Give the Audience Honesty

Students from Košice attended Master Class in Paris with the aim to spread understanding through music

Anita, Nikola and two Jakubs, students in the third grade at Exnárova Music School in Košice, have gained a wonderful experience – they attended Master Class in Paris lead by renowned artists. In addition to Slovak students, young musicians from Romania, Spain and Italy participated in the event. Each country was represented by four students – two Roma and two non-Roma.

The Maestros spent eight hours a day five days a week with the students and on the sixth day, they all performed at a Gala Concert. The music teachers and artists came from each of the four aforementioned countries.

Master Class was organized and lead artistically by a famous and multi-skilled Portuguese-French musician Jorge Chamine, who is a frequent teacher at master classes all around the world. On top of playing several music instruments, he is also very skilled in singing Roma songs and throughout his career he has performed with top world symphonic orchestras.

“He is a remarkable person, extraordinarily wise, humane and humble. He speaks seven languages and has such a broad view. Yet, he approached us as equals.” says guitar player Jakub Krajňák. I highly appreciate Jorge´s advice: “Always give the audience honesty.”

The photo: Student Jakub Krajňák (by the piano), Teacher David Benko and Student Jakub Haffner (top row on the left), Students Nikola Šoltésová and Anita Balážová (bottom row from the left) and Education Program Coordinator of ETP Slovakia Lenka Orságová (bottom row from the left).

“We need to trust life, have faith in what is happening right now, we are artists, we are privileged to do what we like,” says Jorge Chamine to the students.

The Master Class was organized in a rather interesting manner. All the students were present at all classes during which individual time slot was devoted to each student. Everyone played or sang a piece they had prepared while the other students listened. Afterwards, they all together, including the music teacher, discussed the work and its musical interpretation. They gave the student guidance, advice and often praise as well. In this way, everybody benefited from the guidance addressed to a particular student.

Jakub Krajňák was supervised by the Spanish artist Paco Suarez.”He has taught me to feel the piece played and to engage my imagination,” says Jakub.

Singer Anita Balážová worked under the guidance of Jorge Chamine: “I rid myself of problems with breathing and articulation when singing.”

Nikola Šoltésová studies to be an actor, but at the Master Class, she sang. “Music comes from within, it is about emotions. In our heads, we have to create a story to each piece we perform.” she learned in Paris.

Jakub Haffner gained an extraordinary experience. He was artistically guided by a Cymbalo Master of Roma origin, Ľudovít Kováč, who comes from Slovakia but has long lived in Strasbourg, performing in many countries worldwide. “I have befriended an excellent piano player Jesus, who performed his piece at the Master Class. He is a talented Spanish Roma.”

David Benko, the music teacher from Košice who supervised young musicians in the piano playing was very enthusiastic about the personalities with whom he could cooperate at the Master Class. He was very proud of the four students from Košice who prepared a common piece for the Gala Concert. Anita and Nikola sang a duet, accompanied by their teacher David on the piano and by one of the Jakubs on the guitar and the other one on cajón – the Latin-American percussion instrument. Their success was huge. “We had a great time performing. At the stage, we felt better and more relaxed, because we were already enriched by what our art teachers had given us”, said the students of the music school.

Interesting were also the lectures from music theory and history, for example the fact that many representatives of classical European music were in their work inspired by Roma music, including Franz Liszt and Antonín Dvořák, as well as the Spanish Flamenco, which originated in Roma culture.

The entire Paris experience, beautiful and enriching, was realized within the Music4Rom project that involves seven European countries. In Slovakia the project has been implemented by ETP Slovakia. The project is financed by the European Commission and its aim is to support Roma cultural values leading to building of intercultural bridges, social inclusion and education of children through music. Recognition, understanding, creativity, tolerance and admiration should be the project outcomes. At the same time, the aim is to encourage self-confidence and self-respect of the Roma youth. The project involves the creation of a library of Roma music, songs and musicians, the production of a set of musical instruments from recycled materials, the organization of public performances on a local and European level, and many other activities.

In the Music4Rom project, an innovative methodology will be created and applied in piloting activities at schools and cultural centers in four European countries. At the end of the project, after the testing, the methodology will be made available to all pedagogues in Europe to improve their ability to use art in everyday education. The project also involves work with Roma mothers.

And what else is anticipated in the project from our four students from Košice? Definitely, to share what they have gained. Together with their teacher David Benko, they will organize a workshop in ETP´s Community Centre in Rankovce and will supervise the local music club twice a week to rehearse for the Christmas concert. The music club members are invited as an audience to the concert of Exnárova Music School, as well as to the School´s Open