Harmonizing Matosinhos: Bridging Cultural Heritage and Music Education through Community Engagement


Tuesday, 26th March, 9am-10:30am

Recognizing the pivotal role of community engagement in fostering authentic connections and motivating students, this proposal explores the intersection of community involvement and music education. Drawing from STEAM research (Gillespie et al., 2014; Herro, Quigley, and Clan, 2018; Perignat and Katz-Buonincontro, 2019), this study aims to investigate the influence of community engagement and cultural context on music education within the Matosinhos community.

Through a collaboration between the Educational Program of Orquestra de Jazz de Matosinhos (OJM) and Escola de Música Óscar da Silva (EMOS), this initiative aims to integrate musical creation with the songs played by Matosinhos’ fishers during their activities. The project seeks to answer the following questions: How can community engagement enhance music education? and What challenges do teachers face when integrating traditional songs into their instructional practices?

Examining the incorporation of Matosinhos’ cultural heritage into music education, this study seeks to nurture an association between students and their community. Through an analysis of the influence on students’ learning outcomes and cultural understanding, this investigation will reveal the impact of cultural context on shaping music education.

The survey lasts for six weeks, including interactive sessions designed to foster active participation and collaborative learning. These sessions culminate in a musical presentation, showcasing the fusion of cultural heritage and musical expression. Questionnaires and interviews with students and teachers measure the initiative’s impact.

This project offers valuable insights into how community engagement and cultural context enhance music education, a theme that has not yet gained widespread attention in Portugal. Through the collaboration between OJM and EMOS, our endeavor is not only to enrich students’ educational experiences but also to contribute meaningfully to the cultural tapestry of Matosinhos. Demonstrating the harmonious blend of tradition and modernity, the integration of music education with a community’s cultural heritage is evident in this project. We aim for this study to inspire future initiatives, deepening the understanding of the symbiotic relationship between cultural heritage, community engagement, and music education.

About the speaker

Hélder José Batista Sá, Violin

Hélder Sá holds a Ph.D. in Music from the University of Aveiro, with his research focusing on “The Violin in Portugal during the First Republic: Contexts, Protagonists, and Repertoires” under the guidance of Helena Marinho. Previously, he completed master’s degrees in Violin and Music Education at the same university, mentored by Evgueni Zouldikine. His earlier academic endeavors occurred at the Porto Conservatory of Music and the School of Music and Performing Arts (ESMAE).

Throughout his academic journey, Hélder has been shaped by influential mentors such as António Cunha e Silva, Malgorzata Wierzba, Zofia Wóycicka (violin), Ana Mafalda Castro, Ryszard Wóycicki (chamber music), and António Saiote (orchestra). Additionally, he received further guidance and inspiration from Jossif Grinman, Vadim Feldblioum, and Anibal Lima, participating in masterclasses led by Gerardo Ribeiro, Radu Ungureanu, Vadim Brodsky, Roman Nodel, Daniel Rowland, Tatiana Samouil, and Benjamin Schmid.

Hélder has performed with many Portuguese orchestras, including the Orquestra do Norte, Orquestra Filarmonia das Beiras, Orquestra Clássica do Sul, Orquestra Clássica do Centro, and Orquestra Clássica de Espinho under the batons of António Saiote, Cesário Costa, Jean-Marc Burfin, Marc Tardue, Omri Hadari, Pedro Neves, Vasco Pearce de Azevedo, and Yuri Nasuchstan.

Currently serving as the Educational Director at the Óscar da Silva School of Music, Hélder teaches violin at the Academia de Música de Santa Maria da Feira and contributes as an integrated member of INET-md. His research, disseminated through Ava, UA Editora, and Comares, delves into historical musicology and the interpretation of Portuguese repertoire from the late 19th to the first half of the 20th century. He has been involved in the projects “Euterpe unveiled: Women in Portuguese musical creation and interpretation during the 20th and 21st centuries” and “Being a Musician in Portugal: The socio-professional condition of musicians in Lisbon (1750-1985).”