EDUCATION THROUGH EXPERIENCING

MUSEUM LESSONS

We invite al. school pupils to our extraordinarily interesting and substantial museum lessons. We offer classes at al. levels of instruction – for preschools, primary, middle and secondary schools. We talk about Fryderyk Chopin’s education and training, everyday life, free time, work in Warsaw and Paris, travel, friends, pianos, first loves, profession as a teacher and pianist; we talk about manuscripts, the creative process; we also show how the Museum works and how exhibitions are designed. The hour-long lessons take place from Tuesday through Friday between 9:00 and 11:00 AM. Participants spend half an hour in our workshop space, and half an hour at the exhibition. The maximum group size is 25 persons (in case of larger groups, we propose simultaneous lessons for the divided group).

The lesson price for an organized group is PLN 250 (including chaperones); if the group signs up for four lessons, then the price is PLN 200 per lesson. The Museum reserves the right to change the conditions of its educational offer.

For detailed information about the program and help in selecting lesson topics, please call: 22 44 16 257/258; reservations can be made by telephone at: 22 44 16 251/252 (box office, open Tuesday–Sunday, 11:00 AM–8:00 PM), as well as online at: bilety.muzeum@nifc.pl.

In the case of reservations for a second or subsequent museum lesson for the same class, please contact the Education Department (tel. 22 44 16 258/259) to establish the lesson topic.

 

LESSON TOPICS:

Preschool:

  • Little Chopin
    At the lesson, we get to know Fryderyk as a young boy gifted not only with genius, but also a sense of humor. The children can thereby recognize in someone their age – Chopin – a good friend whose music is worth discovering regardless of age.
  • Listen to Me! Chopin
    The aim of the class is to become acquainted with Chopin’s music via active listening and play. At the Museum’s permanent exhibition, we look for places associated with Fryderyk’s music, in order to later create a musical impression concerning his compositions.
  • Enchanted Piano
    How does a piano differ from a forte, and what relationship does a giraffe have with an upright piano? Our youngest guests will be introduced to the extraordinary world of the instrument from which Chopin never wanted to be separated. At the exhibition, they will become acquainted with the differences between the upright and the concert piano, discover the instruments’ secrets and see a few objects that are important in this context. In the workshop portion, the children will create their own orchestra, take on the role of the conductor, and learn a song associated with the lesson topic.
  • ‘That little krakowiaczek…’: Did Chopin dance the krakowiak?
    Fryderyk Chopin traveled the length and breadth of Poland. Perhaps the children have already visited one of the regions where little Frycek stayed? In the Kujawy, in Little Poland or in Mazovia, Chopin admired in turn the kujawiak, the krakowiak and the mazurka, played along on folk instruments, imitated the musicians. We shall become acquainted with the traditional instruments which the artist encountered, as well as those typical of the 19th-century salon. At our exhibition, we shall take a look at the relationships of Chopin with the countryside and with folk culture, which was one of the most important sources of inspiration for his music. As a counterpoint, we shall visit the Warsaw salon of which little Frycek became a part. In the workshop portion, the children will have the opportunity to learn the basic steps of the mazurka, oberek, kujawiak, polonaise and krakowiak.
  • How sweet is Fryderyk’s music…: Music genres for our youngest guest
    Are Chopin’s mazurkas sweet; did Fryderyk know a lot about cakes; what does a torte have to do with a concerto; what does a car have to do with music? During a 45-minute museum lesson addressed to our museum’s youngest visitors, we shall try in a simple manner, based on comparisons and associations, to set forth for the children a short history of the beginnings of Fryderyk Chopin's musical career, as well as present a simple classification of selected musical genres that can be found in his œuvre.

 

Primary School:

  • Enchanted Piano (lesson for 1st–3rd grades)
    How does piano differ from forte, and what relationship does a giraffe have with a piano? Our youngest guests will be introduced to the extraordinary world of the instrument from which Chopin never wanted to be separated. At the exhibition, they will become acquainted with the differences between and upright and concert piano, discover the instruments’ secrets and see a few objects that are important in this context. In the workshop portion, the children will create their own orchestra, take on the role of the conductor, and learn a song associated with the lesson topic.
  • Frycek in Warsaw
    During the lesson, we shall travel back in time to 19th-century Warsaw. We shall become acquainted with the addresses associated with Fryderyk’s life as he grew up – apartments, schools, concert venues. During the workshop, we shall create a map of Chopin's Warsaw and come up with a tourist route covering the most important places associated with his biography.
  • How did Fryderyk Chopin compose?
    Did Fryderyk Chopin need a lot of time to write a piece? Did he compose every day? Why do many of his pieces exist in multiple versions? During the lesson, we shall find out the answers to these and other questions concerning the writing process of the great composer’s works. We shall find out what a musical autograph is, and what the difference is between its rough and edited versions, as well as what a first printing and an album are. We shall observe the musical notation and performance instructions in Fryderyk Chopin's pieces, and think together about what they tell us about the composer himself and about his music. During the workshop, we shall also become acquainted with music notation used many centuries before Fryderyk Chopin, and how it is created in contemporary times.
  • A Calendar Page: A Day in the Life of Fryderyk
    At the Museum exhibition, we become acquainted with objects associated with Fryderyk Chopin’s everyday life; we talk about his schedule and duties as a teacher, pianist and composer. During the workshop, we attempt to make entries in Chopin’s calendar so as to plan Fryderyk’s day in the best possible way.
  • Little Composers
    Fryderyk Chopin concertized, as a piano teacher he attained the greatest prestige in Paris, but the activity to which he devoted himself most passionately was composition. The children will become acquainted with Frycek as a child their age, a very gifted boy who was quickly appreciated by distinguished artists of his time. We shall become acquainted with the circumstances in which Chopin's first compositions were written, and find out who helped him to write down the notes. In the practical portion, the children will create their own piece using note puzzles to create music notation, which will then be played live.
  • Chopin’s Travels in Poland
    By studying a map and objects at the exhibition, we acquaint ourselves with selected places where Chopin stayed in Poland. During the workshop, we create a short guidebook to Chopin’s Poland.
  • Let’s Design an Exhibition
    During the lesson, we become acquainted with the principles on which the museum functions, not only in its traditional dimension, but also from the angle of modern media. We take a look at solutions used in the Chopin Museum’s permanent exhibition, in order to independently design an exhibition during the workshop which will be interesting to the contemporary visitor.
  • Chopin Between Folk and Salon Culture
    Fryderyk Chopin’s œuvre exists in the space between traditional, countryside music and the salon. In folk culture, we see the sources of the artist's compositions. The Chopin family, together with the 7-month-old future pianist, moves to Warsaw, but little Frycek visits many regions of Poland, enjoys participating in feasts and takes inspirations from their achievements. With his works, he conquers the salons both of the capital of the (at that time) Duchy of Warsaw, and of Paris and other European cities. What kinds of fashions were prevalent in the 19th-century salon, and what did people wear to dance Polish folk dances? What eating habits were prevalent in the countryside and in the city? What did Chopin eat? By placing Chopin in this context, we discover not only the artist, but also a human being at a particular moment in history. The practical portion consists of learning the basic steps of the mazurka, oberek, kujawiak, polonaise and krakowiak.

 

Middle and Secondary School:

  • A Calendar Page: A Day in the Life of Fryderyk
    At the Museum exhibition, we become acquainted with objects associated with Fryderyk Chopin’s everyday life; we talk about his schedule and duties as a teacher, pianist and composer. During the workshop, we attempt to make entries in Chopin’s calendar so as to plan Fryderyk’s day in the best possible way.
  • A Tour of Musical Genres
    On the example of manuscripts held in the collections of the Chopin Museum, the basic musical genres created by the composer will be presented. The angle of manuscript source analysis will be interwoven with tales of episodes from Chopin’s biography that accompanied their writing, as well as discussion of the 19th-century aesthetic context. The diversity of genres and forms – as well as, on the other hand, a focus in most cases on only one instrument – will invite participants not only to take a look at the context of their function in 19th-century society, but also to think about artists’ attitudes towards the media and aesthetic language in which it is their lot to create music.
  • Chopin’s Creative Process
    How were Fryderyk Chopin’s compositions written? How did the genius work? Why couldn’t he decide on one version of a piece? Illumination, idea, trial, first attempt, sketch, rough copy and, in the end, the final version, though not infrequently corrected even later: this, in a nutshell, is how one can present the creative process not only of Chopin and his contemporaries, but also artists of our day. Detailed information concerning the writing process of the composer’s works is provided by such sources as manuscripts and copies thereof, as well as first printings, along with memories of his loved ones. Beyond this, during the lesson pupils will have the opportunity to find out what role in the compositional process was played by the piano, where he most intensively devoted himself to creative work, how long it took to compose a piece, as well as what musical autographs are, and what the difference is between their rough, edited and album versions.
  • Chopin’s Path Through Europe
    During the lesson, we acquaint ourselves with selected places where the composer stayed in Europe through the prism of his biography, œuvre and objects at our permanent exhibition, as well as the realities of travel in Chopin’s time. During the class, we analyze fragments of Chopin’s letters and reports from places he visited.
  • Fryderyk Chopin’s Warsaw
    During the lesson, we travel back in time to 19th-century Warsaw. We become acquainted with the addresses associated with Fryderyk’s life as he grew up – apartments, schools, concert venues. During the workshop, we create a map of Chopin's Warsaw and come up with a tourist route covering the most important places associated with his biography.
  • Chopineum
    Chopineum is a shared discovery of what a museum is. We become acquainted with the exhibition and with vocabulary associated with museology. We find out what an exhibit is, what museum collections are, why it is so important to digitize them. We explain what is understood by the concept of conservation, what an open museum is, what are the functions of this place, and talk about why autographs are important in the musical context.
  • Chopin Between Folk and Salon Culture
    Fryderyk Chopin’s œuvre exists in the space between traditional, countryside music and the salon. In folk culture, we see the sources of the artist's compositions. The Chopin family, together with the 7-month-old future pianist, moves to Warsaw, but little Frycek visits many regions of Poland, enjoys participating in feasts and takes inspirations from their achievements. With his works, he conquers the salons both of the capital of the (at that time) Duchy of Warsaw, and of Paris and other European cities. What kinds of fashions were prevalent in the 19th-century salon, and what did people wear to dance Polish folk dances? What eating habits were prevalent in the countryside and in the city? What did Chopin eat? By placing Chopin in this context, we discover not only the artist, but also a human being at a particular moment in history.

 

INFORMATION FOR TEACHERS

The Fryderyk Chopin Museum educational program includes classes adapted to participants’ needs and age. By acquainting ourselves with the life and œuvre of Fryderyk Chopin, we would like the museum visit to open pupils up to intellectual and aesthetic values. Education at the Chopin Museum does not only introduce history and its contexts, but also invites dialogue concerning the place of Chopin and 19th-century culture in contemporary society. It is an encounter with both Chopin and the museum, with multi-dimensional phenomena that stimulate creativity in each participant.

The museum lesson does not include a tour of the entire exhibition of the Chopin Museum. Pupils only acquaint themselves with those objects which are related to the selected class topic. The topics we propose concern only one selected issue from the area of the life, œuvre or reception of the work and person of Fryderyk Chopin. In order to deepen knowledge of the composer, we propose follow-up visits to the Museum and participation in successive lessons.

We suggest that teachers prepare the children in advance for the museum visit by presenting the figure of Fryderyk Chopin and his music in such measure that the topic you have selected will be familiar to the pupils and encourage them to deepen their knowledge. For this purpose, we invite you to make use of materials placed on The Fryderyk Chopin Institute’s web page: www.nifc.pl.

 

During the lessons, we emphasize pupils’ active participation. We encourage them to ask questions and look for answers together. It is also important to us for teachers present at the classes to take part in the exercises, giving those under their care an example of participation in extra-scholastic forms of education.

We encourage you to link class topics together in a cycle to show pupils the figure of Fryderyk Chopin in as broad a context as possible.

During the museum lessons, the group chaperone (the person ordering the classes) is required to ensure that pupils behave in a polite, disciplined and appropriate manner, especially at the exhibition, in order to guarantee the safety of participants and of the Museum collections.

 Before the classes, we leave al. bags, backpacks and outwear in the coatroom; during the lesson, we make use only of learning materials received from the museum Educator. Pupils take the papers filled out during the lesson home with them, or they can use them at school as review material.

MUSEUM LESSON RULES AND REGULATIONS