Marcel Andries studied at the Lemmens Institute in Mechelen from 1937 to 1942, earning the laureate degree. He became organist of St Peter's church in Anderlecht, concurrently starting his licentiate (= masters) study of pedagogical sciences at the Catholic University of Leuven (1942-1946). In Belgium he organised study days and conferences in the field of general musical education. Abroad as well he was much solicited, leading educational courses in Paris, Nijmegen and Rotterdam, and during the summer courses of the Orff Institute he was invited by Carl Orff as a guest professor.
In 1950 he became the first professor of musical pedagogy at the Lemmens Institute and in 1954 he became head of the Musical Pedagogy Department of the Antwerp Royal Conservatory. Owing to these educational activities, his frequent contacts with German pedagogy and several study trips to Germany, Andries was very influential among young musicians such as Kamiel Cooremans, Vic Nees, Juliaan Wilmots and Jan van der Linden, providing them with a new perception of musical pedagogy. He also taught in the Netherlands, where he directed the Musical Pedagogical Department of the Brabant Conservatory in Tilburg starting 1963.
In 1954 he founded the Musica Domestica Society, which promoted musical activities at home and in schools, and was transformed in 1957 to 'Musicerende Jeugd' (Young Musicians). Through this society he distributed arrangements of songs as well as choral works to schools, for instance via the music leaflets Musicerende Jeugd-muziekblaadjes and made translations of anthologies of Orff's Schulwerk. Under his direction and with his participation the anthologies Zingt en speelt (Sing and Play) for primary schools and Spelen en zingen in de kleuterklas (Playing and Singing in Kindergarten) were published. 'Musicerende Jeugd' also helped founding some ten music schools for young people.
At age 43 Andries committed suicide. As written in an In Memoriam by Frans Bertens 'The restless work for the ideal he had set for himself apparently demanded too much of his energy'.
© Studiecentrum voor Vlaamse Muziek vzw - Annelies Focquaert (translation: Jo Sneppe)