up;
- supply of armless and straight-backed chairs (+/- 50);
- 2 spaces for collective dressing rooms (men/women);
- 1 space for individual dressing room (conductor);
- 1 projector and respective projection screen (1.5m x 1.5m minimum)
- 1 microphone for the conductor (preferably wireless or with adequate maneuverability for the conductor to turn and interact with students);
- previous technical visit (30 days) to evaluate the before mentioned items;
- guaranteed presence of faculty and other liaison elements with the school and its students, in order to facilitate communication and to meet the expected standard of presentation of a pedagogic concert;
- ensure the completion of the assessment/analysis tools requested by Orquestra do Norte;
- selection of a contact element to ensure the connection between the school and Orquestra do Norte’s production team during the concert(s) organization.
Produced materials pertaining to the project "A Música está na Escola", a major event for Estremoz’s scholastic community, here given its due import and projection: