The conductor Dritan Lumshi: “Working with children’s choirs is one of the most beautiful experiences we are going through”
This evening in Tirana in one of the most popular halls, such as the Cultural Center near the Orthodox Church, will be held the concert titled “Come and sing with us”. This concert is part of the “Education through Culture” program that the National Theater of Opera and Ballet has developed with the 9-year schools of the capital. Hundreds of children from these schools are prepared in four months by TKOB choir singers to sing in the choir and after the competition of yesterday they will perform tonight at the final. The songs included in the repertoire are from Albanian and foreign composers. Opusalb talked to Dritan Lumshi, the conductor who worked on this project to present it tonight to the audience. Find following our conversation!
Opusalb: Dritan how was it to work with kids, how do they find themselves singing in choir?
D. Lumshi: Working with children is one of the most beautiful experiences we are going through. Those who think that today’s children have no interest in classical music are wrong. They are very original and very talented. In our schools the choirs “existed” or were raised only in the case of holidays and not as a choral politician. In most cases, we decided to set up a soloist and the kids were accompanying us in unison as we have now tried to sing with two voices, which is difficult if you do not have the time, experience and the right training. It is up to us to deploy them in the best possible way, to make their lives more beautiful, more diverse and remove them from the problems of the time.
Opusalb: What was the biggest difficulty you met in this journey?
D. Lumshi: When a job is done for sure there are a lot of difficulties. And the difficulty begins exactly where it should not have been. In our schools the music hour is only one hour per week, which is a prerequisite for acquiring musical knowledge. Another difficulty I have found is the way of organizing the classroom. Teachers have only a book and no instrument. The only “instrument” is their voice, which is often forced to put tape on the tape, which forces children to become imitators of different professional models. And this is certainly a “solution” of the teachers themselves so as not to turn the music clock into monotonous. Often times, the children sing in the classroom on a musical basis with a singer who can do any of us in his home, but not in a classroom. This is inexcusable. Meanwhile, there are many teachers who accompany children with musical instruments that they have provided for themselves. In these cases the result is certainly the highest. In addition, children need music practices such as “Come and sing with us”. And this can not only be seasonal but be programmed even in the curriculum. Why not exist coral classes here here as well as in the developed countries? This is also a matter of choice. There are many examples from the world, enough to be the will and the good wish.
Opusalb: What do children know about music in our schools?
D. Lumshi: Of course children have musical knowledge, but I am convinced that they are merely a theoretical aspect of adapting to the textbook. It’s not that I did some good textual analysis to come to a conclusion, but I just transmitted what I heard from music teachers all this year. I think we have to be more practical with children as well as choosing their materials in textbooks. They are truly fascinating if you do the right thing with them.
Opusalb: Do you think the content of music is appreciated by teachers and children?
D. Lumshi: I do not believe there should be a teacher not to appreciate his subject and more than the pupils. Students appreciate all the subjects but the key is always in the one who drives it. Throughout these days, despite being fully charged, they show a commitment that we should envy in adults.
Opusalb: What repertoire do you think it appropriate for children?
D. Lumshi: There is a lot of repertory for children, is enough to know how to choose. This is also noted in the concrete case in the choices of the choir competition materials. We have to make the selection carefully by leaving them to their world and not to grow ahead of time. Time has shown that children’s festivals are very much needed and many songs that have emerged from them have been incredibly successful. From our child, we still remember the grandmother’s song today, how do you find it, … etc etc. Likewise, children’s operas have been written by our composers enough to be carefully reviewed. If we were to refer to the singer in the choir with the term “white voices”, characteristic for their age has endless repertoire from the genre to the opera singing.