Agathe Poupeney / OnP
Educational projects

Artistic Practice Workshops

Part of the educational projects built by the teaching team in connection with the Opera comes in the form of artistic practice workshops. Artists and teachers co-build a programme which takes into account both shared progressive learning and the students’ creativity in such domains as dancing, singing, acting, writing and the visual arts…

Through regular practice, the students develop their listening skills as well as team spirit, and gain in self-assertion as they broaden their fields of knowledge. They go through a unique artistic experience which they are invited to share.

The educational teams which have decided to organize artistic practice workshops are offered to consult the DAAC (Local Educational Commission for Arts and Culture) of the Local Education Authorities of Paris, Versailles and Créteil, as well as the team at Dix Mois d’Ecole et d’Opéra (Ten Months at School and at the Opera) and their local structures, in order to choose the best-adapted configuration.

Once agreed upon, the workshops take place either within the schools, or in the local structures which prove to be the most favourable ground for the furthering of cultural actions for the students after they have completed their two years within the DMEO programme.

In this context, the teachers are strongly recommended to attend the artistic and cultural education training programmes organized by the three DAAC.

© Agathe Poupeney

The Little Violins class

A unique workshop


In September 2009, DMEO  opened an instrumental class for the benefit of 22 students of a primary school situated in the Goutte d’Or neighbourhood in Paris. For four years, from their second to their fifth year in elementary school, the children were taught to practice the violin or the viola.

In this class project, the students practiced their instrument collectively, on a daily basis, for one and a half hour at school, and once a week at the Paris Opera. The workshop was financed through Barden and Flavia Gale’s patronage (in memory of Dr Nacache): each student was granted the use of a violin at school, and at the Paris Opera; it also allowed for the remuneration not only of the violin teachers, but of singing, dancing and acting teachers as well, within the scope of a broadened artistic practice.

In September 2013, after an exemplary progress, two of the students went on to attend the Paris 18th arrondissement Music Conservatoire, four joined a first year high school class with special timetable arrangements for the development of musical talent, and twelve students joined another high school in which they can pursue their instrumental practice, with the help of DMEO.

François Weil, Recteur  de l’Académie de Paris ( Director of Education at the Paris LEA), gave his approval to the renewal of the project for a second group of students, for three more years. Thus, twenty five new third year school children started their instrumental practice in September 2013, studying the violin, the viola, to which two cellos were added.

As the idea of transmission and of creating links stands at the heart of the project, the first group will become the new students’ tutors, so that they can share their musical experience with them.


The National Paris Opera Orchestra musicians are a model and a reference of excellence to the students as they start practicing their instruments. Some have accepted to encourage the “Little Violins” and have become their sponsors. Through this involvement, links have been created that have proved infinitely valuable to the students’ progress and to the growth of their self-esteem. By meeting the musicians and sharing musical moments, the students have approached the world of the orchestra and have acquired the self-discipline they need to progress. The sponsors share the objective of seeing the students on the road to achievement through artistic practices.

At school:

Instrumental practice is part of a rigorous pedagogical environment which gives pride of place to artistic and cultural education.

Performances given at the Bastille Amphitheatre and at the Palais Garnier involving the “Little Violins”:

June 2013: first DMEO Festival: “1,2,3...Opera”; Musical show “Quand je serai grand” (“When I am grown-up...” ), lyrics by Simon Hatab
June 2012: “L’oiseau de Glace” (“The Ice Bird”), creation by Fabien Waksman and Florent Siaud
June 2011: first participation of the “Little Violins”, on the occasion of the DMEO twentieth anniversary celebrations, in  the creation of “Lumières” (“Light”)by Patrick Laviron, lyrics by Marie Dupleix, at the Palais Garnier
June 2010: as a prelude to the creation of “La toile enchantée”(“The Enchanted Web”) by Patrick laviron, lyrics by Marie Dupleix

© Agathe Poupeney