QuerKlang - Experimental composing in school

QuerKlang is a project to promote experimental music in school. Students in school invent their own experimental compositions. A team consisting of two students of music education at the University of the Arts Berlin, a music teacher in school and a composer are at their side.

QuerKlang wants to encourage students to engage actively with musical material and its design possibilities, to experience those as a personal expression and design resources, and at thesame time to develop curiosity, tolerance and understanding towards the diversity of contemporary music. In ten double sessions over a three month period the students work with the team in the school to develop a composition, which will be performed during the festival MAERZMUSIK, a festival of contemporary music as introduction to the main concerts.

Twenty years ago, on the initiative of Ursula Brandstätter (Professor of musical education at the University of the Arts Berlin) QuerKlang was implemented. She developed the concept with Daniel Ott (Composer and also Professor at the University of the Arts Berlin) and Kerstin Wiehe (cultural manager). At the beginning of each run, there is a five-day seminar for the University students, teachers and composers / artists. There the project idea and the educational concept are presented. There the teams are formed which want to work together in one school and they make first practical experiences in schools nearby. Next the teams start working in the various schools in Berlin. There are two intermediate reflections during this phase. Once the compositions were performed at the Festival MAERZMUSIK, all participants meet for a final reflection and evaluation on the work process.

There are three different, usually independent working worlds connected: the world of the school, the world of higher education and the world of freelance composers. The University students in this project have the opportunity to get to know the practice in school. Music teachers use the project as a postgraduate course and composers get in touch in an unusual way with potential listeners of their works.

QuerKlang is based on the following educational ideas:
- Experimental Music requires Experimental Teaching
- Balance between structure and freedom
- Team as a main resource
- Use of existing skills
- Possibility of using differences
- Learning in complex situations
- The importance of reflection