Hubert von Goisern sets the course - Folk music in the classroom

5th October 2015 | Video & Photos: © Servus TV

Usually the Year 2 pupils in Seitenstetten can be found listening to music from Helene Fischer, One Direction or Imagine Dragons. Can the YouTube generation be inspired by proper folk music though? Hubert von Goisern takes up the challenge. His ambitious aim is to prepare a class for a folk music show in just one term.

"After three or four hours, any advantage you have as a celebrity is used up and you're an enemy like any other teacher", the Goiserer worries. However the 22 pupils make every effort in face of the challenges in preparing to appear together on stage with their celebrity teacher. Aside from learning the choreography for 'S Bibihenderl and yodelling in front of the whole class, there's also writing lyrics for new verses to Goaßbeitl-Bauernbuam. Supported by a music teacher and three students from the Salzburg Mozarteum, Hubert's protégées work on a broad repertoire of songs. How will they go down at the big finale concert?

Hubert von Goisern and the pupils of the Stiftgymnasium Seitenstetten

23rd February 2015 | Text: Sarah Marchant | Photos: © Chris Weisz

Hubert von Goisern explores folk music with the pupils of the Stiftsgymnasium Seitenstetten

How the tradition of folk music is being taught and imparted in schools, passed on to the youth of today, formed the basis for an exciting project for students at the Stiftsgymnasium Seitenstetten in Lower Austria. Leading them in their exploration of their native folk music was Hubert von Goisern, himself renowned for his approach to keeping musical traditions alive and making them accessible to younger generations and modern tastes. He worked with the students, talking about his own experience with folk music, singing and playing the traditional tunes with which he grew up.

"The collaboration with the pupils in 2b was the highlight of the winter for me," said Hubert. "You always hope that something good will develop. But the kids exceeded all my expectations with their creativity and joy in singing."

Together HvG and class 2b developed a joint concert programme as a finale event for the project on 17th February. The pupils rehearsed with music teacher Helmut Schaumberger and students from the Mozarteum University of Salzburg in between Hubert's own return visits to the school. "Both the finale concert and the public dress rehearsal were a celebration for everyone taking part, as well as the audience," said Hubert, "I want to say a big thank you to everybody for their collaboration and co-operation."

Director Chris Weisz, who has previously accompanied Hubert von Goisern on his journey to Greenland, as well as on his concert tours through the German-speaking region, also captured the development and highlights of this project for a wider audience beyond the classroom. The resulting documentary will be broadcast on Servus TV in October 2015.