Face to face

Students meet artists online in virtual classroom

Photo that shows 20200219 Virutelles Klassenzimmer Vision String Quartett C Andrea Kremper 2. © Andrea Kremper
© Andrea Kremper

As part of our HOUSE FESTIVAL, students from Gaggenau, Sasbach, Freiburg, Trossingen, and Biberach got very special glimpses into the world of classical music. Under the auspices of our school project Columbus, funded by GRENKE AG, Christian Tetzlaff, Julian Prégardien, and the musicians of the Vision String Quartet motivated their young audience to make their own musical discoveries with a lot of dedication and a good dose of humor. They performed specially for the youngsters, talked casually about their lives as artists, gave tips on practicing, and also listened eagerly when the pupils played something themselves. In times of closed concert halls and distance learning, it was an impressive experience for the young people to have the musicians answer their questions live almost as if they were visiting them in their very own homes.

Head of the participation division at the Festspielhaus Christian Vierling, who organized the virtual classroom format, is delighted with the positive response from the students: “Despite the holidays, 75 students discussed and made music with the artists and learned from each other over the course of three days. We see this as a great success and an incentive to continue offering such formats in the future as well as to expand our offering.”

Not only the young people and their teachers benefit from the virtual classroom, but so do the artists themselves, who were delighted to have this exchange with the interested young audience. We were able to engage the artists to meet with school classes during a video conference over three days. While a streaming concert can be a one-sided experience for the musicians playing for the cameras without seeing their audience thanks to the video conference, they are able to enter into direct contact with the students. Christian Tetzlaff, Julian Prégardien, and the Vision String Quartet described the conversations as very important and emotional moments when they could finally see their audience again even if only on the screen. For some of them, it was their first “real” contact with the audience since the beginning of the pandemic.

After a musical performance, the students had the opportunity to ask questions. The young people asked, for example, about the artists' hobbies and personal taste in music. Things got particularly interesting when the questions turned to their relationship with practicing and with classical music during their teenage years. As the young people found out, even these professional musicians had phases when they didn’t want to practice or hardly practiced at all, and didn’t even like “classical” music.

The subject of the pandemic also came up frequently. The young people wanted to know how the musicians are dealing with the current crisis situation, and whether they have also been able to find positive aspects in it. The questions they asked were almost exclusively about personal well-being, which shows how important to the students interpersonal relationships are, an aspect that inevitably gets short-changed in digital distance learning. In this respect, the virtual classroom offered a welcome change for the students.

A musical duo from an eighth grade class then reversed the roles: the Vision String Quartet suddenly became the audience and gave the young musicians tips on playing together and interpretation. Advice on dealing with stage fright and preparing for performances was gratefully received.

At the end all the participants were allowed to turn on their microphones again, and they applauded loudly. Everyone the artists, young people, teachers, and us at the Festspielhaus clearly agreed that the virtual classroom will continue to play an important role in the future.

Photo that shows Scool Streaming Fsh 08. © Andrea Kremper
© Andrea Kremper
Photo that shows Scool Streaming Fsh 22. © Andrea Kremper
© Andrea Kremper
Photo that shows Scool Streaming Fsh 27.
Photo that shows Img 2334. © Andrea Kremper
© Andrea Kremper
Photo that shows Image00022. © Andrea Kremper
© Andrea Kremper
Photo that shows 20200219 Virtuelles Klassenzimmer Vision String Quartett C Andrea Kremper 19. © Andrea Kremper
© Andrea Kremper
Photo that shows 20200219 Virutelles Klassenzimmer Vision String Quartett C Andrea Kremper 12. © Andrea Kremper
© Andrea Kremper
Updated: 3/15/2021