Organs to Develop the Musical Expression of Children in Difficulty

By installing organs in the hospitals, the Toulouse les Orgues Association reaches out to children who are victims of psychiatric disorders. An outreach gesture with a musical leitmotiv...

Social and Employment

Project leader

Toulouse Les Orgues

Midi-Pyrénées, France

Christian Salic

15 000 € to the Selection Committee at 2007/07/03

"The Toulouse les Orgues Association works for the integration and blossoming of children who are victims of psychiatric disorders by providing them access to music. This is one way for them to open up to others, by vibrating and communicating with an instrument. The portable organ developed by the association is a novel approach in their musical awakening. The idea is also extremely innovative: the organ is usually known for its bulkiness and lack of mobility. The exploit is therefore as human as it is technical! When women and men get going to carry out such a project in the pedopsychiatric ward of a hospital, it's a magnificent achievement. But when they want to spread the benefits to over a hundred children throughout the Midi-Pyrénées region, we cannot but want to lend a helping hand."
Christian Salic

Marginalized by incessant visits to hospitals or specialized establishments, some children find it extremely difficult to cultivate relationships. They are usually prohibited from going to school or attending cultural events. To remedy these difficulties, the Toulouse les Orgues Association, which conducts organ promotion projects with the public at large and also runs the annual Toulouse festival dedicated to the instrument, has decided to act in a hospital environment, in the hospitals of the Midi-Pyrénées region.

For the last three years, the team has been running musical appreciation workshops in the pedopsychiatric ward of the Grave Hospital in Toulouse. This pilot experiment is destined to develop beyond this first institution.

Organs in "Kits" and in Transparence

The workshops, attended by children aged from 7 to 12, have been very popular with the children and with the care teams. By discovering and playing the organ, these handicapped children break with their isolation, learn to listen and "listen to each other". Each session is the opportunity for a joint apprenticeship around the instrument: miniature organs have also been designed and built for easy transport in the hospital.

To open similar workshops in other care institutions of the region, the association has to build six new copies of these miniature organs based on the first prototypes. These instruments must be collapsible, transportable and display a number of features. They are in fact teaching instruments: the swells are apparent and the pipes are visible: these are instruments that the children can approach, touch and handle. The importance of the workshops lies not so much in the musical quality obtained as in the experimental work that will serve as a medium for "resocialization". The grant from the Veolia foundation will enable a hundred children to benefit from this program over a period of three years.