Mr Prefect, dear Pierre Monzani, Mr Senator, dear Vincent Eblé, Mr Deputy Mayor of Dammarie-les-Lys, dear Jean-Claude Mignon, Mr Mayor of Melun, dear Gérard Millet, Mr DeputyChairman of the High Council for Arts and Cultural Education, dear Didier Lockwood, Dear Jean-Claude Casadesus, dear Michel Jonasz, dear Jean-Claude Perrot, members of the mission, Dear Muriel Genthon, Regional Director of Cultural Affairs, Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
In his greetings to the world of culture which he had pronounced at the Cité de la musique in January 2010, the President of the Republic recalled the importance of education through practice, and its desire to revive reflection on ways to make it accessible to as many people as possible.
An old debate, if at all, on a goal that is nevertheless widely shared. For the past twenty years, the Ministry of Culture, the local authorities responsible for conservatories, the schools themselves, their directors, their teachers, the parents of pupils, have taken up this question. The conservatories have opened their pedagogical approaches and have given greater space to collective practices. I had the feeling, however, that much remains to be done: the representations of our fellow citizens, parents, children, adolescents, keep the image of a learning centered on scholarly music, on an access where theory can still precede practice, at the expense of intuitive approaches and a diversity of directories. The force of social intimidation, the force that makes music seem to be an area reserved for privileged categories of the population, too often continues to be the law.
For all these reasons, and in the spirit of the actions I have launched around the notion of shared culture, I have proposed to Didier Lockwood to carry out this mission, with eminent personalities of the musical world whose presence I greet today, to identify ways of generalizing pedagogical approaches based on the decompartmentalization of aesthetics, the enhancement of listening, the strengthening of collective practices. With the idea, beyond the aesthetic dimension of practice and musical teaching, that knowing how to listen to others, to listen to others, to produce oneself, to create singularity with others, is essential in the training that is offered to these future adults.
Why Didier Lockwood? Because you are both a talented musician who has been able to combine aesthetics in his very art, because you, the ardent defender of improvisation, are also an «institutional», vice-president of the High Council of Arts and Cultural Education, involved in all the causes that unite school and culture, listening to all the projects that aim to expand young people’s access to culture. With your school, which is a great teaching laboratory, we have just noticed, with your masterclasses in France and around the world, especially in American universities where you have been able to measure the benefits of a greater openness of teaching to workshop formats, to jazz, to popular music, I knew that you would have the capacity to federate, by your commitment and your communicative enthusiasm, the greatest personalities around an essential work of common reflection.
To this is added your reflection, within the High Council of Arts and Cultural Education, on the contribution of new technologies to the creation and generalization of new pedagogical tools that place the intuition and plasticity of the musician’s body at the heart of the teaching of musical practices.
I wanted to visit your school a long time ago. I promised the Deputy Mayor of Dammarie, Jean-Claude Mignon. An original school, with international influence, strongly supported by local authorities, offering diversified courses for young people but also for adults in continuing education, and now recognized as part of the public offering of musical higher education, in the framework of a collaboration with the Paris/Boulogne Billancourt higher education pole, for the award of the National Higher Professional Diploma in Jazz and Contemporary Music, in connection with the university.
Talking about art teaching here is also an opportunity to remember that the department of Seine et Marne includes 15 conservatories, including the one in Melun, nearby. Mr. Mayor Gérard Millet has just introduced me to the model of the future establishment of the Melun Conservatory, which testifies to this city’s commitment to arts education. The Seine-et-Marne region has mobilized a lot in the implementation of the August 2004 law, establishing a departmental plan of artistic teachings particularly relevant, aiming at the territorial structuring and the readability of the offer. I am pleased that Mr. Eblé and the department’s director of cultural action, Jean-Claude Perrot, have joined us today to take an active part in this mission. I know they are both particularly open to the ideas that are in this report.
I am thinking in speaking here before you of transmission and especially of musical transmission, in Fontainebleau, which we are close to, where took place the first festival of Art History, partly devoted to teaching the history of the arts introduced to the school, and where the 2012 edition that we are preparing will take place. Fontainebleau is also Nadia Boulanger and the Franco-American conservatory, whose influence we know in the development of our musical life, and the role played there, dear Jean-Claude, Robert Casadesus.
In order for you to carry out this mission, I wished that it could be supported by a small working group, in order to promote the richness of exchanges, by hearing from as many actors as possible so that you can hear from as many different points of view as possible. Many personalities, artists and institutions, parents of students, responded. It is undeniably a significant sign of the interest shown in issues related to the teaching of music, instead of current music, traditional music, improvised music in the demand expressed to the communities by the citizens, This is also reflected in the high expectations expressed today, particularly among adolescents.
I take from this report, which is very rich, two guiding ideas for the future:
- Provide children with less “academic” access to music, open to diversity, based on intuition and listening, with room for improvisation, rhythm and orality. The idea of a two-pole structure deserves to be deepened, with common core and pedagogical exchanges between so-called classical music of written tradition (ancient, classical, contemporary, etc.) and so-called popular music of oral tradition (traditional, current, improvised, etc.), whose approach would no longer be lived as a simple complement to academic practice.
- Expansion of conservatories into “arts schools”. It is a matter of opening these institutions not only to music, dance and theatre, but also to the plastic arts and circus - disciplines today supported by the voluntary sector, certainly often municipal, but without the same recognition, without any real articulation between complementary practices in the training of children and adolescents.
These proposals are ambitious. They call for a collective reflection that I wish to open with the local authorities to which these institutions belong. It is not for the State alone to decide on this matter. I will submit these lines of work to the associations representing local and regional authorities within the framework of the Council of Local and Regional Authorities for Cultural Development during its plenary session on 31 January, in connection with the issue of the 2004 arts education reform.
We have had the opportunity, in the framework of this Council, to have very rich exchanges on the reform that the August 2004 law launched, and which you know has met with many difficulties, with debates between State and local authorities, but also between associations of communities when it is not within these associations themselves. The subject, seemingly inextricable at first, has now matured a great deal, thanks in particular to Senator Morin-Desailly, author of a report that now refers, thanks to the debate held in the Senate in the fall of 2009 on this theme at her initiative, thanks to the work then carried out by the State and local authorities within the Council of Local and Regional Authorities for Cultural Development, and finally thanks to the last phase of hearings conducted by Ms Morin-Desailly. In spite of these efforts, in spite of my desire to make it a success, in spite of the awareness by all the actors concerned, and especially the elected representatives, of the importance of these subjects, we were unable to succeed. I believe that the report you have given me can allow us to take up the reflection “from the top”, by working together on the very objectives of artistic teachings and their articulation with their environment.
It seems to me important that this reflection be global and integrate the articulation of artistic teachings with all the mechanisms that contribute to young people’s access to music. Bridges must be established, as the report points out, between schools and conservatories, in order to gradually bring children to «dare» the conservatory.
Some devices focus on making music discover from an early age, and this for years. I am thinking for example of the Jeunesses musicales de France, which have been working in this direction for 70 years. I went to Boulogne-Billancourt last Saturday to present the upcoming season of this dynamic association. I am also thinking of measures such as Dix mois d'Ecole et d'Opéra, but also, Mr. Mayor, of the orchestral classes, an area in which your city is doing an exemplary job in connection with the Didier Lockwood music centre. With Luc Chatel, I have a great interest in the development of orchestral practices in school. Our two ministries have worked hard on this subject in recent months to ensure that these practices find their full place in the educational landscape, thanks to a joint circular that will be published very soon, and which will specify for the attention of the actors concerned the framework in which these practices are intended to develop. There are more than 600 orchestral practice experiences at school, initiated by schools, associations or conservatories, throughout the territory. That is a lot, but I hope there will be more. Participation in orchestral practices in the school produces remarkable results, and I will have the opportunity to come back to this shortly with my colleague Luc Chatel.
We must not hesitate to innovate in these matters, and this is what Laurent Bayle, whose presence I welcome today, was able to propose to us, with the Conseil de la création artistique, by launching the DEMOS experiment, to which I have the greatest interest. This experience, inspired by El Sistema of Venezuela, gathers 450 young people from 6 to 12 years without previous musical practice, supervised by the musicians of the Paris Orchestra, the Divertimento orchestra of the city of Stains but also by conservatory teachers and DUMISTES. It offers an intensive and supervised learning of orchestral practice, for young people from the target areas of city policy in Paris and Ile-de-France, who do not have the economic resources, social or cultural to access classical music in existing institutions. This initiative is aimed specifically at children and adolescents who would never dare to enter a conservatory. The approach combines a collective pedagogy based on instrumental practice, outside of school time, and social and educational monitoring involving musicians and social experts. It also allows us to lift the social and cultural barriers linked to musical practice, to foster the confrontation with artistic excellence, to evolve the representations related to classical music, to support the emergence of young talents if necessary, and to initiate innovative pedagogical practices.
All these experiences are complementary and are moving in the right direction. I hope at the beginning of the year that this movement will be continued and developed, and I am convinced that the remarkable work that has just been carried out opens up new avenues and new horizons.