site.btaProject Builds Musical Skills in Roma Kids

Project Builds Musical Skills in Roma Kids
Project Builds Musical Skills in Roma Kids
Maestro Kalaydzhiev and his students (BTA Photo)

A new project by internationally acclaimed violinist Georgi Kalaydzhiev gives hope for early development of musical skills in socially disadvantaged children in the Roma neighbourhood in Sliven. The project targets kids aged four years and over and is aimed to build upon a successful campaign called Music Instead of the Street, which has been promoting the musical training of school-age children.

"We are happy that Music Instead of the Street has been on for 14 years now and has been incredibly successful," Kalaydzhiev said, interviewed by BTA. "We have sent young people into university, eight students to music schools and other high schools. The kids have discovered a wonderful window in music which can show them the path to the future."

The new project, dubbed Hope, is again assisted by Kalaydzhiev's German wife Maria Hauschild. It involves musical games, activities to introduce kids to various types of musical instruments, musical fantasy theatre for the youngest, scouting for young music talent, and one-on-one music training.

The lessons take place on Saturdays at the School of Music Instead of the Street. "They are not assigned specific instruments, all of them use accordions, knockers, tambourines, drums, guitars, cellos and violins. The aim is to get them to play music together, play games, dance. They can choose a specific instrument at a later point in life," Kalaydzhiev said.

The four-plus course is led by Tsvetelina Hristova, herself a former student under the Music Instead of the Street project. She is now pursuing her university studies and is a member of the Sliven Symphony Orchestra. Kalaydzhiev wants her to take a teachers' course in Hungary. After each lesson with the kids, Tsvetelina sends the maestro a recording to keep him posted on how things are going and to discuss with him what can be improved.

"About a dozen children attend the Saturday lessons. They do not always come regularly. Student turnover is a fact," said music teacher Radka Kusseva, who has been working with Kalaydzhiev since the project started 14 years ago. "I hope that more and more children come to us, with all this publicity about the project. Most importantly, it works, you can see the results. We have no restrictions in terms of religion, ethnic identity or social status."

Kalaydzhiev and his staff continue to recruit students from Sliven schools. The maestro tells the kids about himself, noting that he was born in the Roma neighbourhood too and recalling the path he has travelled in life. "They are interested. If two out of 10 interested kids join us, that is great," he told BTA.

Concert bookings are testimony to the success of Music Instead of the Street. Most recently, four young people trained under the project gave a Europe Day concert in Strasbourg together with about 100 coevals from other countries. Kalaydzhiev said his students made him very proud because they took the Strasbourg show very seriously and were very well prepared. "It was an incredible experience for the kids," he commented.

Kalaydzhiev went on to say: "The neighbourhood in which our kids live is a ghetto. You may say things are getting better, but I think the destitution is appalling. And now, these kids mingled with the best societies of Europe, in a place like Strasbourg. They were stunned by the beauty of it, the amazing treatment, attention and love they got from those people."

On June 21, the Music Instead of the Street Chamber Orchestra, in its full format, will be in Gera, Germany, to open a major music festival known by its French name, Faites de la musique.

/DS/

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By 07:40 on 01.07.2022 Today`s news

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