What happens when an orchestra moves into a school in a troubled neighborhood

Posted on: April 24, 2015

“Tenever is a high-rise housing estate with a reputation for poverty and crime, located at the end of a tram line in the northern German city of Bremen,” writes Matt Pickles on Wednesday’s (4/ 22) BBC.com. “Eight years ago, one of Europe’s best-known orchestras moved their rehearsal rooms to a secondary school on this housing estate and pupils from Tenever found themselves sharing their corridors and lunch tables with professional musicians. Since then the school’s results have improved, its drop-out rates have fallen to less than 1% and the atmosphere in the wider neighbourhood has been ‘transformed’ … for the pupils of Bremen East comprehensive school (known in German as GSO), the musicians of the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen have become part of their daily lives. The unusual arrangement happened by accident. The orchestra was looking for a new rehearsal space at the same time that the school was being renovated. … What makes the partnership unique is the sheer volume of interactions between musicians and pupils.… Is there something special about music that has led to these improvements? Research has suggested links between music education and improved reading comprehension, language development, IQ scores and creative skills.”

Posted April 24, 2015