Everyone a composer: A successful collaboration in Arts and Education

  • Lies Colman Royal Conservatoire Antwerp
  • Katrijn De Wit Press and audience development, deSingel npo
  • Wim Henderickx Royal Conservatoire Antwerp
Keywords: creativity, composing, improvising, inclusion


In 2014, the Royal Conservatoire Antwerp and Art Campus deSingel initiated a creative youth project, ‘Iedereen Componist’. The main focus is to encourage children between 4 and 12 to start composing in an open and creative environment. Kids, with and without musical backgrounds, are invited to send a video recording of themselves playing their own compositions, and sending this to the website: www.iedereencomponist.be.
All participants are invited to a free “Do-day” in deSingel, surrounded by teachers and students of the Conservatoire. Creativity is one of the main focuses of the Composition program and the Teacher Training Program, which results in this unique concept of combining three different levels of experience: lecturers, students and children. Each year the “Do-day” proves to be an inspiring, art-focused festive day with workshops and performances. A smaller number of young contestants, selected for their creations and their enthusiasm, follow a more intense series of coaching sessions by professional composers and students. During a few weeks, they learn to work with their own material, receiving a wide range of age dependent tips and tricks into composing and improvising. The focus is not just the final musical result, but the motivation to be free in improvising, without imposing heavy instruction or structures. This results into a staged concert, with the children performing their own pieces in a newly created story inspired by their music and acted out by drama students. This appreciation of their own musical creation invokes an enormous enthusiasm with all children, their families and ‘fans’. Each year the appeal of the project spreads further, both geographically and socially: also some easily forgotten minority groups find their way to the project. With this open mindset, we hope ‘our’ children will never forget that creativity, personality and music are open for everyone to enjoy.