martin-schaefferI would like to realize with these children a dream which I have had since a long time: to found a CHILDRENS FOLK ORCHESTRA in The Hague – an orchestra where also the youngest 6-year-olds can play together with the oldest 12/14-year-olds. Folk music, gypsy music, Klezmer music, tango, waltzes and popular melodies from the classics (musicals, opera, operettas and cinema). An orchestra where you learn to play the violin, where you learn to play music together while playing folk music: a kind of GYPSY ACADEMY…

Here, in such a beautiful city, an emblem of peace and justice, a lot of communities joined, leaving behind their countries, to learn how to live happily together. Spanish, English, German, Italian, Dutch, French, Turkish, Iranian, Chinese, American, Canadian: a lot of families gather for violin lessons for their children from different parts of Europe and also from the rest of the world.

In the international schools, children learn from their differences, mixing many languages or cultural backgrounds. In everyday life and in the Suzuki group violin lessons, sharing with Dutch children extra curriculum activities or simply playing with the boy or the girl next door, they assimilate also the Dutch language and culture. Even if they speak English, they do believe in Sinterklaas. They are not expats but international world citizens! And so are the Dutch children who learn about different habits outside the violin lessons.

They also are able to figure out and celebrate Europe. The Gypsy Academy-project is to gather them in music.

“We are full of admiration for the gypsies. How they play their instrument. How they play violin with such a joy and freedom and how they seem to improvise”

vioolles gipsy grabbelrokWelcome to everyone, wherever you may come from.

When I saw Herr Martin Schaefer work with children in 2006 in Turin during an international Suzuki Convention. I heard my own pupils and parents talk about him enthusiastically, I dared to ask him to work with my own students in The Hague. He accepted my invitation to teach in our annual Pinkster workshop.  Workshops like this one are organized all over the world. They are highly valued by participating children and parents alike. It is an event that inspires and stimulates to perfect their level of fluency on the violin, be it Twinkle Little Star or, three years later the Bach concerto for two violins. it takes place each year during the three day Whitsun holiday at end of May. Ever since – the parents and children have requested he would come also during the school year.

Suzuki children who conitnued  violin at the Royal Conservatory often say in retrospective that these workshops made the difference. Here candy and play are combined, children make fun with their instruments, as well as working very seriously to improve their theory and violins skills. (You can get a taste of this in the slide show in this website)

From hearsay people know how valuable these workshops are. But they make for an experience you just can’t explain, you must have been there. They are demanding in terms of energy and stamina, but so rewarding that no one ever regrets participating.

Please remember that a Suzuki child of any age can attend such a workshop anywhere in the world. Everywhere you can learn fresh approaches and get explanations that really enhance your playing.

In The Hague we have  established a Gypsy Academy where this spirit is omnipresent, thanks to Herr Schaefer…!

vioolles-stienekeJuffie Stieneke Voorhoeve-Poot geeft al meer dan 40 jaar enthousiast vioolles volgens de Suzuki-methode. Veel van haar leerlingen stroomden op jonge leeftijd door naar het Koninklijk Conservatorium en staan nu op internationale concertpodia of geven inmiddels zelf vioolles. Vele anderen spelen met plezier als hobby in orkesten. Stieneke vindt vioolles geven aan kinderen het leukste beroep dat er bestaat en verwondert zich elk jaar weer over hoe een kind van niets tot iet komt, en na twee maanden ineens Kortjakje kan spelen, een jaar later vibreert en na 2 ½ jaar een Vivaldi concert over het voetlicht kan brengen.
De jaarlijkse Pinksterworkshop maakt kinderen en ouders elke keer opnieuw enthousiast. Leerkrachten uit Engeland, Amerika, Ierland, Frankrijk en België geven in een andere taal les en letten weer op andere dingen, terwijl de liedjes hetzelfde zijn.

Sinds het vertrek  van Herr Schaefer uit Den Haag in 2017 wegens ziekte nodigde Stieneke twee andere Volks- en Zigeunermuziek specialisten uit. oudleerlinge Annemarie van Prooijen en Noa Eyl. Meer ver hen volgt later.Zij inspireren de huidge generatie kindeen op hun beurt enorm!

En Stieneke op haar beurt draagt de kennis van de Gyspy muziek over op kinderen  en hun leraren en begeleiders in Zuid Afrika, ( Durban, Pretoria, Kaapstad)  Indonesie en Bali, USA ( Bloomington, Brooklyn, New York)