Has the Philharmonie found the magic formula to make music loved and understood by young audiences? With the inauguration this Wednesday of its Children’s Philharmonic, it offers a unique and fun route to consider musical culture in all its forms.
If many discovery workshops had already been offered – and often taken by storm – for years in the alleys of the Cité de la Musique, this time it is an entire device of 1,000 m2 which is reserved for children, aged 4 to 10 years old, for one hour sessions.
A space that remained vacant after the cancellation (welcome?) Of a company restaurant project, and whose design, over three years, brought together more than a hundred specialists, from luthiers to musicologists, and inspired according to the words of the Director of the Philharmonie Laurent Bayle by his big sister and neighbor La Cité des Enfants, located in the Cité des sciences.
The work of design and layout, entrusted to Constance Guisset, is, from the entrance, a success, the buttons, machines, colors and objects making each room a universe in itself. The latter aimed “the greatest possible coherence, while avoiding being just ‘childish'”, for a coherent, exhaustive and playful result, which could well make jealous the parents who will drop their children at the entrance of this course in the world of music.
And it is indeed one of the first strong points of this Philharmonie des enfants. At the entrance, young visitors are left free to wander as they see fit, according to their intuitions and curiosity, in the 7 spaces on offer (8 from 2022), some of which include several interactive activities. From the start, it is the physical feeling of sound, or its absence, that children experience. In a corridor called “Silence or Vacarme?”, The soundproofed space covered with sorts of tentacles stifles noises, while in the process, a device makes it possible on the contrary to amplify them. What, from the outset, push for concentration and attention.
Head to the Forest of Sounds, filled with an astonishing mixture of brooms, pans or brushes, to become aware of the timbre of everyday objects, when “The hunt for sounds” allows, equipped with a flashlight, to unearth in a cave the sounds of cities and the countryside.
In the process, one of the most successful pieces unveils its sound machines: a set of imaginary and playful instruments to handle, but which all allow us to understand the evolution of instruments, from percussion to electronic music, with a real small electro studio. Special mention to the Wind Giant, a kind of fusion between a giant flute and an organ, on which children will have to collaborate to extract the sounds.
It is up to everyone, then, to stay for a longer or shorter time in the different rooms. Some people prefer, with “On stage!”, To live the experience of live, and take an instrument as for a rock concert, while others will prefer to imagine themselves as a conductor, giving the tempo they want, while the music played adapts to the speed of their arms.
Direction the space “Voices by the Thousands”, and its sublime giant world map which sits in the middle of the room, allowing you to listen to vocal expressions and techniques from all over the world. One of the devices which should meet the most success – and one of the few to use a video game, according to the site’s “Low-tech” credo – Pitch pong, using the famous principle of the Pong game. But here, it is the tone of the voice that makes the racket move, up for the high pitched voice, down for the low pitch.
“Full ears” will offer a sublime immersive space, with wall projections coupled with a 3D sound system, as if each drawn figure carried with it part of the music.
Finally, “Par ici la musique” will allow children to play in turn the composer of film music, the noise maker, or the editor, like this short film of silent cinema that will have to be taken care of. even embellish with the slamming of a door or the sound of a gust of wind.
Arouse interest, appeal to the imagination, provide a sensory experience … Enough to make concrete, in a seductive way, the credo of the place: have fun while learning, and, in the words of Mathilde Michel-Lambert , Director of the Children’s Philharmonic, “trusting the intelligence of visitors”.
And the possibilities offered by new technologies are not necessarily absent: children, provided at the entrance with a connected bracelet – disconnected by default if the parents have not previously given permission -, will be able to through keeping memories of the visit (recordings, photos, video creations made in the various workshops, etc.).
Likewise, a great deal of content is available, via the philharmoniedesenfants.fr site, ranging from podcast to the musical series “La Fontaine superstar”, in the company of Catherine Ringer or Kery James.
What to give ideas to other cities. This vast ensemble should thus spread, according to Laurent Bayle’s wishes, both abroad and in other cities in France, thanks in particular to a great capacity for adaptation according to the different local cultures.
Children’s Philharmonic, from 4 to 10 years old, duration 1 hour, every day (10 am to 1 pm then 2 pm to 6 pm) except Monday morning. Full price € 14.