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The "Listen to 5 minutes of classical music" project

Wednesday, 27 March 2024 , ora 11.08

The project Listen to 5 minutes of classical music run by Radio Romania Muzical has been a national programme in Romanian schools since 2014 thanks to a partnership between Radio Romania and the Ministry of Education. Designed as a support for music teachers or for teachers who want to apply it in the classroom, the project brings classical music closer to children in the simplest way, through the concrete listening of materials provided by Radio România Muzical that include both a musical work and a story about that piece of music.

In order to see how this programme works in practice, I visited the 98th Secondary School in the capital and walked through the door of the 7th C class.

When you listen to classical music at school how does it make you feel?

- It relaxes me. I can concentrate better in class.

Do you do anything else during this time when you listen?

- No.

Do you concentrate only on listening?

- Only on listening.

Do you continue listening at home?

- No.

Only in music class?

- Only in music class.

But could you listen at home a little?

- I could!

More than five minutes?

- Yes.

Do you listen to classical music? How do you feel about listening to classical music at school?

- Like my colleague said, it makes me feel very relaxed and...

Does it change your mood?

- It definitely helps me somehow to get rid of all my worries when I listen to music in general, not just classical music. But, yeah...

And could you continue it at home or just go to school?

- I could do it at home, of course!

How do you feel when you listen to classical music?

- I feel very relaxed and somehow I like to imagine I'm playing and pretend I'm performing. And that's pretty much it.

Do you continue auditioning at home?

- Sometimes I also listen to classical music, not necessarily what's on this 5 minutes of classical music project, but what else I have in my playlist.

What does classical music do for you?

- It helps me relax or get into a certain mood, depending on how I'm feeling at the time.

Mrs. Andreea Năstase, music education teacher:

I think somewhere in 2019 I first heard about this project. I was curious to discover it, then I thought it was a very interesting idea. Later I came to the class and started implementing it. Of course at first I was met with reactions. There were children who said that they were used to this kind of music because they listen to it at home, and I was very pleased to find out that classical music is still played in Romanian homes, but also reactions: Madam, why do we have to listen to this music? A simple reason that came to my mind at the time was that after hundreds of years we still listen to this music? Could that be a strong enough reason? Slowly, slowly they got used to it and even started to like it. Why? Because they were musical works that gave them a certain state of relaxation, of tranquillity. They were restless after certain hours and needed that breath of oxygen, to recharge to keep going until the end of the day. By getting the children used to this project we went further and today we implement it in all secondary school classes, because I teach them all. At the beginning of class they know, they wait for me with their laptops on, with the Radio Romania Music website open, and we listen to the works proposed by this project. We go on with the audition during the class, maybe even to other pieces, and yes, the children got used to it and even started to like it. Making them aware of this side of it I think helps them a lot in guiding themselves and making choices in life that are right for them. It's definitely beneficial for music education classes. Kids, in addition to paying attention to what they are listening to, are learning information they may not be able to learn from other sources. It's beneficial for music education class, and the class would be somewhat incomplete if I didn't have this project.

At School No. 98 we also met the headmistress Ionica Dumitrescu, who told us that the project Listen to 5 minutes of classical music is successfully implemented among students:

The children love it, and Andreea teaches all middle school classes. We have children and children. It has absolutely caught on in all classes and I think it has caught on most in classes where children have a certain emotional profile, are more energetic, are slightly undisciplined, don't have a special relationship with their family at home and need to be touched on the soul. And music succeeds in touching their souls and somehow, without realising it, a whole, a communion, is created there, only if you stay with them. It unites them as a group. I tell them to close their eyes when they listen to music. I teach personal development through theatre and I play them classical music as background when I teach the class. I've played them once, I've played them twice, and now every day the 5th graders are waiting for me with music on mute, music they don't discover at home, but I've made them curious. We planted the seed and they also go home where they have family and slowly, slowly, from school they go to their families and maybe we manage to create a society that also listens to classical music, because it's clear that it's balm for the mind and soul, because this is where the knowledge part comes in, because they have to find out which composer. They go and search, what the aria is. They have to search and then they enrich their general culture. We are happy and we want to continue this programme throughout the school. Even the little ones have borrowed the model of good practice and the teachers. They also play classical music and I go into a class easily and it touches the atmosphere because it calms them down. They draw and so interdisciplinarity comes into play. We can't help but enjoy it and it's clearly good for the children.

Reportage made by Ioana Țintea
Translated by Miruna-Gabriela Flipache,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu