Music project primary school San Ildefonso

Music project primary school San Ildefonso
Update December 2018:


As we enter the schoolyard, we are greeted with a loud: "Bienvenidos Amigos de Potosí de Holanda!" We are visiting the school 1. De Mayo San Ildefonso in Potosí, where we have been running a music project for the past four years now. This time I am accompanied by nine interested Dutch Amigos, and this extraordinary trip is celebrated with enthusiastic musical performance. We are deeply impressed by what teacher Luis has managed to achieve in just four years. To me, it is clear that musical education has helped the children to become more outgoing, happier and more self-confident; a view which is shared by their parents and teachers. They are more socially capable than before and more inclined to cooperate. What a difference a bit of music can make!

Update October 2017: It is always a pleasure to visit this school with which we have had a connection for such a long time now. Once again, the students were eager to show us what music teacher Luis had taught them in the past year. We were very impressed. Children who had never even touched a musical instrument just a year prior were now playing the zampoña (pan flute), drums, cymbals, triangle or the xylophone. With the utmost concentration (at least on the part of most students…) and obvious enjoyment, they are learning an experimental (!) piece of traditional folk music and a march. Luis told us about the methods he uses to educate the children and how he taught them to read sheet music. The school is so impressed by his music classes that they may now be scheduled during school hours, whereas previously the children had to stay after school to follow the lessons. The parents are also very enthusiastic and now dare to dream that their son or daughter may yet grow up to be a professional musician. The talent is certainly there! We were also very impressed when Luis told us that some children who previously did not dare to speak up during class are now brave enough to do so.

Update July 2017: By now the school orchestra has no fewer than 70 (!) members, so we can certainly consider it so be a success! The children are having loads of fun making music together!

August 17- 2016: National holiday, the day of the Bolivian flag. The school orchestra now expanded to 36 members stept a little preoccupied and nervous on the bus for a festive parade in the centre of Potosí, where tv-recordings were being made. Such a moment of triumph for these children who are never a priority, coming from a school at the outskirts of the large city, where no one really counts… But they do today! They played with great dedication, from the moment they got out of the bus untill the moment they had to get back in. How music can make this happen….

The glowed with pride and it was a day never to be forgotten.

Friday August 5 2016: Celebrating the national holiday, a performance by the orchestra, and the presentation of a new melody: the march. They marched and made music on the schoolyard and the area around the school, together with the parents, teachers and authorities. What a celebration and such joy! Be happy with them when watching the 30 seconds videofilm:  Video The march

December 2015: The first performance of the students who participated in the musical project was a great success. With great effort and enthusiasm they made music, danced and sang heartily during their presentation on the schoolyard, commemorating the end of the school year in December.

The children in the outskirts of Potosí have usually been displaced out of their original surroundings: the country side. They have gone to Potosí with their parents for economic reasons: father starts to work in the mines. Often they don’t speak Spanish –yet—and they have trouble expressing themselves. But dancing and making music with other children: that’s a happy thing! And if you go to school happily, you learn more.

In the city environment traditional norms and values are not as present. Even so, keeping in touch with these is important for your identity. To keep up the knowledge of original music and the use of native instruments, a music teacher will be appointed for three months and the primary school “1. De Mayo San Ildefonso” (with 200 students) in Potosí will be given access to native instruments. What is needed? 1 drum with sticks, 34 zampoñas (panpipes), 1 couple of cymbals and a music teacher.

At first, 45 students (10-15 years) will be given music lessons. They will form a group for music which other students can join later on.

A nice impulse for the primary school education to mineworker’s children in Potosí.

(This project is to be continued)