Since 2009, Vienna-based Superar offers children access to free and high quality music education – with the help of a teaching method based on motivation. The positive energy of music and its ability to overcome boundaries as well as having the opportunity to play music together strengthens the participant’s personality and, in turn, their future chances in society. As part of the daily lessons offered in primary schools, music becomes the common language among many children, regardless of their social background and geographic origin. This leads to mutual respect and positive social interactions – far beyond their time at school.
Inspired by the Venezuelan music and social programme, El Sistema, Caritas Vienna and the Vienna Boy’s Choir founded the Superar programme in co-operation with the Wiener Konzerthaus in 2009. Superar is the Spanish term for “overcome, surpass oneself” and offers children and young people regular choir and instrumental lessons in accordance with the El Sistema teaching method. It focuses on group learning under the supervision of professionally trained choirmasters and instrumentalists. This not only promotes the children’s music skills but also their social skills. Each child is encouraged, regardless of his/her talent or prior knowledge of music. Music should be fun, while also providing pleasure and enthusiasm. This leads to commitment and the willingness to develop oneself further. Both promoting highly gifted children and introducing children to music for the first time are equally encouraged in this system, as is the joy of experiencing joint development and mutual support.
Superar aims to contribute to improved social integration. Thus, schools with a high percentage of children from migrant backgrounds constitute the main target group. The choir programme is part of the daily primary school education; the children sing for one hour every day up to four times a week.
Instrumental lessons also take place in groups that are supervised by certified music teachers able to handle different proficiency levels and support the participating children according to their talents. This automatically leads to a sense of responsibility within the group, motivating the more advanced colleagues to support the younger ones.
The lessons are coordinated according to the same annual programme across all Superar locations. This enables the children to take part in international gatherings and gives them the opportunity to overcome language barriers with the help of music.
The first step on stage
Part of the Superar concept also includes regular performances by the children – either on the large annual concert stage or in their immediate environment, e.g. at their school, in the community, at public events and in public places. These performances involve a high degree of motivation - they strengthen the children’s feeling of self-confidence and self-esteem and create social cohesion. In addition to this, these joint performances provide a platform to meet new people – for parents, children, neighbors and friends of different origins.
Superar and the Hilti Foundation
For the Hilti Foundation, Superar is an opportunity to open the world of music to those children who are not automatically part of the group targeted by established music school systems. In addition, Superar enhances the already existing and well-trained music school system in our geographical region with the important aspect of group learning. While conventional music lessons tend to prioritise individual instruction rather than group lessons, Superar’s community-related approach offers the opportunity to work far beyond just the promotion of musical skills.
High educational, musical and artistic demands encourage a high musical standard. The group learning experience also strengthens important additional skills including concentration, communication skills, motivation, creativity, self-awareness, self-discipline, self-confidence and a sense of responsibility. The Hilti Foundation classifies these additional skills as the key foundation for a responsible and positive co-existence in our society.
The Hilti Foundation’s commitment to Superar is focused on the programme’s strategic development, as well as on the programme’s geographic expansion and on the networking between the locations with the help of regular joint activities.