Music School for Disadvantaged Children of Tor Pignattara Rome, Italy

Project location: ITALY, Rome
Project start date: June 2012 - Project end date: This project covers various years
Project number: 2012-009
Beneficiary: Associazione Culturale Musica e altre cose

[2013-032 | 2014-037 | 2015-052 | 2016-069]

Tor Pignattara is a neighborhood in Rome located close to the city center within the VI Municipality. Born around the 20s and rapidly grown up in the '50s and '60s, it is now a place where immigrants from all over the world have found their home.
Tor Pignattara is also the district where, in January 2012, the bloody murder of a Chinese man and of his newborn daughter took place, a murder that hit the headlines of the press around the world. Moreover in this neighborhood there is also the primary school "Pisacane", often present in the news because of the overcrowding presence of children of immigrants (about 97%). For this reason, the school has been defined by some as a "black ghetto" and by others "the most beautiful school in the world" a testimony of the deep contradictions on which the neighborhood lives.
Some useful figures come from the "Roman Observatory on Migration", which has documented how in the VI Municipality resident immigrant population is equal to the 13% of the total and comes mostly from Bangladesh, China, Romania, the Philippines and Egypt. Moreover, the percentage of foreign children (20% of total) far exceeds both the percentage of immigrant population (13%) and the percentage of total child population (14%). These figures (that exclude illegal migrants present) show that the highest rate of immigration in this Municipality is concentrated primarily in the age group between 5 and 14.

The two episodes reported in the news, combined with figures of the "Roman Observatory on Migration", are representative of a district that faces several difficulties: daily troubles, violence, high density of immigrants and their hard integration process, poor conditions of its inhabitant. These elements reveal a lack of opportunities for interaction and culture but, above all, the incapacity of people to see a possible change, particularly in times of strong economic and cultural crisis. In a historical moment in which the institutions' attention is focused only on people primary needs, the need for cultural growth and sociality coming from a neighborhood like this remains in the shadow. And what often escapes in the daily struggle is that only a cultural growth and greater self- awareness will be the sparks able to revive Italy - and this neighborhood - also from an economic point of view.

This project aims not only at primary needs but long-term targets. Cooperation, reciprocity, solidarity, cultural exchange are key elements in a society and a city in constant transformation as the city of Rome and, even more so, in one of the districts with the highest density in immigrant population. And the place where it is possible to work more effectively to prevent social unrest is unquestionably the community itself.

The project  is  based on some basic concepts:
- Training
- Education
- Personal growth through art and culture

These are the methods and at the same time the goals of this project, which aims to give an answer to the weakest and poorest, the disadvantaged children, converging at the same time the vocation of the Nando Peretti Foundation through a synergy between the focus for the most vulnerable children, and the education and sensitivity to art and culture.
The project wishes to plan and implement a series of music classes aimed to children aged from 6 to 14 and organized by professional musicians on a weekly basis. The ultimate goal of these classes is both to teach to play an instrument and to create a small orchestra composed of young musicians from all over the world.

The set-up of these music classes will be implemented by a professional musician. It will be targeted for children and teenagers between the age of 6 and 14 (elementary and middle school) from the Tor Pignattara district, and selected among those who already play an instrument as representatives of the different communities present in the area (both Italians and immigrants). Participants will be selected not only according to their specific musical skills but also according to their motivation. A further selection criterion will be the national origin of the participants, in order to ensure the highest representation of communities in the neighborhood.
The classes aim to unify the cultural and musical experience of the students with the sharing of a common path and will lead to the formation of a real multi-ethnic small orchestra, which, through a weekly schedule, will build a common repertoire, composed by songs and texts from various parts of the world, working primarily on listening and sounds activities.
The course will be divided into 20 lessons of 3 hours each and will be open up to 25 participants.Classes will be held inside the classrooms provided by the following parishes with the cooperation of their priests:

- Parrocchia S. Luca Evangelista al Prenestino
Via Luchino dal Verme, 50 - Rome
Priest: Fr Remo Bonola

Parrocchia S.Elena fuori Porta Maggiore
Via Casilina, 205 - Rome
Priest: Fr Stefano Rulli

An integral part of the project is the preparation of a concert, which will be held at the final stage of the classes, in the theater of the parish of San Luca.
The project also includes for the production of a record entirely played by the multiethnic orchestra. This recording will be the final product  that each participant will receive and that will be distributed through various non-commercial channels (distribution to libraries, cultural associations, parishes, cultural institutions).
Classes will be led by Livio Minafra, famous young musician, particularly focused on music from the world and projects aimed to children and teenagers.

To sum up, the project includes:
- 20 meetings of 3 hours each with music lessons
- Involvement of 25 children
- Formation of a small multiethnic orchestra
- Final Concert
- Recording of the album
- Promotion and distribution of the album

September 2012- presentation to the media and recruitment of students;
from October 2012 to February 2013 - implementation of activities;
March 2013 - final rehearsal and preparation of the concert;
end of March 2013- the final concert and album recording;
April 2013 - presentation and promotion of the album.

Music, culture and art in many ways contribute to the generation of self- awareness and to the development of a greater sensitivity that are useful elements to prevent many children to go down those bad and dangerous paths (a very possible option, especially in neighborhoods like Tor Pignattara).
Musical education would become, in this case, an opportunity for cultural growth and, at the same time, the "ransom" for a group of children and young people who otherwise would not have other means of escape from such situations.
What is most important is the fact that such an experience will allow participants to feel part of a community. In addition, here is worth reminding how the child may be in some cases, the first cultural mediator for the family, transferring to the latter the values acquired.
In this sense, the formation of a small multi-ethnic orchestra will be the "business card" of an entire neighborhood and a community of migrants and residents in Rome.
The project's results may be seen on two levels: an "internal" level  (the children and young people who participate actively in the classes) and an "external" level (people who benefit indirectly from the project).

Internally the participants:
- learn to play together under the guidance of professional teachers;
- improve their musical skills;
- develop a greater sensitivity and awareness;
- learn to know and respect different cultures;
- be engaged through music, preventing them to go down bad paths.

Externally, the orchestra will be:
- a tangible sign of dialogue between cultures (migrants and residents);
- opportunity for social redemption in the eyes of the entire city of Rome;
- proof that even in poor areas can produce quality projects that can lead to concrete results.

The association "Musica e altre cose" is mainly engaged in the production and the promotion of cultural projects in poor and disadvantaged areas. Particular attention is always paid in respect to new languages and emerging artists in order to modulate and reformulate the codes of the spectacle fruition and, through them, to provide the population with new tools and opportunities for personal growth. The projects proposed by "Musica e altre cose" combine quality entertainment with training activities. Among the main projects carried out by the association are the festival "Colline dei teatri", scheduling performances by some of the best artists on the Italian contemporary scene and theatre workshops, for all those who never had a theatrical experience. The project was particularly appreciated because of its attention to the promotion of theatrical language in mountain areas, where theatre spectacles are not widely present.
Among the  initiatives worthy to be mentioned, there are the editions of the "Il suono intorno alle parole" festival, combining music and literature on specific artistic and social themes, and the "Falò e piccoli fuochi" festival, international exhibition of street theatre presented it in the suburbs of the city of Bari.
In 2009 the association was awarded the "Giovani artisti italiani" prize for the promotion of artistic activities abroad (Colombia).
Since its foundation, the association works together with public and private institutions.

Associazione Culturale Musica e altre cose
think global, act local
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