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Music Training

Launched in March 2012, the Bolivia Clásica string programme is designed to give every child involved a chance to develop skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives. The self-discipline which comes from studying music, particularly classical music, prepares for the greatest challenges.

We believe that the establishment of a value system is intrinsically linked to music education, and infuses every phrase of every lesson. Our pedagogical work promotes punctuality, concentration, rigour, honesty, the efficient use of time, attention to detail, perseverance, the resolution of problems, leadership, respect, tolerance, empathy and solidarity. It is imperative that the teaching be absorbing, captivating and entertaining; when passion is instilled it is much easier to create a work ethic. At Bolivia Clasica we encourage young people from all possible backgrounds to work together, and actively seek to recruit from social programs in the more vulnerable neighbourhoods to help ensure no budding talents are left behind.

Top level musicians are invited from all over the world to coach young students and offer teacher training to local musicians interested in expanding their pedagogical knowledge. They offer public concerts with the Bolivia Clásica Youth Chamber Orchestra, guaranteeing a constant source of motivation for the students. New meaning is given to an art form that is taken for granted in many parts of the world.
This training program is nurturing the future teachers of Bolivia and providing teaching jobs for local musicians who are forming a solid core for the school. Scholarships are offered to those unable to cover tuition fees, and instruments are available at minimal or no cost, depending on individual circumstances.

Introduction to music – Healthy roots

Children between the ages of 5-10 will be given a basic aptitude test and divided into small groups to ensure each child receives individual attention. They will discover music through basic elements of rhythm, melody, voice and movement. As they develop they will be given the option of trying different instruments, learning elemental theory and harmony as well as joining our children’s choir.

Instrumental lessons – Shooting for the stars

Once the child has chosen their string instrument we will offer them instrumental instruction with teachers who specialize in teaching children and beginners. Those who cannot access an instrument will be lent one by the Bolivia Clásica Foundation.

Chamber Music – Cultivating leadership

After reaching a certain level the students will be forming string quartets which are the basis of our programme. When playing quartets each note becomes a personal responsibility, as are punctuality and reliability, musically and socially. In forming individual aptitude you instill self-confidence in each member of the ensemble. All will benefit significantly thanks to this work, including those who go on to become professionals in other fields.

Music Theory – How music works

Our music theory classes aim to develop a deeper understanding of musical melody and harmony. Reading skills are taught utilising solfege, then developed through regular sight reading. The class develops a sense of pitch and rhythm through ear training and rhythmic and melodic dictation, reinforcing both oral and written musical traditions.

Choir – Working in harmony

The choir has great social impact by virtue of being completely democratic: every child has access to music through their voice. It is the best possible introduction to the joys of music-making, as children cultivate awareness by learning how to work in harmony. The students will start developing skills in the areas of pitch, rhythm, articulation, phrasing, concentration, memory, and visual communication.

Preparatory and Youth Orchestra – Forging the team spirit

The quartets are the building blocks of the orchestras, and the same principles that apply to the quartet programme apply here. The students work together in an environment that promotes not only artistic rigour but a sense of community, a spirit of generosity, mutual respect and understanding. Learning to listen to themselves and to each other is about more than perfecting their intonation; it’s also very much about reaching a full understanding of the larger musical meaning. We stress that each section, each chair has its importance. Our system of rotation allows the members to experience this first hand, to appreciate what it is to be in the other’s position – literally! Leadership and ensemble skills will all have been taught in the quartet programme, and take on a different dimension on this scale.
Music director Armando Vera Woudstra ensures the youth orchestra is continually challenged with new and exciting repertoire, as well as by the guest conductors and international musicians and composers who have been invited to work with them over the years. As the official orchestra of the Bolivia Clásica Festival (for which they exceptionally expand to include young musicians from all over), the Bolivia Clásica Youth Orchestra has given many memorable performances and collaborated with Jaime Laredo and Sharon Robinson in August of 2014.

Teacher training – Securing the future

The ability to offer quality music education to children and beginners is a unique skill and it is our intention to empower local teachers so that they can give as many children as possible a healthy start in music. We are bringing in specialized musicians to work intensively with a selection of local musicians, putting emphasis on beginner methodologies, doing workshops, building knowledge and confidence. The invited specialists observe the local teachers in action and work directly with the students as well, all of which provides an enriching experience for those involved.