© Aurelio Schrey
© Aurelio Schrey

Peter and the Wolf

An inclusive, musical language learning project for welcome classes
»But Peter isn’t afraid!«
Howmusical theater education can open new realms of experience for children

At the beginning, ears are open for unfamiliar sounds. The characters enter the room: Peter, Duck, Grandpa, Bird, Cat, the Wolf and the Hunter. Each holds a unique place in the children’s imagination. Each child sees his or her own story and self within it: Am I Peter or Grandpa? Or rather the innocent cat? Or do I play it safe as the Hunter with his gun at the ready? Once a week children playfully engage with basic questions about their humanity with Sarah Görlitz, musical theater teacher at the Komische Oper Berlin.

Discover and Master

On their first visit to the opera house the vocabulary children learn comes to life. They are given the chance to see instruments up close and personal which they previously only experienced in pictures and through speakers. On top of that, they’re allowed to bombard musicians with questions, touch the plush seats in the audience chamber, stare in wonder at the giant chandelier, stream down the isles, and check out the constructions on stage.
© Aurelio Schrey
© Aurelio Schrey
The Big Moment

After 8 months of creative work, all the puzzle pieces come together in a bilingual production (Arabic and German) for the entire elementary school. The students from the welcome group become true experts in their piece. By introducing the opera to fellow students before the performance, the students in the welcome group open the door to an opera experience for students and parents alike. But the journey doesn’t stop there. A CD for all students at the school allows the story to continue at home – spoken either in Arabic or German, or the children and their families can tell the story themselves.
© Aurelio Schrey
© Aurelio Schrey
From Opera into Society

Musical theater teacher Anne Kathrin Ostrop developed the concept for the welcome classes. »In our work we often witness amazing transformations – there’s an unbelievable strength in children when they feel seen and are taken seriously in our work. They gain trust, self-confidence and assertiveness.« Thus Ostrop reports on her experience in the first two years. The social education workers at the school take this inspiration with them into future work and confirm that children learn about life in a fun, engaging way. The musicians at our opera house are also touched by the event and take the experiences with them into the orchestra and their social circles.

Background
In autumn 2018 the welcome class project at the Komische Oper will experience its third season. Through the project, students are familiarized with classic material from the western children’s concert repertoire while at the same time discovering artistic methods for telling their own life stories, learning the German language, and discovering the potential of their own bodies for expression and communication. In each season the Komische Oper Berlin runs the project in all welcome classes at a given school. Comprehensive learning materials including scores for school orchestras and related workshops for teachers and educators are currently in planning.

Our Sponsors: Foundations for a Meaningful Life

Generous support from The Heinz and Heide Dürr Foundation and The Karl Schlecht Foundation has made the project »Peterand the Wolf« possible. Both foundations aim to co-create the future of our society through their numerous grants and funding projects. According to Heinz Dürr »In the long run, a society can only function when its members are committed to making a contribution.« Dr. Katrin Schlecht, head of the Karl Schlecht Foundation, emphasizes that opportunities for creative development especially help people to gain confidence in themselves and their problem solving abilities.

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