El Sistema Saves at-risk Kids through Music
El Sistema, which nurtures disadvantaged youth from violence-plagued Caracas, is a shining example to all about the transformative power of music
Click on the text above to read the article out of Toronto, Canada by William Littler.
Come on America.
There is so much potential for a program like this in the United States. Efforts must be united, and the dialogue must not abate. Now is an opportunity for ALL musicians: educators, performers, and teaching artists, to join together and transform our communities through music.
Just think of the number of lives that can be touched. As quoted in the article, “Less than 10 per cent of these students become professional musicians. That is not the main purpose of the exercise. What they learn, through music, is a range of life skills, including self-discipline and respect for others.” The number of children El Sistema has influenced over the years is in the millions.
And for all of the classical music artists who say “what has this got to do with me?” I recently spoke with a few members of the El Sistema USA Abreu Fellowship Program who just returned from Venezuela observing the program there first hand. They spoke of diverse audiences. They spoke of full concert halls. They told me of kids lined up in droves to catch the myriad of classical music concerts that are offered in some of the cities of Venezuela. They spoke of excitement.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: This is our opportunity as artists to become ambassadors for our art. We must strive for the day when cutting music programs is LAST on the agenda of school boards across the country because they find what music contributes to their communities too valuable an asset to simply let go of.
It is up to us.
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