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Transfer Story of Maténé from Grigny

Edited on

14 February 2022
Read time: 7 minutes

IBRAHIM MAALOUF and the children of the Maîtrise and the conservatory of Grigny "Red and black light" at the Palais Omnisport de Paris Bercy (left photo) and at the Victoires de la Musique 2017 (right photo)


Maténé is a child who arrived in France in 2014 at the age of 3. He lives with his family in Grigny, Ile-de-France, in the district of Grigny II and attends one of the schools in the town. He has an older sister, Amina, and an older brother, Tendaji, who were respectively 7 and 9 years old when they arrived in France.

Maténé is lucky, he hears, sees and participates in great things. In 2016, he was 5 years old when his sister Amina participated as a chorister of the Maîtrise de Grigny de l'Opéra de Massy in concerts with Ibrahim Maalouf, on 14 December 2016 at the Palais Omnisport de Paris-Bercy (Accor Arena) and at the Zénith de Paris, on 10 February 2017 for the 32nd Victoires de la Musique, he was in the audience to see his sister sing. He was small but keeps very precise images of these concerts which allowed him for the first time to attend a big show and to go to Paris!

For his sister's second concert, Maténé felt very involved and for good reason: he participated in the creation of the drawing "La Paix la musique" which was offered by his sister during the 32nd Victoire de la Musique in 2017 to one of the members of the audience!

Having seen his sister on stage in December, but also having participated in the inauguration of the bridge of peace in Grigny, on September 21, 2015 and having heard the testimony of his cousin, member of the municipal council of young people of Grigny who was able to meet near Le Havre[1], hibakushas[2], on May 23, 2015, at the side of Philippe Rio[3], gave him a lot of inspiration when he took part in the realization of the drawing "La paix, la musique".

Amina is now enrolled in the Sonia Delaunay secondary school where she participates in the CHAM music-oriented class. She was able to benefit from a dispensation from the National Education Authority to enrol in the college (Sonia Delaunay) which was not the one linked to her geographical area of residence because of her participation in the CHAM and unlike her older brother, who did not participate in one of the schemes set up by the Grigny conservatory for the children of the town.

Maténé attends Jean Moulin primary schools, as his brother and sister did before him. His participation in several musical events as a spectator and the fact of having seen his sister sing on big stages gave him the desire to make music. The trigger was when he heard Amina, who is also a student at the conservatory of Grigny in viola, play in the Opera 100% made in Grigny, "Le Voyage de Néo", on 23 June 2018, at the Halle Sportive et Culturelle Jean Louis Henry. He then realised that singing did not really interest him, he preferred to play an instrument!

His school is lucky enough to host several schemes set up by the Grigny Conservatory. These schemes are part of the school's artistic pathway, offering children attending school in the town a continuous musical education through various schemes, from nursery school until they reach high school. The children thus acquire certain skills and knowledge that complement those provided by the school. In this way, the Conservatory participates in the "educational community" dynamic set up around each child, in accordance with the expectations of the Cité Educative label, inspired by the "Grand Projet Educatif" of the City of Grigny. 

In addition to the possibility of participating in the Maîtrise offered to the children of his school, two teachers from the Conservatory intervene in the Children's Symphony Orchestra to teach the tuba and the double bass. Maténé was interested in this opportunity and decided to talk to his parents who were in favour of his integration into the scheme.

Maténé, who had seen his sister's viola at home, also decided to choose a string instrument. So it was the double bass! What's more, the teacher, Léo, had almost the same first name as the hero of the opera he had seen before the summer!

Maténé is now a member of the OSE at Jean Moulin school. He is progressing well and as he remains very interested and motivated, his parents decided to enrol him in Léo's double bass class at the Grigny conservatory in the second term.  It's a good thing that you can enrol throughout the year!

Maténé is progressing well and because of this evolution, his teacher decides to select him to participate in the concert of the orchestras of the schemes planned for the launching phase of the European project URBACT ON STAGE, Music Schools for Social Change. He will play two pieces and sing a third. Maténé is delighted because this is the first concert he will be able to perform on stage with his sister! Moreover, during the rehearsals with the other schemes, he was able to make new friends who participate in other schemes (OSE (in other schools), CHAM, Maîtrise, ONDE...).

The day of the concert arrives. Cécile, who is part of the European delegation from Grigny, had warned us that the Centre Culturel Sidney Bechet is packed! Maténé is stressed, it's his first performance! Moreover, he is going to play in front of European delegations coming from 6 different countries: Spain, Denmark, Poland, Czech Republic, Italy and Portugal; but he is reassured by his sister. It is an honour for him to be one of the ambassadors of his city, just as his cousin had been a few years before.

The concert is a success, what a first concert for Maténé! In addition to the beautiful family photo taken at the end of the concert with the European delegations of the URBACT ON STAGE network, he was able to keep as a souvenir a copy of the video of the ON STAGE delegations' visit made by a team of local videographers in which we see him and his sister performing on stage! He doesn't know it yet, but he will soon come across the cameras again!

For his second school year in the OSE scheme, Maténé is still motivated, he knows that a French URBACT delegation is travelling around Europe to continue exchanging good practices which are those of music schools working for social change. He would love to be able to travel like this one day, to meet children from other countries and make music with them! He knows a lot of children in Grigny who, like him, are of foreign origin and he knows that, in total, there are 89 different nationalities in the town! But to see other countries, in real life, to see other cultures and to exchange and play with children from these other countries, is a wish that he shares with the children who drew the picture "Peace and music" with him for the Victoires de la Musique 2017.

In this new school year, he will not be able to go abroad to make music but, like last year, he will have the chance to meet and play in front of new European delegations of the ON STAGE network. And this time, the exchanges will be more concrete for him and his friends, since these delegations are composed exclusively of music teachers, as Edgar, the director of the conservatory, had wished! These teachers came to exchange with the teachers of the Grigny conservatory but also to share teaching methods, in the field, with the pupils! Thus, during the week of 28 to 31 January 2020, Maténé was able to receive her first music lesson in English, proof that learning to speak several languages can help in communicating, especially when one wishes to travel in Europe!

But during this week, during a break between two rehearsals, a music stand fell on her double bass and propelled the bridge to the floor. The strings are now banging against the fingerboard of the double bass, making it unplayable. Fortunately, it's Wednesday and, as at the beginning of the week, Nicholas, the FabricoLab luthier, is present and runs a workshop to raise awareness of the woodworking trades, using music as a medium, with young people who have dropped out of school and have been referred by the City's Local Mission! Maténé goes with her teacher, the double bass and the bridge to the violin making workshop to see if it is not too serious. Nicholas examines the instrument. Luckily, the soundboard is not cracked, so he can put the bridge back in its place and adjust the instrument so that Maténé can go back to rehearsal!

These moments will be filmed by Annette Gourdon, a director who, hearing about the actions carried out at the Grigny conservatory, wanted to make a documentary about it.

The following month[4], Léo was to leave with two of his colleagues for Adelfia's mobility programme in Italy, from where he intended to return with new ideas and pedagogical concepts for his class. At the same time, however, the health crisis was sweeping Europe and the delegation of teachers from the Grigny Conservatory could not attend the exchange. The following month, France went into lockdown, but Edgar did not want the educational projects to come to a complete halt. 

So, in order to keep a semblance of activity, the conservatory will carry out, under the impulse of Olivier, one of its teachers, the project "Zicadanse en confinement" consisting in a video recorded from home and gathering students and teachers around a song of Stromae, rewritten and rearranged for the occasion. Nadia, the dance coordinator of the conservatory will take care of the choreographic aspect with her colleagues, Léo and Maténé will obviously participate in the project (!) and the final video editing will be entrusted to Federico, another of the conservatory's teachers.

What Maténé doesn't know yet is that he is at the very heart of the exchanges that have been taking place for a year. The Conservatory of Grigny, like the schools of the other cities in the network, had to take a position through a transfer plan carried out a year earlier in order to decide to implement, in concrete terms, and over the defined time of the network, the European good practices from which it wished to draw inspiration. The conservatory then positioned itself to carry out 3 demo-actions to implement these good practices. 

The first one consisted in proposing meetings of teachers, "the Mobilities", so that the exchanges could benefit as many people as possible both humanly and pedagogically. Luckily, Maténé is one of the beneficiaries, as are most of the students at the conservatory!

The second demonstration action consists of positioning certain collective music practice activities in school time. The Conservatory, through its various schemes, was already working with schools but, as regards the schemes involving school pupils and their families over a three-year period, only during extra-curricular time. Some schools were then targeted to develop collective music learning time during school time and Jean Moulin primary schools was one of these schools!

Finally, a third demo action was conceived as part of the opening up of the conservatory to other audiences and in a part of the city where it did not previously operate. Since the spring of 2018, it has been part of an approach aimed at raising awareness of environmental issues among the various populations, but also at raising awareness among young people of professional careers in the environment, ecology, science and music, using music as a medium. Numerous actions were then carried out jointly by the Maison des Enfants et de la Nature and the Conservatoire de Grigny, such as the projection of films, mixing the world of sound and nature, and participation in events during which Patrick, one of the conservatoire's music therapists, connected plants to a biological expander in order to make them emit sounds... But these events were one-offs... In order to further anchor the action of the conservatory geographically, in the Grigyny II district as well as in the lower part of the village, but also temporally, Pierre from the conservatory and Anne from the Maison des Enfants et de la Nature wished to rely on an action carried out in the city concerning the music of proteins (or proteodies): "Influencing plant growth through music".

This initiative has enabled the town to benefit from a musical treatment for its communal vines, without inputs, for 3 years now. It also allows the replication of an experiment conducted in 2015 at the University of Cergy Pontoise testing the resistance to water stress of peas subjected to proteodies that promote or not the capture of water by the plant.

Pierre then designed the teaching aids related to the project and allowing the development of a permanent action, during school time, with different schools in the city, with the aim of facilitating scientific learning in schools. Anne and also Cédric from the French National Education Department were involved in the choice of the school to host this demo action, which was initially scheduled to start in May 2020.

The health crisis and the confinement will decide otherwise, the action will be rethought and shifted in time. Pierre will train Cheik, an animator at the Maison des Enfants et de la Nature, during the month of June 2020, so that both of them can intervene in this action. The first of the actions will take place within the framework of the "Learning Holidays" scheme of the Cité Educative and will benefit from the visit of Alain Bucquet, Prefect for Equal Opportunities in Essonne.

As for the school time demo action, well, it will be postponed to January 2021 and guess what, it will be repositioned, as planned, in May 2020, at Jean Moulin school, in the classes of Kristel and Laura, Maténé's teacher!

Has the circle been completed? Not quite yet... Did you know that Olivier, the headmaster of the Maténé school, is also one of Léo's pupils?  But keep it a secret, Matene doesn't know it yet !

Maténé was also inspired by his brother: he heard him talk about François Hollande's visit to his college (Jean Vilar) on Tuesday 27 June 2017 and by the Secretary General of the United Nations who said: "our will to live in harmony within the great human family" — 13 June 2015, Ban Ki-moon.

[1]  in Gonfreville l'Orcher

[2] Survivors of the atomic bombings of 6 and 9 August 1945 in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

[3] Mayor of Grigny and President of the Association of Municipalities, Departments and Regions for Peace

[4] 25 to 28 February 2020