QuerKlang - Experimental composing at school

The subject "new music" and also the independent creation of music is often ignored in music lessons at school.

This circumstance was already kept in mind in other countries since the 1990s: a new music curriculum was implemented in Great Britain in 1992 on the initiative of Richard McNicol, which compels professional musicians to regularly compose with pupils, perform new music and therefore promote the understanding for new music.

In dependence of this idea of the cooperation between musicians and schools the project "KlangNetze" was brought to life in Austria in 1993 under the direction of Hans Schneider, which by now has encouraged  hundreds of pupils in all Austrian federal states to deal experimentally with advanced musical material and to develop their own music in a classroom context. The original compositions were introduced to a broader public within the scope of contemporary music festivals.

The music-educational project "QuerKlang" takes up these models which have been successfully tested in England and Austria. The basic aim of the project consists in encouraging pupils to deal independently with musical material and how to form it, to experience it as a personal means of expression, and at the same time to develop curiosity, tolerance and the understanding of the variety of creating contemporary music. The focus is not on the hearing, absorbing, and handling of well-chosen works of contemporary music, but also on the experimental, independent handling of a variety of musical materials and musical ideas.

The project works in the form of 5-6 teams per cycle and every team consists of a composer, a music teacher and two students of music educational theory (courses of instrumental educational theory and school music). Every school class is visited by one of the teams during ten double hours in which they work together.

An innovative element in the Berlin variation of the model is the inclusion of music students who are preparing for the teaching profession. The realisation of the project at Berlin schools is embedded in a music-educational seminar at the Universität der Künste Berlin, which serves as the education of teaching post-graduate students in the field of music. Students thus have the possibility to get to know the practical teaching world in a school; for music teachers on the other hand the project serves as an advanced training offer; and, finally, composers encounter unusually with potential listeners of their works.

In this manner, three working worlds that are usually independent from another are tied together: the world of the school, the world of the university education and the world of the freelance composer. The fact that the linking of these different worlds does not always run without problems, but that differences also become clear, is absolutely the purpose of the project. Because of these differences, released energies and tensions lead to the development of the new.

The project is continuously evaluated by a management team which at the same time offers to the teams an educational, artistic and organizational frame for the work in schools and the opportunity to exchange thoughts about the experiences they have gained.

5 to 6 schools can take part per cycle.