Children from The Conservatory Lab Charter School in Boston

Children from The Conservatory Lab Charter School in Boston

Monday, July 12, 2010

Abreu fellowship

In October I will be temporarily leaving my perfectly wonderful life as a violinist in The Cleveland Orchestra to become a student again, to live in Boston and go to school, learning all about the miraculous El Sistema movement in Venezuela.

Why would I do such a crazy thing? Right, I wonder that myself many times each day. I LOVE my job, my friends, the many extras, like chamber music projects and teaching my students, my dog and my very cute house.

But I saw El Sistema and I feel hungry.

For many years now, I have gathered proof that Classical Music will deeply affect most people that are close enough and comfortable enough to be open to it.

In El Sistema I see clearly that Classical Music can reach anyone anywhere if the situation is right. I hope to gain from the year in Boston/Venezuela insight to how we can create many more "right" situations to reach people in a deep way through music right here in the US.

Today my thoughts are:

This can be done very effectively by teaching children to play instruments and via that route will teach them many more life skills, such as patience and concentration. If under-served youth can be affected this way, as the model in Venezuela shows, then all sides win. Through music, we will hope to transform young children and improve their chances to lead healthy lives.

With a quartet, we visited a Juvenile Detention Center last week. The audience were some of our hardest-hit youth in Cleveland. One boy was only 11 years old! Imagine that, 11 and locked up!
They were enchanted by the music, cheered for Beethoven, loved Puccini, made up opera stories....the music transformed them into the most incredible high-school audience I have ever played for. Think how incredible it would be if they could be taught to play themselves?

The core of my dream is to reach many more people through the awesome language of classical music because it can give so much and can answer so many questions about life's biggest mysteries in a way that nothing else can.

Why do I think orchestras could easily go this way?

Maybe it's time to eat lunch and continue this later.....

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