Friday, November 2, 2007

Enthusiasm and momentum.

"Enthusiasts believe that the best way to predict the future is to create it." --Stephen Covey

I apologize for the lack of posts. MYO, and now Scrollworks, is never out of my thoughts, but I have been consumed by major life adjustments: learning, growing, and changing. The trigger was the book "Life on Purpose" by W. Bradford Smith, which I thought was going to be pop-psych fluff. Assumptions can be dangerous!

For those who need it, "Why Does He Do That?" could literally be a life saver. This is helpful, too.

I am tremendously grateful to you all, but especially to those who have extended open ears, open arms and open doors. Thank you. And Nick, you're the greatest.

"It’s time for us to shift from despair to dreams."--Peter Gorrie paraphrasing Chris Turner here.

Look out, Scrollworks, here I come. We've got momentum. And we are unstoppable.
"When you can give yourself to work that brings together a need, your talent, and your passion, power will be unlocked." --Stephen Covey

Anyone who's paid attention from the beginning of this blog will know my reaction to the war on whistle-blowers. My heart goes out to anyone in any job who decides to go that route without knowing the facts:
Whistle-blowers lose their cases, the investigation shows, nearly 97 percent of the time. Most limp away from the experience with their careers, reputations and finances in tatters.
And, of course, SBYO grabs attention again:

"The way the Venezuelans play music is exactly how I always thought it should be played," says Joshua Weilerstein, a violinist at the New England Conservatory who was invited to join the Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra's current tour after two previous trips to Venezuela. "I think American musicians are incredibly enthusiastic, but there isn't a desperation about the way we play. [The Venezuelans] play as if their lives depend on every note. There's complete passion."

There is also a sense of collectivism and common purpose that might be sacrificed in an emphasis on individual training. "In Venezuela, the most important thing is the orchestra," Mr. Dudamel told The Independent in September. "You create a community, a shared objective."

There's just too many kids slipping through the cracks, not just with health insurance, and food, but with food for the soul, something they desire in equal measure.

And still more:
In selecting Dudamel, the L.A. Philharmonic is also allying itself with a uniquely successful education initiative, of which its new music director is the most illustrious product; this week the philharmonic will announce plans to inaugurate a program, “Youth Orchestra L.A.,” that is directly modeled on a Venezuelan prototype. Youth Orchestra L.A. will begin with youngsters between the ages of 8 and 12 in a disadvantaged district in central Los Angeles, but its ultimate goal is much grander: to provide a musical instrument and a place in a youth orchestra for every young person in Los Angeles County who wants one. Borda says that she was inspired by her visit late last year to Caracas. In vivid contrast to the situation in the United States, where arts-education programs have been snipped from school curricula as unaffordable frippery, the Venezuelan system provides a place in an orchestra for children, no matter how poor or troubled their backgrounds, throughout the country. And the results have been astonishing. I asked Borda if she was surprised by anything she had seen during her Venezuelan visit. “I didn’t imagine I would be in tears as much as I was,” she told me...

...Unencumbered by family obligations or material possessions, he has dedicated himself to a utopian dream in which an orchestra represents the ideal society, and the sooner a child is nurtured in that environment, the better for all. Sometimes Abreu emphasizes the spiritual enrichment that music brings to the individual; at other times, he points to evidence that students who go through the sistema become more productive and responsible members of society.
The most remarkable feature of the Venezuelan music-education system is its instant immersion: the children begin playing in ensembles from the moment they pick up their instruments. Their instructors say the students are learning to behave as much as they are discovering how to make music. “In an orchestra, everybody respects meritocracy, everybody respects tempo, everybody knows he has to support everyone else, whether he is a soloist or not,” explains Igor Lanz, the executive director of the private foundation that administers the government-financed sistema. “They learn that the most important thing is to work together in one common aim.” Across Venezuela the sistema has established 246 centers, known as nucleos, which admit children between 2 and 18, assign them instruments and organize them into groups with instructors. Typically practicing for two or three hours every day, the children are performing recognizable music virtually from the outset...

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