Children engaged in musical creation

  • Ana Raquel Coelho Director
  • Ana Isabel Pereira
  • Tiago Cordeiro
  • Nuno Cintrão
  • Susana Machado
  • Bruno Reis
  • Olívia Lucas
  • Catarina Gouveia
Keywords: music creation, children as music creators, improvising, body percussion, children based education, children engagement in music


Conservatório de Música de Sintra has been founded as a nonprofit association and music school since 1974, working with different ages from 6 month to 99 years old. Established as an official music school since 1982, more recently, in 2019, we have extended the educational offer with kindergarten and in 2021 to primary school. One of our school 's main goals is to engage children in democratic practices in the educational process. This is natural in regular education because it was designed within this approach, but it has different challenges in music education, regarding the teaching legacy and tradition, where we are introducing some changes in the curriculum.

On one hand, our work in the elementary music program, with children aged from 6- to 9-year-old, has always involved students in the creation process. Improvising with their voices, body percussion and Orff instruments, they have a central role in some of the compositions to be performed.

With pandemic situation, and the need to avoid singing groups and choirs, and realizing the performative happiness and self-confidence shown by children through the years in processes involving creation and improvisation, the Conservatório de Música de Sintra pedagogical team decided to introduce a specific subject called “Music Creation and Improvisation” in 2020.

This subject helped to work on important skills, contributing to a deeper understanding of music language, allowing children to express musical ideas through singing and playing the same way they talk and write in their native language, in a playful environment.

The successful results of this subject reinforced the school view and boosted the introduction of new practical music classes in the official curriculum, such as body percussion and improvisation in 2021.

Currently we are conducting a reflexive discussion about these new subjects involving the education community: a survey among students, teacher’s points of view, and parents' opinions, concerning the impact of these classes in the students' global development.

On the other hand, the musical approach in kindergarten and primary school is child center based, naturally reinforcing creation processes in strict articulation with multiple curriculum subjects.

Our presentation proposal is a commented concert involving teachers and students of the subjects referred above, and practical examples with video support and live music performance.

We would like to share practical music projects concerning kindergarten and primary school, Musical Education classes and new improvisation and body percussion classes in official courses, including children with ages from 3- to 15-year-old.