Equal opportunities through music

Supporting parenthood: a priority for the Démos project updatePhoto credits: Denis Allard

Supporting parenthood: a priority for the Démos project

While Démos is primarily aimed at children, their parents are also invited to take part in this extraordinary musical adventure! This is how families become involved in the life of the orchestras, while enriching them with their cultural heritage. Let's take a look at some of the parenting initiatives implemented by the Démos orchestras!

Since its creation in 2010, the Démos program has made parenting a priority. Cooperation between professionals in the fields of social welfare and musical pedagogy accompanies children on a learning path that is attentive to the singularities of their family life. In return, parental involvement is one of the keys to the project's success. The social vocation of Démos encourages a global approach to each young person's educational path, and strengthens intra-family ties. Various initiatives, made possible thanks to the work of the project's social partner structures, are thus developed in the fifty or so Démos orchestras throughout France.

DISCOVERING MUSIC THROUGH THE PRACTICE OF YOUR CHILD

With Démos, musical practice becomes part of everyday family life: children bring their instrument home, practice on it and work in small workshop groups every week. In addition to the children's personal progress, parents can also learn about the orchestra's collective progress by attending tutti times, which take place every 6 weeks or so. The Orchestre Démos Est Ensemble, for example, schedules tutti on Saturday mornings to enable as many families as possible to take part. The end-of-season concerts are also obviously highlights for families, who come to applaud their talented children!

Parents can also be invited to musical practice sessions with their children. This is the case in the Orchestre Démos Nord Essonne, which regularly organizes "open workshops" during which children take the place of the speakers to let their families discover and try out their instruments. In Montpellier, a 3-day parent/child music workshop was organized in 2023 by a social structure involved in the Orchestre Démos Montpellier 3M.

The Démos project also enables families to learn about the region's cultural resources by taking part in outings. Many orchestras offer families a cultural program in parallel with the life of the orchestra, such as Plaine Commune, Orléans, Strasbourg, La Thiérache du Centre, Angers, Guadeloupe Cap Excellence, Nord Essonne... For example, a concert outing to Rennes was proposed to the families of the Orchestre Démos Kreiz Breizh to listen to the Orchestre National de Bretagne, conducted by Aurélien Azan Zielinski, the conductor of the Orchestre Démos. The concert was adapted for families and children, with cultural mediation to give the audience the keys to listening. 31 families took part!

PARTICIPATE IN THE LIFE OF THE ORCHESTRA

To take musical discovery a step further, some families are giving their voices to the music! In 2022-23, a dozen orchestras set up family choirs to give parents the opportunity to sing together and accompany budding musicians on stage. This is the case in Beauvais, where the Orchestre Démos en Beauvaisis created a parents' choir in 2022. The 12 parents involved performed with the children on stage at the Philharmonie de Paris last June!

Beyond musical practice, the involvement of parents in the orchestra instills a dynamic of socialization in the territories. Backed by the Orchestre Démos Val de Sambre, a parents' association was created in September 2023, counting on the involvement of some fifteen parents. These parents took part in "parents' cafés" organized by the project coordinator and social referents outside rehearsal time, and set up the association to finance cultural outings with their children. The association will also be involved in a music school forum, to be held in March 2024, which will enable school directors to meet with families to facilitate the enrolment of young people wishing to pursue their musical practice.

More generally, parents' involvement can take various forms: workshops to build stage elements, preparation of dishes for orchestra picnics, car pooling, cake sales to finance the trip to the Philharmonie de Paris... Real support for orchestras!

SHARING YOUR FAMILY CULTURAL HERITAGE

Since 2021, Démos has been amplifying its approach to family inclusion by reaching out to their cultural heritages. Several experiments in collecting stories and music highlighting the singular stories of families have been carried out in orchestras, such as those of Lyon Métropole, Caen la mer, Thouarsais and Angers, among others.

In Caen, a project to collect the musical universe of families was implemented thanks to treasure boxes used to record songs around the theme of the sea. These boxes, circulating between the workshops and the children's homes, helped create a link between the families and the orchestra. A presentation of the collection was organized by inviting parents to workshop times in several towns in the Urban Community.

In the Thouarsais region, sound albums have been circulating since April between the Thouars workshop and each child's home, enabling them to record content with their parents (challenges proposed throughout the year) but also to discover recorded elements linked to the orchestra's repertoire and the group's work.

In Angers, a sound photo booth of family memories will be set up this season to collect stories around family memories. These stories will then be showcased in an exhibition.

These initiatives ensure that everyone is recognized in their own cultural identity, while building bridges between each facet of the cultural mosaic that makes up our contemporary societies. Children are thus supported in a positive, non-contradictory acceptance of the different cultural identities that coexist, whether they be different linguistic, musical, literary, culinary or clothing practices...

In tutti, in outings, within a choir, a parents' association or by telling their cultural story, these privileged moments around a shared artistic emotion help to strengthen intra-family bonds. In addition to making music part of everyday family life, Démos defends the idea that music should play an essential role in social life!


Strengthening Démos in medium-sized towns and rural communities updatePhoto credit: Maximilien Marie

Strengthening Démos in medium-sized towns and rural communities

First set up mainly in urban policy districts in Île-de-France and regional metropolises, Démos orchestras have gradually been established in medium-sized towns and rural areas.

This is now one of the major orientations guiding the deployment of the Démos project throughout France. Interview with Gilles Delebarre, Delegate Director of the Démos project.

What led to this choice, and what are the objectives?


We wanted to pay particular attention to medium-sized towns and rural areas, so that the Démos project addresses the whole territory, beyond the major metropolises. As early as 2017, Démos was established in Kreiz Breizh and Thouarsais, which were followed by other territories afterwards... Today, therefore, we want to amplify a deployment dynamic that began several years ago.


Rural areas are faced with a certain geographical isolation, a lack of local facilities (be they musical or cultural institutions or social structures), a feeling of exclusion... By creating Démos orchestras in rural areas, medium-sized towns or small communes, the aim is to strengthen access to cultural offerings in these areas, create links between players and develop local artistic and cultural education policies, boost the appeal of the local authorities concerned and their facilities, and even ease any social and political tensions that may exist. Demos is thus positioned as a project for territorial cohesion, federating existing resources and giving impetus to a strong dynamic.


What levers do you rely on to achieve this?


The establishment of a Demos orchestra in a rural environment does not require the same resources or respond to the same constraints as an orchestra in an urban area. We work in close collaboration with the local authorities involved, to adapt the system to the specificities and problems encountered. This often involves setting up means of transport that guarantee children's participation, rethinking the pedagogical organization, and adapting partner structures so that they can accommodate a full orchestra...


In addition to the resources mobilized locally, we also benefit from the patronage of the Fonds Jeunes et innovants, which specifically supports Demos orchestras deployed in rural areas. The unique alliance of private resources, the financial commitment of local authorities, and the support of the State and CAFs: this is what enables us to build the Démos project in each of these rural territories.


What are the Démos orchestras established in rural territories today?


There are two possible orchestra models. On the one hand, there are 100% rural orchestras, where children are no longer recruited on a neighborhood basis, but on a much larger scale of medium-sized villages or towns, to form each group of 15 musicians. The aim of these orchestras is not only to multiply exchanges between different housing areas, but also to offer a project that gets the children out of their homes. Examples include the Démos
Kreiz Breizh, Thouarsais and Aisne Thiérache du Centre.


On the other hand, there are hybrid orchestras made up of groups of children from urban environments and groups from rural or sub-peripheral areas. The aim here is to bridge the divide between the inhabitants of these two types of areas, to combat the idea that some territories are better endowed than others, and to promote better living together. In this category, we find the Démos
Val de Sambre, en Beauvaisis, Metz Moselle Est and Metz Moselle Nord, Grand Verdun, Toulouse Métropole Département de la Haute-Garonne, Bordeaux Métropole Gironde. The latter four have just completed their 3rd year of Demos, and will be launching a new edition of their orchestra next autumn, again involving urban communes and medium-sized towns or rural communes. In Bordeaux, this will be the first time that a greater number of areas outside the Bordeaux metropolis will participate in the scheme: four rural areas out of the seven groups making up the orchestra. At the start of the 2023 school year, the Orchestre Démos Grand Saint-Dizier will also join these hybrid orchestras, formed on the scale of the very rural agglomeration of Saint-Dizier, Der & Blaise. Vouillers, a commune of 258 inhabitants, will be the smallest commune in France to host the project.


The end-of-year concert season is in full swing! updatePhoto credit: Pierre Morel

The end-of-year concert season is in full swing!

Since May 3, Orchestres Démos have been performing throughout France at their end-of-season concerts.  

The culmination of these performances will take place on June 23, 24 and 25 at the Philharmonie de Paris: a total of 15 orchestras will play in 6 concerts between the Salle des Concerts at the Cité de la Musique and the Grande Salle Pierre Boulez at the Philharmonie de Paris. 

This year, the young musicians of Démos are exploring a wide range of repertoires: from classical pieces familiar to all, to traditional music from the four corners of the globe! 

Difting makes sense.
Give some difts