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Our musical school

Cantaleum Zurich aims to fill a niche in the field of arts education in Switzerland by not only supporting students in their academic achievement, but also in their musical development, as well.

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Central to musical education at Cantaleum is the human voice as an essential instrument. Well-planned vocal training developed with children's capabilities in mind is the foundation for making music at Cantaleum, whether in a group (chamber music, choral) or solo. The acquisition of vocal skills opens the doors to many creative possibilities.

In addition, Cantaleum Zürich recommends supplementary musical instrument lessons. At Cantaleum, a student will receive guidance in choosing a suitable instrument and have access to highly-qualified teachers, both of which are crucially important to a child's musical success.

The artistry and skill that results from musical training is not always just meant for the artist alone: it can also be shared with an audience. Through various types of concerts, students can demonstrate their musicianship and progress in their work. Performing for an audience should be a fun, enjoyable and positive experience for students. Such self-affirming moments in a child's development are invaluable and have a lifelong effect.

Combining early musical training with academic learning is an ideal way to give children positive guiding principles and to strengthen their motivation to learn.

Our musical concept

Konrad von Aarburg

Artistic Director, Zurich Boys’ Choir

School Co-Director, Cantaleum Zurich

 

Making music

Making music is a central component of our school. Years of experience and numerous scientific studies have shown that a comprehensive and intellectually-challenging approach to musical pedagogy has a positive effect on the personal development of young people.

Music-making requires expressing emotions in a nuanced way. A musical idea can be conveyed through one’s individuality and personality. Imagination and creativity, along with the willingness to self-reflect, are vital to music-making. Music is often a reflection and an examination of ourselves.

Similar to how a visual artist’s hands are the tools for his/her work, musical instruments are the tools for musical work. Of these musical instruments, the human voice is the most natural and personal, and its possibilities and finesse are unparalleled.

 

Singing

Everyone can sing and everyone can feel emotions through singing. We often sing to express joy, but equally intensely, we sing to lament our sorrows. The intensity and the diversity of expression are directly related to our vocal techniques.

Singing involves body, spirit, character and soul, and it requires self-reflection. At Cantaleum, our students learn these skills: How do we breathe? How is my posture? How do I develop resonance? Where am I blocked? What effect does my voice and my singing have on others? What combination of nuances will reinforce vocal tone and carry my voice with resonance?

We have seen both at Cantaleum and in our choirs, time and again, how meaningful one’s own resonating voice and the voices of other musicians can be for the listener. To discover one’s voice is often a revelation for those who have embarked on this journey.

The next step: making music together!

 

Choral singing

As soon as we start practicing our musical skills together with other people, a whole new dimension of music-making opens up. Choral singing is not merely the assembly of a multitude of voices, but rather a group of musicians pursuing a common goal, striving and focusing together in the creative interpretation of a musical piece, often resulting in a happy sense of satisfaction. The more challenging the music is, the more pronounced the demands are on the musician, but equally pronounced are the positive effects on the musician’s well-being.

Choral vocalists have their individual strengths and characters, but also a common goal in mind. The musical success of a choir is dependent on various factors, the most important of which is the ability to listen to each other. The secret to making music together is the interchange between the loud parts and the quiet parts. The quiet parts allow others to have their say and the loud parts allow me to have my say. Listening and being heard at the same time leads to a harmony that is achieved through detailed work, and it is enjoyable to both the musicians and the audience.

The primary focus on classical choral singing is important because it often requires one to sing the “quiet parts.” Success with these quiet parts makes the “loud” ones all the more enjoyable.

 

Instrumental music-making

Much of the pedagogical theory in the above sections apply to instrumental music-making. We also promote instrumental musical skills at Cantaleum—we provide students the space and time to practice their instruments so that they can then play either as an individual or in an orchestra. However, our main focus remains on singing, as this is an instrument that everyone carries with them and is, as mentioned previously, the most personal means of self-expression.

 

Prerequisites / Tools

The central pillar of musical education at Cantaleum is the voice as it is used in choral singing or in individual voice training. Additional skills that are necessary for a comprehensive musical education include:

  • Reading and writing music

  • Knowledge of musical keys (major, minor, etc.)

  • Rhythmic knowledge and skill

  • Functional musical analysis
     

Music lessons are additionally supplemented by music history, studies of individual musical works, theatre, and dance.

 

Why is musical education important?

Working closely and immersively on oneself and on music is a value that no longer seems to be a given. Our children find themselves in a highly-interconnected world that often allows no time for thoroughness and depth. At Cantaleum, we would like to retain that value and counter superficiality through substance. Making music demands perseverance, but it also provides the rewards of personal growth and joy.

 

Music that is intellectually stimulating has a harmonising effect and singing has been proven to reduce stress. Music-making promotes the ability to concentrate and builds a sense of community.

 

In closing, here are a few samples of our music-making:

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