My name is Stefano Baroni and I live in Umbria, the Green Heart of Italy. I’m an Orff-Shulwerk Certified Educator, a Drum Circle and Body Music Facilitator. Most of all I like to define myself as a learning facilitator, someone who uses music as a tool to develop various kinds of skills (even ones not of a specifically musical nature), to express ourselves and create positive relationships. At a certain point in my musical and human growth, I discovered that what I was best at and what made me happy was not so much ‘playing for people’ but ‘getting people to play’, actively involving them in experiences that might help them to better themselves, learning new things, expressing and developing their own musicality, working on their ability to listen to themselves and others, and on non-verbal communication.
When I was a child I started to play piano but I found the rigidity of academic music teaching suffocating; I was profoundly attracted by the strong tie between the human and the musical spheres; the piano was most of all a means to communicate, to tell stories, to give a concrete form to emotions, and modulate them. As an adolescent, I fell in love with the guitar and then with jazz, studying improvisation (with Ramberto Ciammarughi) once I had completed university. I graduated in mechanical engineering and I worked as engineer for almost ten years, as well as a teacher and a company trainer, and in the meantime I started to follow various courses in Italy and throughout Europe and to study anything that grabbed my curiosity revolving around music: I studied music therapy, Orff-Schulwerk musical teaching, as well as attending seminars and workshops on Body Music (Keith Terry, Pedro Consorte, Charles Raszl, Peter Stravrum Nielsen, Ciro Paduano), Circle Singing (Albert Hera, Roger Treece, Guillermo Rozenthuler, Anita Daulne), Drum Circles (Arthur Hull, Jane Bentley, Paul John Dear) and much more besides.
In 2015 I decided to focus exclusively on what I really felt to be gratifying. My work has led me to work in schools most of all, to develop teaching projects based on body music, as well as in music/music therapy schools, private associations, music conservatories and other public bodies up and down the country, staging training workshops for teachers, educators, music therapists, etc. What’s more, I collaborate with various choirs and associations on concerts and musical events in theatres and town squares. Over the last few years, after my first training as a Drum Circle facilitator with Arthur Hull I started promoting my own drum circles in schools, mental health institutions, detention centres, companies (events and team-building projects) and for events and community-building. I am lucky because I have met many incredible people who have encouraged me through their example and helped me to develop my own very particular path.
The first of these incredible people was Paolo Cerlati, a musician and music therapist but most of all an enlightened human being who one day, almost ten years ago, said something to me that was to change the course of my existence and which has become the paradigm of my life, leading me towards the circular and inclusive dimension of music:
“When playing the game of music, the winners are those who come together”
In this sentence, there are two key concepts for me: the first is linked to the teaching aspect: music is a game, a very serious game but one that we have to enjoy and derive emotions from. The second concept is linked to relating: the winners are those who come together. Music is a medium that unites us, that drives us to listen to others rather than to compete against them. Play (and therefore enjoyment) and relating are fundamental elements, ones at the basis of the learning process, and I believe that a good educator should never forget this.