Baixada Fluminense Composers' Movement Association
AMC Music School
AMC is a non-profit association created in 1991 by the “Associação do Movimento de Compositores da Baixada Fluminense” - a group of composers of São João de Meriti, - Baixada Fluminense/Rio de Janeiro.
We started out as a research project whose goal was primarily to promote local music production as a significant expression of our own culture. To carry out this project we got in touch with a variety of people of all walks of life - construction workers, wall painters, street vendors, factory workers etc -, who were also composers and poets who expressed their way of thinking and viewing the world through their own music.
After a series of meetings, these workers/composers created an association through which they managed to release their first CD.
While they would be in the process of making their second CD, they envisioned a new direction for the AMC school based on the main needs of the community. It became clear to them that it was important to create a group of well-trained instrumentalists, who were able to perform their own music in public. At the same time, the school would be able to provide a series of much-needed after-school leisure and cultural activities for the children and teenagers of the Baixada Fluminense region.
“...ah, meu samba
tudo se transformou...”
(Paulinho da Viola)
Our work is directly linked to the Brazilian cultural roots
Our focus is to revitalize the traditional music styles that are no longer represented in the commercial mass media. Most of the children who live in the Baixada Fluminense region rely only on radio and television programs as their sources of information, and therefore have no access to these important expressions of our cultural roots.
We offer classes in acoustic and 7-string guitars, bandolin, clarinet, “cavaquinho” (a small 4-string guitar), recorder, flute, percussion, and music theory. All of our students are able to read music score.
It is very gratifying to see our students in the school backyard studying and practicing the music scores of some of the greatest Brazilian music masters, such as Pixinguinha, Cartola, Nelson Cavaquinho, Waldir Azevedo, Chiquinha Gonzaga, Monarco, Jacob do Bandolim, Tom Jobim, Wilson Moreira, and many others.
The project activities take place at the AMC own headquarters, a comfortable house with a large tree-shaded backyard. The School is prepared to receive students with special needs
The school is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM to 5:30 PM. Most of the students come to school every day of the week, either to take classes or just to practice. Our school has become a place for meetings, studies, leisure, entertainment and information sharing
Proof of attendance in classes of the regular school system is required from all students who seek to enroll in our school
The AMC Music School Project started in 1998 as a formative and professional music training alternative for children and teenagers in risk situations.
Where we are: Baixada Fluminense
Baixada Fluminense is a dormitory region west of the city of Rio de Janeiro, where about three million people live - about twenty-five percent of the city’s total population. The region is well known for its challenging social problems and urban violence issues.
Since we deal with low income children and teenagers, we have to face the need to generate some work training possibilities for them at an early age. Very often we find teenagers who are forced to quit their formal school education, as well as their AMC Music School activities, to help supplement their family income. Through our projects we try to show them that music can also be a possible professional alternative.
From the very beginning, AMC has been managed by people who live in the region. All of our teachers have graduated from our Music School.
Training for monitors and instructors:
Monitors – To learn how to study is of utmost importance in the learning process of all areas, not only music. Our monitors are trained to help beginners to study. They are chosen for their music skills, solidarity attitude, and financial needs. They receive an allowance, and are required to make time for their regular school activities. To be a music monitor stimulates a future professional training of the student.
Instructors – After some time of “teaching practice” as monitors, they begin to teach their own classes. They then become instructors, and receive a monthly payment.
Our methodology stimulates team work, while discouraging individualism and personal disputes. From the very start our young musicians learn that it is the harmony of the instruments that makes the music beautiful. They soon understand that the best performance is the result of the collective effort of the whole group. They learn how to work collectively, and to discuss, listen, and debate ideas. Soon enough they come to realize that group work may be harder to accomplish, but its results are better than those obtained through the efforts of individuals.
We have several music groups, such as Samba Groups / Choro Groups / Strings and Wind Instruments Orchestra / Percussion Orchestra “Pandeloucos” / AMC Flutists.
These groups perform in special events, public spaces, schools, cultural centers etc.
Tropa da Alegria
Some of the projects developed at AMC are: Music School / Music Tutoring Training / Music Instructor Training / Samba and Choro Workshops / AMC goes to Public Schools / Public Schools go to AMC / Recreational Workshops / etc
Recreational Workshops – Artists involved in many other cultural activities such as circus, cinema, theater etc, are also frequently invited to come to AMC to perform and talk about their work with our students. Our objective is to make these other activities known to our students, enriching and broadening their understanding of the cultural world.
AMC at Public Schools – Groups of our students perform in public schools of the area on a monthly basis.
Public Schools at AMC - Students from the area’s public schools frequently come to visit our project. For these occasions we always prepare specific performances and/or music workshops.
Samba and Choro Workshops – Distinguished composers and musicians, well known for their involvement with Brazilian cultural roots, often come to visit our school. During these visits they play their instruments exclusively accompanied by our instructors, who are currently in the middle of their profissionalization process. These performances give our instructors not only the honour to play with renowned musicians and have their own work publicly recognized, but also the chance to receive some extra money. Eventually they get invited by these artists to participate in their shows, recordings and performances, thus entering the work market as professional musicians. Having their work recognised in the professional music world increases their self-esteem, respect and appreciation by their families, teachers, and community members.
In our Music School we try to stimulate and refresh the joy of learning in our students. While working with them individually or as part of a team, we also learn from them. Together we navigate in their own universe, answering their questions, and introducing some new thoughts and ideas in the process.
The focus of our learning universe is music, but it is not necessarily restricted to music notes.
Music is a form of language - a very broad and complex at that, charged with a large spectrum of emotions and pleasure.
In order to make good music, one needs to try to enrich his cultural world through constant readings, and knowledge and information seeking.
Besides the music classes, we also offer our students other learning opportunities through video programs, talks, courses, interchange with other schools, trips, workshops etc.
Important themes for the development of good citinzenship skills are often discussed with our students at AMC, such as: domestic violence, sexual harassment and abuse, unemployment, teenager pregnancy, drugs, environmental issues, the importance of voting and elections etc.
This is our way to fight violence!
This is our way to build peace!