Element 2: Preparing the meeting



Introducing a musician or a group of professional musicians to the class

Preparation for meeting professional musicians

Step 1 In advance of the meeting

Step 2 Preparing to meet the musicians

  1. Collective oral expression: music and you
  2. Listen to music from different eras / styles, creating an active listening sheet
  3. Collective oral expression: prepare the first exchange with the musicians

Duration: 2 x 45 min

Age: from age 8

Key words creativity and entrepreneurship: working in teams, flow of ideas, finding of opportunities, sensibility for problems diversity, developpment of ideas and solutions



Step 1 In advance of the meeting

The teacher proposes listening to the children’s pieces in various styles and aesthetics, written for the instruments which will be played by the musicians when they come to class.

NB: a choice may be made to not have students listen to contemporary music before the meeting.

Some important pieces in the history of the flute:

The flutes were built of wood, and were then much less powerful. Their essentially melodic role was accompanied by a continuous bass played on the harpsichord or viola da gamba. The volume was conducive to the music room.

J.S. BACH (1685-1750)
Sonata in E minor for flute and continuo basso BWV 1034

Technically, the instrument has developed significantly, allowing composers (Mozart among others) to develop instrumental writing. Thanks to these developments, the virtuosity of the performers developed and strengthened the instrument’s solo and melodic role.

Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756-1791)
Concerto No. 1 in G major K. 313 (1778)

The romantic period puts the flute at the centre of the orchestra, the excluding soloist roles hitherto favoured, given the high range of the instrument.

Johannes BRAHMS (1833-1897)
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, op. 98 (1884-1885)

Syrinx by Claude Debussy, is the first piece to use modern instruments as we know them today. The instrument, with a much more accessible and fast key system allows for a virtuosity not reached before. The composers then began to write pieces restoring the flute’s solo role.

CLAUDE DEBUSSY (1862 – 1918)
Syrinx (1913)

The twentieth century is the century of all possibilities. Several composer construct and experiment with new rules, calling constantly into question the earlier ones.

Bryan Ferneyhough worked on notation and formal virtuosity In Cassandra’s Dream SongHe worked on the score-achievement report. The dense score is not intended to be executed in an ‘ideal’ way but to be performed spontaneously by the performer who can choose the order of the segments played at the moment of playing them.

Salvatore Sciarrino developed a mass of new techniques in a completely different way, to be as close as possible to the performers. By experimenting with new modes of play, the flute can develop percussive sounds, or new complex tones resulting from clusters.

Finally, the twentieth and twenty-first centuries are conducive to the fusion of cultures. Joji Yuasa, for example, wrote in the western musical system for ancient Japanese instruments to be played in new ways. He then sought to integrate Japanese instruments into Western instrumentation. Conversely, he also wrote for Western instruments, developing new techniques inspired by the sounds and modes of playing Japanese music.

Brian FERNEYHOUGH (b.1943)
Cassandra’s Dream Song pour flûte (1970)

Salvatore SCIARRINO (b .1947)
Hermes (1984)
Venere che le Grazie la fioriscono (1989)

Jōji YUASA (b.1929)
Maibataraki pour flute Alto (1987)

Some milestones in the evolution of percussion:

-Beethoven (1870-1927): The role of percussion is here essentially a role of punctuation. The timpani, often given hammering notes, is played at the end of a phrase, to trigger a soloist’s phrase or to impart a rhythm to the orchestra.

-In Brahms (1833-1897), the timpani are considered as advantageous for their sound as it participates in the power and mass of the orchestra.

-Stravinsky (1882-1971) and Berlioz (1803-1869) introduced the timpani as a solo instrument in the orchestra. In The Rite of Spring the predominant rhythmic theme of the timpani prints its identity to the “glorification of the chosen” movement. As for Berlioz, it uses up to 16 timpani in his requiem.

“Le Marteau sans maître ” is a work composed by the composer and conductor Pierre Boulez (1925-2016) in 1955. It is representative of the French school of integral serialism, extending current musical serialism. One could say that serialism is a compositional strategy that consists in working on a series of notes through various processes, in a rigorous, even rigid way.

Integral serialism consists in applying these processes (mirror, inversion, repetition, etc.) to all the parameters that construct the work: beyond the working timbre, dynamics, speed, etc …

The percussions are used in very fine manner, supporting the dynamic contrasts and rhythmic precision of the series.

Ionization by Edgar Varèse (1883-1965), is regarded as the first piece dedicated to percussive instrumentation at a time when this was unknown. With 13 percussionists surrounding over 40 instruments, Varèse composed his energetic and innovative piece in 1931,to be critically acclaimed during its presentation to the French public, which was then immersed in the contemporary ‘wisdom’ of neoclassicism. It reveals that a theme can be rhythmic rather than melodic and Varese presents the incredible richness of timbre of the percussion family.

Step 2 Preparing to meet the musicians

  1. Collective oral expression: music and you
  • what music do you like?
  • who plays an instrument in class?
  • do you know any musicians?
  • where can we meet musicians?
  • have you ever attended a concert or an event in which musicians were involved (spectacle, performance, festival, party, etc.)?


  1. Listen to music from different eras / styles, creating an active listening sheet

Each day, a piece of work is listened to in class and then the student completes his listening sheet.

Proposals to guide the creation of a listening sheet; the teacher can create it with the students by encouraging them to propose and then choose the questions to be asked, in order to listen actively:

  • what did I hear (instrumental / vocal, soloist or not, any instrumental training / what voice: soprano / alto / tenor / bass)
  • how is the piece constructed: verse / chorus (ABACADA etc.), recurring theme, are there different sections, how many, how they are organised, or connected?
  • what are my feelings listening to this music? (Emotion, joy, fear, relaxation, sadness, etc.)
  • this music makes me think of what? (film music, landscape, ocean, season, animal, vehicle, street scene, colour, painting, light, funfair, sound machine, etc.)
  • establish a vocabulary with the students to describe a sound, talk about listening: speed, intensity, hue, dynamic, movement, character, height variation, density, stroke, texture, mode of play, brightness, tone, taste, space, fantasy, phrasing, arrangement, etc.
  • create a listening sheet that the student can fill out after each listening


  1. Collective oral expression: prepare the first exchange with the musicians
  • seek and collectively gather questions we would ask musicians if we had the opportunity to meet them
  • list these questions in writing to prepare for the first meeting with the musicians


The pupils are able to:

  • seek and collectively gather questions;
  • describe a sound;
  • talk about listening.


According to the proposals: no equipment needed or CD player or DVD player or internet access