An Instrument for Every Child – A Year with Four Notes

Documentary film by Oliver Rauch, D 2010 - 90 Min.

Motomu from Bochum, Joana and Esragül from Herne and Kerem from Duisburg are four participants in a unique musical programme which will eventually include more than 200,000 school children in the Ruhr region.

The project “An Instrument for Every Child” began at a music school in Bochum six years ago. The goal was to provide all school children access to musical instruction starting from the first grade. In the second grade, the students are allowed to borrow an instrument of their choosing, which they learn to play over the following three years. This project offers the students creative freedom and an opportunity unlike any other in Germany in terms of its comprehensive, basic support for all children.

The film depicts the ambitious programme from when it began providing funding to schools throughout the Ruhr region until early 2010. Over the course of a year, the filmmaking team accompanied four students to classes, music lessons and their daily life. An exciting process with unpredictable results which required teachers, students and project representatives to learn and adapt every step of the way. Who and how many students will continue the project after the summer holidays? What success has the programme achieved after four years? And what exactly does the term “success” mean? In interviews with students, teachers, music instructors, musicians involved in the programme like Tabea Zimmermann, and responsible directors and project initiators, the film paints a vibrant and multifaceted portrait of this major programme.

An Instrument for Every Child – A Year with Four Notes offers insight into a process comprised of countless, small steps and the vision of a grand educational project.

Set in a region still marked by its industrial past, among garden plots and a “kiosk culture”, the run-down north-side city districts and the green islands of the wealthier residential areas, the film investigates what possible impact this ambitious project and music in general can have. Can musical instruction bring about change? And having come in contact with music, how will the children themselves change their social environment?

Produced by SUR Films and co-produced by WDR and cine+

“An Instrument for Every Child” is a programme funded by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the municipalities of the Ruhr region. It was initiated by the Federal Cultural Foundation, the GLS Treuhand Future Foundation for Education and North Rhine-Westphalia as one of the major events in the European Capital of Culture 2010 programme.

More information about the programme

Click here to read programme information and frequently asked questions

Programme information (external link, opens in a new window)