16 FEBRUARY 2015 / The SNF supports the Music Schools of Greece

The educational benefits of musical learning and the integration of musical art into school programs are well established and recognized internationally. In Greece Music Schools cultivate and promote musical education and train students within a specialized educational framework that recognizes and promotes the talent and music inclination of students.

In light of the important role of public Music Schools and their significance in promoting creativity the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (www.SNF.org) announced a new initiative aiming at providing direct support to all music schools in the country. 

Specifically, the Foundation approved a €940,000 grant to support all 43 Music Schools of Greece. With this grant, the SNF seeks to cover the increased needs of these schools in musical instruments. It will offer 1,201 high-quality musical instruments of 54 different types, such as classical guitar, violin, saxophone, tambouras, bouzouki, mandolin. Many will be handmade by experienced Greek instrument makers. The traditional percussion instruments will be crafted by the members of the workshop of traditional musical instruments KETHEA PAREMVASI under the guidance of professional instrument makers. 

The grant is expected to significantly enhance both the work of the teachers as well as the 9,200 students currently enrolled in these music schools—a number which is expected to increase over the following years—in order for them to cultivate their musical skills, to obtain new educational and cultural stimuli and to deepen their knowledge in European and Greek traditional music. 

The idea for this grant emerged after a Music School visit to the Visitors Center of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) and the initiative of a student to contact the Foundation and share his thoughts regarding the SNFCC and the future of music education in Greece. 

In order to ensure the integrity of the design and the effective implementation of the grant, the Foundation thoroughly researched, documented and examined the needs of each Music School; a process that lasted 7 months (June 2014 – January 2015).  Over this period, the Foundation contacted the administration and staff of the 43 music schools and made visits to their premises in order to gain a complete picture of their individual needs. At the same time, the SNF collaborated closely with the Ministry of Education’s Artistic Committee in an effort to better understand the operational issues of the Music Schools.  

For the procurement of the musical instruments, an extensive research of the domestic market of professional instrument makers took place. This is a small sophisticated industry which is particularly active in building high-quality, export oriented musical instruments, and who welcomed our initiative with great enthusiasm. Further, our collaboration with expert musicians ensured the necessary technical and quality control of all musical instruments, before delivery to schools and students. 

Greece is strong in integrating music learning into  secondary education in public schools which  have both committed teachers with a vision and students with great potential”, said Elina Klaridopoulou, program officer at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. “It is our hope that this new initiative will enhance the efficiency of the music schools, wider the offering for students and benefit the wider community. Further, with this grant there is a small community of young instrument makers which we wish to support and bring it closer to the student, the end user of the musical instruments”. 

This is a significant grant both for the support it offers to the Greek Music Schools and their students and also for the way it was designed and approached”, said Andreas Dracopoulos, Co-President of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. “Before today’s announcement, there was a systematic and careful mapping of the landscape of music schools and their needs which lasted seven months and was conducted in close collaboration with the Music Schools and their designated Governing body. The manner in which this grant was implemented addresses the actual needs of the music schools, as these were identified by the schools themselves. Furthermore, this particular grant directly illustrates the effectiveness of proper cooperation between the Public and Private sector”. 

It is noted that the Foundation’s new grant to support music schools across the country complements the School Support Program which the Foundation has been implementing from 2007 until today, having provided support in technological equipment and educational materials to a total of 309 public schools throughout Greece. 

This latest grant is part of the Foundation’s three-year Initiative Against the Greek Crisis, which was recently completed.