Mateja Tomac Calligaris, music pedagogy expert and headmaster of the Edgar Willems Music Centre, in her lecture titled "Early music education, Willems' pedagogical proposal", discusses how to approach the musical education of children in a natural and compelling way, to prepare them for joyous and quality schooling in the field of musical arts. She draws from the pedagogical principles of Edgar Willems, important music pedagogue who alongside colleagues established foundations for an active, child-friendly education approach. Willems' proposal always keeps the artistic dimension in mind and does not exclude anyone. Its teaching principles accommodate children and teachers in the ethos of live music enjoyment and respect for each individual.
Mateja Tomac Calligaris has been interested in teaching since her youth, though her first study was in the field of medicine. Chance attendance at a Willems Music Teachers' seminar led her to pursue music pedagogy. In 1994, she obtained her Willems teaching diploma in Italy and a year later began working with her first group of three-year-olds in Ljubljana. In 2002 she graduated from the Faculty of Education in Trieste. In the same year, she founded the Edgar Willems Music Centre and, on the basis of Willems' guidelines, developed her own programs for music education, which became publicly validated in 2004 following a decision of the Council of Experts of the Republic of Slovenia. Since its foundation, she has been the principal of the EWMC and has collaborated with many Slovenian and foreign teachers and artists. She is also an active member of the Slovenian Society for Music Pedagogy Willems, and Vice President of the International Willems Federation.
In July 2018, she was the first Slovenian to obtain the Willems Didactic Diploma in Lyon, which allows her to independently train teachers according to Willems pedagogical principles. She conducts music pedagogy seminars in Slovenia, and participates in teacher training in other parts of Europe (Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland).