Through the Education Lens

Bravo, Gustavo Dudamel!

CJ Westerberg, December 14, 2011 8:21 AM

Gustavo Dudamel.jpg

Orig. posted 1/7/11.

Gustavo Dudamel:
The 29 year-old Conductor Who Is Redefining Music Education
 for a New Generation
PBS Video Below

by C.J. Westerberg

How can one not fall for the charisma, depth of commitment toward kids, and the sheer talent of  Los Angeles Philharmonic Conductor Gustavo Dudamel.   I certainly did and continue to be absolutely awed by his work.  Go straight to the video and you'll see what I mean - it's like a shot of adrenaline for your soul.

The interview by Tavis Smiley on PBS in video below is a wonderful twenty-minute joy-ride with Dudamel who is affectionately called "The Dude,"  "a once in one-hundred-years talent," and "a real conducting animal" by the music establishment, musicians, and fans, alike.

Venezuelan by birth, Dudamel was influenced by Jose Antonio Abreu's innovative and radical music education program in Venezuela , El Sistema, which is now being carried through in the States by Youth Orchestra of Los Angeles (YOLA).  The core philosophy is how music can be a social change agent whereby music education should be integrated for all children, whether rich or poor, talented or not.  Kids can thrive through music, learning collaboration, discipline and empathy skills.

Dudamel speaks about the influence of poverty and how we need to "build bridges and human connection" in our very chaotic world.  Music provides the "civility and union" that kids so desperately need and deems "the Arts are a right" with the goal not to build musicians necessarily,  but to imbue the arts sensibility within all children and the ability to work with a group.  Dudamel speaks much of the importance of community and how isolation is something that can be avoided through the involvement with music education.

"If you put a musical instrument in a kid's hand,
he or she will never pick up a gun."
- El Sistema

Video below may make us all take pause about what's happening with music education in our schools:

Related posts The Daily Riff:
Quincy Jones: A three-sixty human being - riffs about music, technology and parenting
PBS: The Next "Golden Age" of Arts in America

Posted by The Daily Riff January 7, 2011



Watch the full episode. See more Tavis Smiley.

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