Experience in Portugal

This methodology was used in four coordinated music classes (from 5th to 8th year) at Fontes Pereira de Melo school. The creative process for this project went through the following steps:


Definition of a general theme to be covered in the operas to be created , which theme will serve as a common thread between the four operas to be created. More than just isolated products, we wanted to ensure they had a consistent and logical rationale, rather than the isolated choice between programme contents in mainstream schools.

Once the general theme was defined – Earth, a planet with life – the group undertook to follow plans prepared in the meantime and the activities on them.


Use in the classroom: the class is divided into small groups (normally groups of 4). The groups have a time limit previously defined by the teacher and work on just one aspect of the opera: brainstorming words or expressions around an idea – normally the theme of the opera, creating the characters, their physical and psychological characterisation, the story/libretto, the limits of the sound world of the opera theme… Naturally, the group is unable to completely exhaust the theme presented in the time allotted. Nor is that what is wanted because next, the group will leave the workstation they had been working at and move on to the next one, where they will find, for example, characters different from the ones they had thought of, characteristics different from the ones their group thought of, etc. Therefore, more than a substitutive process, the group has to contribute with their ideas to add to the aspect worked on; there is thus constant sharing, respect for the ideas already thought of, and – perhaps most importantly – a constant challenge to creativity, as no character, story, sound world, …, will ever be the same as the initial idea each one had of the theme and that the group imagined.

This process is repeated until there is already enough material to begin thinking of transferring it to the stage, to the orchestra, to the artistic and sewing club, at which time this rotational system ends, giving way to more specific work. Aiming at the scenic or musical implementation leads to work that is more focused on details, which implies discussing stage movements or sound universes, the use of certain props or the idea of costumes, writing the music on scores or a full text rehearsal, … At this time, the trainers will be responsible for guiding the working times, as well as contributing towards the actual feasibility of the ideas they intend to put into practice in order to offer a cohesive final product and not a pastiche of inspiration.

For the trainers, it is a process of charting a course: knowing where they're coming from but not knowing where they're going to end up, but the voyage will have to be worth it! For the students, it is a serious thing that came from a game, a satisfactory manipulation of creativity, of play, of exploration, of sharing the process… of the pleasure of travelling!


Extracurricular enrichment activities:

  • Participation by students and teachers at the X Musical Entertainers Course at Casa da Música;
  • Participation by students in two workshops organised by Casa da Música: Digitópia and Musicália;
  • Study visit to the Visionarium in Santa Maria da Feira;
  • Study visit to the Astronomic Observatory and Geophysical Centre in Coimbra;
  • Artistic and sewing clubs organised by parents and guardians.

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