Violins in Schools

CALENDAR Academic Year 2019/2020

19th September 17.00-18.30

26th September 17.00-18.30

10th October 17.00-18.30

17th October 17.00-18.30

24th October 17.00-18.30

7th November 17.00-18.30

14th November 17.00-18.30

21st November 17.00-18.30

5th December 17.00-18.30

12th December 17.00-18.30


In the city of music, as Cremona is called, we make music.
We make music which suffuses our rich culture with talent and understanding, which strives to be inclusive of all its citizens, starting with the very youngest.
We make music starting at school.
We make music which enriches education with a wealth of the expertise of our town, promoting its traditions, teaching and culture.

The Project

The project Violins in Schools is an innovative educational programme, which aims to develop a culture of music in nurseries and primary schools in the town.
  • Endorsed by ‘Istituto Superiore di Studi Musicali “C. Monteverdi”, by the Educational Policy Department of the Comune di Cremona and in collaboration with the International Violin Making School.
  • Aimed at the older end of nursery and the first three years of primary school.
  • Designed to help kids understand the acoustic, musical and expressive potential of the instrument through a creative teaching process, which encourages critical thinking in a group/class learning context.

This initiative involves schools in a carefully structured course of study, gauged to suit the individual needs of each school class or group; integrated into the curriculum for a broad age group and an equally broad range of levels of musical ability. For this programme to work over several school years, the project is designed with continuity in mind across these two levels of the school system. This allows for reinforcement of previous learning and encourages flexibility; drawing on existing experience and making use of visual aids. This project cultivates useful skills for all our young people, encouraging sociability and inclusiveness.


The method of teaching utilised here is a kind of informal education which recognises the child’s natural ability to learn through direct experience. This supports cognitive development and puts emphasis on the creative talent of the child through various hands-on, practical and experimental activities, taught by experts in music education and the study of the violin.

These workshop-style activities are done in groups or classes and offer children the chance to share their discoveries and their creativity, comparing their findings and ideas with those of their schoolmates.
Musical knowledge is passed on in a way that allows children above all to experience it with all five senses, through movement, rhythm games and vocal exercises.

Through the use of a monochord instrument, a “Bengalino”, suggested by Gianluigi Bencivenga and taken up by the International Violin Making School who make them specially for this project, the children are immediately able to take a creative approach to the experience of music-making.

This methodology is grounded in the use of teaching materials (worksheets, storytelling, song lyrics, unpublished pieces, activities using purpose-built apps and LIM) specially created for this project.
The whole programme is actually supported by a simple story
, written for this purpose, used by the teachers to help the children learn. Each character represents a string on the violin based on the pitch of the note and the twists and turns of the story act as a stimulus for the children to experiment and focus their learning.

The interdisciplinary nature of the course, worked into the school timetable, involves schoolteachers themselves in the running of the lessons in their own schools, supervised by experts in music education, instruments and related disciplines like Mathematics, Science, the Italian language etc. The teachers are also supported in a training course.

The Bengalino

The Bengalino is a bowed, single-string instrument, made of wood and with an educational purpose. It was created with the aim in mind of being an instrument which facilitates teaching of important fundamental musical principles. For this course, four Bengalini are used, one for each string of the violin. This helps children with both individual and group learning.

History of the Project

This project underwent an initial, experimental phase in 2015-16 which involved 4 schools and a total of around 150 children.
The programme was run entirely by expert external teachers and concluded with a final performance in the Auditorium of the Sala Borsa.
Then, in 2016-17 about 10 schools and another 400 children participated.
In the 2016-17 session class teachers were involved for the first time in the running of the course, with the supervision of external experts.

The course concluded with the event “100 Strings” on the 27th of May 2017, in Cortile Federico II in Cremona, as part of the third Schools Musical Revue in the province of Cremona: “Musica ad Arte” and included in the final event of the tourism project Lombard Cult City. All of the children involved were able to show off what they had learnt with their Bengalini.

The Training Course

One of the goals of the project is for the Bengalino to become a standard teaching tool both for the study of music and also in other subjects like Mathematics and Science, making it a part of everyday learning. To this end a training course has been created, supported by the Educational Policy Department of the Comune di Cremona, run by Maestro Gianluigi Bencivenga. It is targeted towards the teachers involved in the project and aims to impart its methodology and teaching aids to help them run this course in their own classes.

The Book

To be shared with the children and their families; a simple handbook has been written on this course, aimed at children from 4 to 7 years old. A voyage of discovery of the secrets of music through the use of the Bengalino, a real, accessible tool for play, growth and learning. The book, edited by Maestro Bencivenga, is an exclusive, innovative teaching aid. In short, it can be a guidebook for teachers which will help support their teaching of the course.

The Software

To facilitate the learning experience of all and to help group-work, a software package has been created which allows teachers to share a lesson with the whole class, helps parents pick up important concepts to help their children learn and for children to further their learning outside of the classroom.

Wider Interest in the Project

This project was demonstrated to ex-Minister Giannini on his recent visit to Cremona and received with considerable enthusiasm; as well as to Luigi Berlinguer, current President of the Committee for the Practical Study of Music last January. The programme is very much in demand at various schools in the province of Cremona, Brescia and Bergamo.

The Making of the Bengalini

To continue and expand this project, new Bengalini are currently under construction to meet demand from local schools.

Registration Form:

Modulo iscrizione Violino va a scuola A.A. 2018/2019

Further information:

Secretary tel: 0372 22423,