In September 2012 Caprice Ltd developed a unique international distance teaching project "International Minifiddlers" that combines classical music education from Finland and modern technology. The project is aimed for children and their pedagogues. The instructor of the project is professor Géza Szilvay and the teaching method used is the successful "Colourstrings method" developed by Géza Szilvay himself with his brother Csaba Szilvay. The sessions are taught using a video conferencing system via the Internet.
Géza Szilvay is a Hungarian violin pedagogue and a great influencer in the Finnish music scene. He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his work. In 2009 Mr Szilvay was granted the title of Professor. Earlier that year the International Kodály Society selected Géza Szilvay as their honorary member.
The Finnish TV‐program "Viuluviikarit musiikkimaailmassa" was one of the most popular children's shows in the 70's and 80's in Finland. In the project of "International Minifiddlers" the similar concept is created on an international level with the help of modern technology. Mr Szilvay teaches violin pedagogues and their own pupils distantly from a studio situated in Helsinki to several countries around the world in real time. Sessions are taught once a week to each country on Thursdays and Saturdays.
Mr Szilvay has a group of seven pupils aged 5‐6. With his group he demonstrates the methods used in individual and group teaching. The children are pupils at the music institute of eastern Helsinki. Géza Szilvay monitors the progress and guides the pedagogues and their pupils on a weekly basis during their sessions. A brief introductory scene is filmed during the session with Finnish pupils and then used as the theme for each country's session. The material from the sessions is compiled weekly for domestic and international distribution.
Professor Géza Szilvay demonstrating a distance teaching session with his group of pupils in Helsinki
The countries currently taking part in the project are Finland, Germany, Denmark, Greenland, Faroe Islands, Israel, South Korea, Sweden, Italy and Australia.
The partners of "International Minifiddlers" and Caprice Ldt are Cisco Systems Finland Ltd, Elisa Plc and Elisa's subsidiary Videra Ltd that specializes in video business. These companies take care of the Internet and video connections of the project. With the help of modern technology, the excellence in violin studies can be distributed despite long distances. This is also an excellent example of the unique cultural exports that Finland has to offer.
The manager in charge of visual communication at Elisa Plc, Juho Urho, says that it is important for their company to take part in the development of diverse exploitation of video connections for different purposes.
Helsinki University's Music and Brain Research Group is also collaborating with the project. The idea is to create an international learning environment that works in real time. With the help of distance teaching, excellence can be distributed around the world in an environmentally friendly way. The children taking part in the project are taught on an equal footing despite their geographical location and financial background.
Conductor Esa‐Pekka Salonen has addressed his support for "International Minifiddlers" in a public reference. Mr Salonen supports the project wholeheartedly and feels that it is a crucial musical lifeline for remote communities. He sees the opportunities presented by the project potentially boundless. Mr Salonen believes that the future of musical education in Finland lies in projects such as "International Minifiddlers".
The project has received aid from the following entities: The Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation and Tekes Innovation Funding from Learning Solutions programme.
Additional information and contact details
CEO and Project Leader
Tel. +358 40 772 3452 or +358 40 770 1310
maarit.rajamaki (at) caprice.inet.fi
Project Coordinator and Producer
Tel. +358 41 434 8480
heidi.kuusava (at) sarestokons.inet.fi