CLUSTER SUMMER CAMP IN AOSTA

Synopsis

Done since 1996, in Aosta-Italy, by SFOM, it takes place every year in the last week of august, and is designed for their and external students, always with the concern of including students with motor and cognitive difficulties.

SFOM teachers, external teachers and national and international artists, provide activities such as “Music in circle”, rehearsals by Cluster Orchestra and individual instrument lessons.

Throughout the week there are also several concerts in the region of Aosta, and at the end, a concert by Cluster Orchestra at a well-known festival.

Target Audience

Students of SFOM and other local institutions, trainees from schools of music, Conservatories, Music High Schools and Secondary Schools with musical orientation. There are no age limits and musical/instrumental skills. Special attention is given to students with motor and/or cognitive disabilities, who are involved with an inclusive approach in all activities.

Goals

  • Make students live different ways of making and thinking about music those known during the year.
  • Bringing students closer to ethnic music, jazz, popular music, not only to ride a modernity trend, but to learn how to play their instrument in a thousand different ways and to learn about the variety of musical languages.
  • Encourage the original composition by the teachers, specially packaged for the available instrumental group and student levels.
  • Inspire musical practice with an unprecedented intensity and mode, thanks to the involvement in different activities, the social dimension and the full-immersion experience.
  • Provide a cooperative learning opportunity among truly diverse people by background, age and training course.
  • Provide a monographic thematic background, which frames most of the Campus’s activities, combining imaginary, cultural data and movement experiences.
  • Educate to intercultural.

Skills to be improved

  • Cooperative learning / Peer to peer
  • Socialization
  • Immersive learning
  • Ability to link music to other cultural items
  • Life-long learning
  • Intensive instrumental extra-training
  • Improve musical reading ability
  • Music listening skills (audition)
  • Teamwork
  • Study method
  • Intergenerational relations
  • Interaction with professional artists
  • Intense practice of ensemble music
  • Engagement

Training Team

The team consists of teachers of SFOM, external teachers and – whenever possible by project type and economic availability – national and international artists as guests.
The selection of the team gives particular attention to the curriculum and the teaching skills of the musicians called to collaborate.

Description and workplan

Given the long-standing history of «Cluster», there has been a progressive evolution and transformation of the articulation of the course.
At the very beginning, twenty-four years ago, it was original and in a sense revolutionary the only proposal of a summer course that was not a “Specialization Course”, with teachers-gurus dispensing their knowledge in a way that recalled what was already experienced in the school year: rigid masterclasses, during which the students follow each other to make the Maestro listen to the pieces prepared for the occasion.

Its originality, therefore, was mainly in being a summer camp aimed at music students of all levels, ages and backgrounds, unlike the masterclasses of the time, aimed exclusively at students of the Conservatory, with professional goals.

The other absolute novelty was that the summer school was dedicated exclusively to the ensemble practice, with specially selected repertoires, written and/or arranged – often also during the camp – for the orchestral complement and students of the course.

These features have remained the hallmark of Cluster over the years, although fortunately the framework of the summer music courses in Italy has, at least partially, changed.
The experience of ensemble music is embodied in two main activities, involving all participants in the Summer Camp:

  • Music in Circle, an activity of opening and closing the day, in which all the students are called to participate in a very engaging moment, of percussion, movement and sometimes singing.
  • The orchestra rehearsal, the core of the campus, being the center of the annual thematic project and the point of convergence of all students. The Cluster Orchestra is a multi-level and inclusive ensemble. In this case, depending on the level and age of the students enrolled, there may be additional dedicated activity, usually small chamber groups or a small orchestra in parallel, with an appropriate repertoire. In any case, a couple of tunes in the large orchestra are guaranteed to participate.

Of course, there are rehearsals dedicated to instrumental sections, and individual – autonomous or assisted – training sessions.

The further originality of the course is given by its monographic nature, that is, the fact that it is organized around a central theme – different each year – which shapes most of the activities proposed.

Here are some examples of topics covered over the years:

  • Symphonic Rock (2013)
  • Musical Theater & Musical (2014)
  • A cultural revolution: The Beatles (2015)

In recent editions, thanks to the inclusion of Cluster in the «Special Projects» – a package of initiatives with particular value for the territory, financed by the Autonomous Region Valle d’Aosta – it was possible to invite international guests, with whom an original educational project was articulated, which each time included the orchestral arrangement of some of the artist’s pieces and the interaction with him in the live performances.

In particular, in recent years the following artists have been guests:

  • Ray Lema, famous Congolese musician, known as a composer and performer, central figure of world music;
  • Cezariusz Gadzina, Belgian saxophonist, great jazz player and musical experimenter;
  • Roberto Taufic, Brazilian guitarist, singer and composer;
  • Andrea Gargiulo, brilliant Italian teacher from Naples, promoter of the Abreu’s Method “El Sistema” in Italy, for a social and inclusive teaching.

Various performances are included during the Summer Camp and in the closing of it, mainly in the Regional territory, in Aosta and in various villages of the Valley ― Arvier, Morgex, Fénis, Saint-Vincent, Châtillon…

Typically these performances include an initial marching band, built with the performance material of «Music in Circle», and the actual concert, in which the orchestral pieces and the interventions of any smaller formations converge.

In recent years, when it was possible, a theme was chosen suitable to be further developed during the next year, becoming the framework of the work of the SFOMOrchestra – which is the largest ensemble of the school.

At the end of the annual project there is usually a two-to three-days campus with the guest artist, followed by a concert in an important festival, often the «Saison Culturelle» of the Valle d’Aosta Region, the main and most institutional concert season of the Region.

Duration proposed

The course usually takes place in the last week of August, possibly at the turn of September, from one Sunday to the following.

Promoting Organization

Cultural Association “Cluster”: 1996 – 2005

Cultural Association “Tamtando” & SFOM: 2006 – 2013

SFOM in collaboration with other partners: 2014 – 2019 (2020?)

Partners over the years:

  • Regione Autonoma Valle d’Aosta/Région Autonome Vallée d’Aoste
  • Fondazione CRT (Cassa Rurale di Torino) – “Note e Sipari” call
  • Cooperativa Sociale “NOI&GLIALTRI”
  • Convitto Regionale “F.Chabod”
  • Comune di Aosta, Comune di Saint-Vincent, Comune di Châtillon,
  • Comune di Pont-Saint-Martin, Comune di Arvier, Comune di Morgex,
  • Comune di Pré-Saint Didier, Comune di Courmayeur.

Starting Year

First edition in 1996

First edition with SFOM’s partnership: 2006

For six years (since 2014) organized by SFOM as main partner

Prizes / recognition received

Ététrad Festival 2011 ― Ray Lema’s World Suite performance

Inclusion in the call «Note e Sipari» (Notes & Curtains) of the CRT Banking Foundation

Inclusion in the «Special Projects» of the Regione Autonoma Valle d’Aosta (Autonomous Region Aosta Valley)

Performance in Aosta, Arvier, Saint-Vincent, Châtillon, Courmayeur…

You can follow them on…

Guitarist Francesco Zanella performing Ray Lema's- Cluster Summer Camp guest.