At a glance 2 min

PVC pipes turned into violins

Brazil is home to a very special school: the violins used by its students are made from PVC pipes. A way of making music learning accessible to all.
PVC pipes turned into violins
PVC pipes turned into violins

The school was made possible by the Locomotiva project. Inspired by a Venezuelan initiative from 1975, this cultural project was launched in 2009 in the province of Sao Paulo. It offers free access to music lessons for children and teenagers who could not normally afford it. However, they do need to have an instrument - in this case a violin or cello – in order to learn and practice. The only issue is that a violin made by a violin maker can cost up to 8,000 reais (€1,250) depending on the type of wood, whereas the cost of a mid-range wooden violin is around 800 reais (€125). In both cases, these sums are out of reach for the students. 

Affordable violins and cellos accessible to all

In 2018, one of the project's violin makers had the idea of using PVC pipes and tubes to make the instruments. Braskem, a petrochemical company, which is also a sponsor of the project, provided PVC pipes and tubes from its construction sites and hydraulic installations.

Luthier, precision craftsmanship

It takes long hours and a lot of skill on the part of the luthiers to give these industrial parts a second life by transforming them into musical instruments.

The production process consists of 42 steps involving activities such as cutting, heating, framing and trimming. In the end, these new violins will cost only 300 reais (€45): they will allow a growing number of children and teenagers aged between 7 and 17 to have access to the lessons they dreamed of and to play in the association’s orchestra. As Gabriel Santos Espinoza, 11, one of the project's students, said as he clutched his PVC violin close to him, “It is amazing to think that a pipe that used to carry water now carries music through it”.

Promoting social inclusion through culture and music

The Locomotiva project is a non-profit organisation that helps young people in the Parque João Ramalho area of Santo André through musical education. Its aim is to socially and culturally integrate children and adolescents through musical training, thus awakening their talents and transforming their daily lives.

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