The Lazard Frères Gestion Foundation – Institut de France Brings Musical Culture to Schools

With its support for Louise Thomas, a 25 year-old musician, in her ambition to participate in the Artist in Schools Program (AIMS), the Lazard Frères Gestion – Institut de France Foundation is enabling a class in Saint-Denis to open up to the musical world. This endeavor is part of the Foundation’s broader project of supporting education and the promotion of cultural heritage.

Music has always been a powerful cultural springboard. In France, however, many children are still excluded from this culture, or discover it too late for their desire to make it their own to be sparked. In order to rectify this situation, the Lazard Frères Gestion Foundation has decided to support the Artist in Schools Program (AIMS), which is one of the most effective initiatives for bringing children together and motivating them by means of a musical project.

The AIMS program is a higher education training program offered by the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris, as well as by four other art schools in Paris (Beaux-Arts de Paris, École nationale des Arts décoratifs, Conservatoire national supérieur d’art dramatique and Fémis). Each year, this program allows young musicians and dancers from the Paris Conservatory to spend a full year in residence in a school in a priority neighborhood.

The objective of this training is threefold:

– for the artist supported, to acquire the complementary professional skills necessary for leading artistic activities with students and for conducting musical or choreographic projects in a school setting;

– to carry out a research project oriented towards the analysis of the specificity of the role of the artist in cultural transmission;

– to promote civic values in the arts by contributing to the accessibility of the arts for the youth, specifically in underprivileged areas.

With the support of the Lazard Frères Gestion – Institut de France Foundation, Louise Thomas, a mezzo-soprano and a student at the Paris Conservatory, is now in residence in a CM2 class (equivalent to fifth grade) at the Anatole France school in Saint-Denis. She will share her musical culture with the young students in this educational project.

For the students in this class, the first quarter of the school year was based on the theme “Music in the Movies.” Over the course of three months, the budding musicians found out what it is like to be inspired to create. They opened their ears to the world around them with enthusiasm and music. They played with different emotions and sensations, reconstructed the noises that punctuate their space and looked for ways to convey a landscape, a particular place, or an invented character in music.

After this introduction, the students started writing their opera in January, and began to discover new areas as their musical apprenticeship went on. As the weeks went by, they became librettists, instrumentalists, singers, and stage directors, and they did all this as a united, creative and supportive group. This approach instills interest and motivation, both of which benefit academic performance.


Photo credit: ©Mathieu Faluomi