Monday, September 3, 2007


Youth orchestras benefit their members and their communities in many ways. According to the Economist, the Venezuelan system provides the proof:
"A 1998 study by psychologists from the University of the Andes found that participants, who include formerly violent delinquents, tended to steer away from crime, drugs and other temptations. They also showed marked improvements in academic performance, self-esteem, leadership qualities and social integration."

In order for society to reap these benefits, all children must have access to music instruction. They cannot participate in youth orchestra without a certain level of proficiency on an instrument. But private lessons are prohibitively expensive for many. From Vanessa Thorpe in the Guardian:
"It's an age-old criticism - classical music is elitist, for white people only and does little to engage young people more at home on their PlayStation 3.

Well, now the fightback begins. The virtuoso cellist Julian Lloyd Webber has demanded an end to such 'tired' assumptions. Speaking after a youth concert at the Albert Hall last week that was hailed by several critics as a candidate for 'the best Prom of all time', he said: 'We need to give all young people access to this music and to orchestral instruments...

...Why should it be assumed that young people will not enjoy it? The problem is that they can't afford lessons'...

...He said that classical audiences are labelled elitist and dominated by white people, while the same thing is rarely said about the largely white and comfortably off crowds at rock concerts. It is a question of economics, not race, the musician argues."

One of our goals at MYO is to be able to offer private lessons on a sliding scale to everyone who is interested. And then welcome these students into youth orchestra for an experience we hope will be as much fun as playing with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra at the Proms.

1 comment:

HEWY said...

Nice Blog. I enjoyed reading it!