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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Stewart Guitars not Guns (17) Guitars Not Guns 22 Dec 12

Listening to NPR Weekend Edition this Saturday morning I was intrigued by an interview with Marin Alsop , music director of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the principal conductor of the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra: "Brazil's inherent societal belief that music improves quality of life, contributes to improved social behavior, and is an important vehicle to establish a peaceful society filled with tolerance and respect is a philosophy I once thought existed only in my utopian dreams." She mentioned Dr. Jose Abreu, "the man responsible for establishing the El Sistema movement of music education in Venezuela almost 40 years ago. The program, which launched the career of superstar conductor Gustavo Dudamel, has reached more than 2 million Venezuelan children, transforming lives and creating a safe haven for many of these youngsters from lives of crime and poverty."

Here in the U.S. in our drive for economic austerity, some of the first programs to be cut in public schools are in the arts and musicr, while in Venezuela, Brazil and other Latin American countries youth music programs are being used to combat poverty, violence and other social problems.

In view of the tragic killings in Newtown Connecticut last week we need to seriously rethink our approach to gun violence. Many approaches are necessary and music could be one of them. In Baltimore Marin Alsop mentioned such a program: "We started with 30 kids four years ago, and today nearly 600 kids from four schools are participating. My dream is to reach every child. They are amazing children tomorrow's leaders and they, along with my amazing new life in Brazil, give me hope that my utopian dream of a passionate and positive society may one day come true." Another program that is starting across the country is "Guitars Not Guns" - "The goal of Guitars Not Guns is to help prevent violence in schools and on the streets by providing foster kids and at-risk youth with focus and self-actualization. We aim to empower them with the most fundamental tool to succeed."

This is something to think about.

Cheers, S. in Seattle

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