About PRESTO

Background

Music-making in school education has been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. What was formerly among the safest educational and cultural activities has changed due to the capacity of singing and of playing certain instruments to transmit the coronavirus. Moreover, physical distancing and restrictions on indoor gatherings have affected the close human proximity that is central to collective music-making. Consequently, students of school education are losing out on opportunities to sing in the singing class, and to play in the music class.

Research has demonstrated the immense contribution that music education can make to people’s lives. The benefits are artistic, creative, and expressive, but equally important are the effects on personal wellbeing and social integration. Music education influences mental and physical health, inclusion, friendship, and togetherness, and can also positively impact curriculum areas beyond music. All


Thousands of music teachers and choir conductors have been seeking out appropriate ways to adjust their teaching and leadership practices to take account of these unprecedented challenges.of these benefits have been curtailed by the effects of the pandemic.

Objectives

The objective of the PRESTO project is to chart a path forward for the continued delivery of quality, effective music education through and beyond this crisis, by developing flexible and adaptable resources for remote or restricted musical activity by schools. Internationally renowned musicians and leaders in their fields are creating innovative digital toolkits, together with best-practice guidance, specially tailored for all areas of school music education: classroom education, choral education, and instrumental education. Resources include demonstration videos for creative music-teaching approaches, for remote use of the Kodály HUB, the Move mi Music application and the Colourstrings instrumental teaching method; creative piano pedagogy, musicianship courses and singing games for children to engage in remotely and in non-contact classroom activities.

Choral concerts and music performances traditionally mark the major milestones of the academic year in many schools. The COVID-19 pandemic rendered such important artistic and social activities impossible. The project will investigate innovative methods for remote/flexible choral performance and will provide accessible techniques and resources to support the reinstatement of these important events in the life of a school. Open-source digital tools for the professional development of school choir conductors and for independent learning by young singers will be made available, along with models of online choir performance and rehearsal, guidance on repertoire selection, and new choral compositions, specially created to overcome the limitations of remote music-making.

The call and the funding

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, extraordinary calls were launched to help mitigate the educational consequences, especially the difficulties surrounding the sudden introduction of remote teaching. The calls under the code name KA226, 227 provided an extra 100 million Euro of funding for strengthening the digital readiness, resilience, and creative agility of the educational sector. The PRESTO consortium successfully applied in Hungary, in the field of the school sector. The awarded funding for the 2-year project is 269,635 Euro. The starting date of the project is the 12th of April 2021. The project will close on the 11th of April 2023.