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Teacher Sofia Cosme's Artistic Residency excites young students from Mucifal

The director of the Metropolitana Music Conservatory spent a week at Mucifal Primary School talking about Beethoven and building instruments with the children to play the German composer’s works. Days that the students “will never forget”.

Expectation was high. “I knew there was great enthusiasm from all the students and, on the way to school, I was going with this sense of responsibility: ‘will I disappoint the kids’ expectations?”. The question echoed in the head of Sofia Cosme, teacher and director of the Metropolitana Conservatory.

The artistic residence at the Escola Básica do Mucifal, a small locality in the parish of Colares, in the municipality of Sintra, was a success. It had been requested by the Ministry of Education, as one of the counterparts for the official support Metropolitana receives every year for its pedagogical work with its schools.

“The Ministry put out a call for tenders, and it was this school that won, so there was great enthusiasm in the school community”, says Sofia, who spent five mornings and two afternoons last week with the 20 pupils, children aged between eight and ten, in the third year of schooling.

Sofia Cosme is all smiles when she makes her final assessment. “It was fantastic! This type of initiative is very important for them and it draws the attention of young people to classical music”, says the teacher, who goes further: “I am sure that they will never forget this week and what they have learnt. For everything we did, this will be something that will stay with them forever.”

The experience happened for the first time at Metropolitana and, therefore, the theme of the artistic residence – the life of Beethoven – was chosen by Sofia Cosme. The week before she arrived at Mucifal, “their teacher had been in class working with the pupils on the theme, so that the children already had some insight” into the composer’s life.

“When I arrived, they already had a clear notion of who Beethoven had been. And my idea was to make a video with the children about the composer’s life, in which each of us had to make all the sounds of the video soundtrack. And we had to build the instruments ourselves”, she explains.

The initiative was a success. “We built instruments from recyclable materials. Every day we had an instrument-building session. In the first days I was the one who gave them ideas for percussion, wind and string instruments. Over the days, we also had a recording session for the video and they were the ones who gave a lot of ideas.”

Pulling for the originality and creativity of the children was what most seduced the director of the Metropolitana Conservatory. “The class loved it. The kids were very enthusiastic, they were super involved. Sometimes it was even difficult to control the level of their involvement and excitement, because it was something different that they were not used to”, says Sofia Cosme with a smile.

There was also time, “between games and physical activities”, to share with the students “basic notions of music”. “I told them about the pulse, the height of the notes, the volume of sound, the production of sound itself, among other things”. In the final presentation, the group proudly showed the video they made, sang the songs and showed the instruments they built throughout the week”.