Community music school opens its doors to the public
Hundreds of people will join teachers at Baden’s music school on Saturday to discover musical instruments. Katalin Fekete reports.
The open day, held every spring for the last 25 years, offers children and adults the opportunity to try their hands at playing an instrument.
"Opening our doors to the public is a great opportunity to gain publicity," said co-organiser Hanny Egli. The goal is to get people interested in playing an instruments and taking music lessons.
The music workshop will take place on Saturday 26 March from 2pm to 4pm. It offers visitors the chance to try out up to 30 instruments taught at the school, talk to teachers and get their questions answered, according to Egli.
The event is aimed at children aged four and up, but it also attracts many adults wishing to learn an instrument. "A number of our students are over 80 years old," Egli said.
The workshop is very popular with children - especially with those who have not made up their minds which instrument they want to play - because it enables them to have a go at producing sounds and tones on different instruments.
"It is not always easy for children to get a sound out of the flute or other wind instruments," flutist and teacher Susanne Wetzel said. Helping children make a sound within a short time was quite a challenge, she added. "We take on quite a responsibility, as we want to turn this into a positive experience."
According to Egli, the recorder is a favourite beginner's instrument, as it easy to play and easy on the wallet.
Children of all ages feel drawn to the piano, the violin and the acoustic guitar, whereas the electric guitar and percussion instruments like the drums, the djembe - the African drums - are popular with older children.
Wetzel said children often chose a particular instrument because they heard their friends or other children play. "It also happens that a child is determined to learn the flute, for instance, because s/he just loves the tone," she added.
Egli said they expected a few hundred visitors at the open day, but it was difficult to predict the exact number, as there was a constant stream of people coming and going. But judging by the large crowds the event had attracted in the past, the open day was a great success. "We have been bursting at the seams last year, Egli said.
The interest in the instrumental workshop has increased over the years, according to Egli. She attributes this to their efforts to promote the event by advertising the event on their homepage and in newspapers and by contacting schools.
Some people come to the open day out of sheer curiosity, whereas others attend to see what the music school offers, find out more about a particular instrument or talk to teachers.
"About 75-80 per cent of those who attend the workshop will take up an instrument," Egli said, adding that many adults started taking music or classical voice lessons too, but not necessarily because of the event.
The number of children learning to play an instrument at an earlier age had increased over the last 20 to 30 years, according to Egli. "The music classes offered at primary schools help spark children's interest in music much earlier nowadays," she said.
Wetzel said it was good for children to get in contact with music at an early age, as it enriched their lives in many ways and had a positive effect on their development. "Making music, whether playing an instrument or singing, has a positive impact on people's well-being and evokes feelings of happiness," she said.
- The music school in Baden offers singing lessons (classical to pop and rock) and tuition in about 30 musical instruments (strings, woodwinds, brasses, the percussion and keyboard instruments).
- There are currently about 1450 students - children and adults - enrolled in music classes.
- The instruments most popular with children are the recorder, the guitar, the piano, the violin and the percussion instruments.
- Adults and teenagers take vocal lessons, but adults go for the classical music, whereas teenagers prefer modern music like pop and rock.
Katalin Fekete / Expatica
Photo: RKHawaii / Flickr.com