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← El Sistema USA: Transformation through music | Mark Churchill | TEDxBoston


Showing Revision 2 created 04/09/2015 by Krystian Aparta.

  1. Back in 2005, TED took the next step
  2. in terms of spreading
    ideas worth spreading,
  3. with the introduction of the TED Prize.
  4. This year, one of those TED prizes
  5. went to a gentleman
    by the name of Dr. José Abreu.
  6. We are fortunate enough
  7. to have the epicenter
    of that TED Prize here in Boston,
  8. centered out of
    the New England Conservatory.
  9. This next set of segments
    includes a video about that TED Prize:
  10. the wish that Dr. Abreu presented,
  11. as well as Mark Churchill,
  12. a Dean from the New England Conservatory,
  13. who really has been silently leading
    this wish here in the US,
  14. and as well as Benjamin Zander,
  15. whom many of you know,
  16. a wonderful conductor
  17. who is maybe more vocally leading
    a lot of this initiative.
  18. Please join me in welcoming
    Mark and Benjamin up to the stage.
  19. But first let's hear about that TED Prize.
  20. (Music) 33 years ago,
    in a parking garage in Caracas,
  21. Maestro José Abreu brought together
    11 young people to play music.
  22. (Music)
  23. He told them, "With this instrument,
    you are going to change the world."
  24. "El Sistema" was born.
  25. And today...
  26. (Music)
  27. Youth Orchestra of Venezuela
    conducted by Gustavo Dudamel.
  28. (Music)
  29. We are very happy, because we have
    this angel in the world.
  30. He is giving us
    the possibility to have dreams
  31. and to make true the dreams.
  32. Here is the result
  33. of this wonderful project
    that is The System.
  34. (Music) "[El Sistema] is undoubtedly
    one of the most successful
  35. music-education projects
    of its kind in the world."
  36. (Music)
  37. "The truth is, I have never felt so moved.
  38. Not only because of the emotion
    of the moment...
  39. but because of the quality
    of the El Sistema musicians."
  40. (Music)
  41. "El Sistema" has produced
    over 150 youth orchestras in Venezuela.
  42. "El Sistema" serves over 300,000
    young people in Venezuela per year.
  43. 70% of the participants
    live below the poverty line.
  44. The effect of "El Sistema" is felt
    in three fundamental circles:
  45. In the personal/social circle,
  46. in the family circle and in the community.
  47. The most miserable
    and tragic thing about poverty
  48. is not the lack of bread or roof,
  49. but the feeling of being no-one.
  50. That's why the child's development
    in the orchestra and the choir
  51. provides him with a noble identity
  52. and makes him a role model
    for his family and community.
  53. There is no difference here
    between classes,
  54. nor white or black,
    if you have more money or not.
  55. Simply, if you are talented,
  56. if you have the vocation
    and the will to be here,
  57. you get in, you share with us
    and make music.
  58. In 2009, Maestro José Antonio Abreu
    was awarded the TED Prize.
  59. He received one wish to change the world.
  60. I wish that you help
    to create and document
  61. a special training program
  62. for 50 gifted young musicians
  63. passionate about their art
    and social justice
  64. and dedicated to bringing El Sistema
  65. to the US and other countries.
  66. Thank you very much.
  67. (Applause)
  68. Debuting: El Sistema US
  69. at the acclaimed
    New England Conservatory of Music.
  70. 18 post graduate fellows a year.
  71. Talented
  72. dedicated
  73. motivated
  74. socially conscious.
  75. Completing their training
    between Boston and Venezuela,
  76. they will learn from the masters
    to train the next masters ...
  77. The Abreu Fellows will then bring
    their leadership and passion
  78. to undeserved communities,
  79. inspiring new students
    to work hard and dream big.
  80. (Music)
  81. (Music ends)
  82. (Applause)
  83. 18 new "El Sistema" leaders a year
    18 new communities served.
  84. Transforming a nation's youth
  85. (Applause)
  86. Well I have the great fun of telling you
    a little more about El Sistema,
  87. but first a little lead-in.
  88. So many of us in the arts
  89. can describe our lives
    as a continual search
  90. for ways to share
    the immensely positive impact
  91. that our art form has on us
  92. with more and more people,
    particularly children.
  93. We ourselves live with art every day.
  94. The artistic experience
    is at the center of our being.
  95. Art informs how we feel,
    think, learn, move, interact,
  96. contribute, love and transcend.
  97. And those of us in music deeply understand
  98. and strive to achieve
    the intricate balance
  99. between the mind, heart, body and spirit
  100. that leads to the most effective
    and satisfying musical performance
  101. and indeed state of living.
  102. When we teach music,
  103. we see the exquisite interplay
    of these human elements
  104. in a complete and balanced learning
  105. that nourishes the souls
    of the young people
  106. while developing an array of life skills.
  107. It's the clear power of arts learning
    that creates the conviction in us
  108. that all children and young people,
    all of us really,
  109. deserve this education in life.
  110. And in a way that's affirming,
    rigorous and freeing,
  111. we come to believe that every human being
  112. has the potential to experience art
    at the highest level,
  113. that we all deserve the privilege
    of an arts-rich life,
  114. that people thrive when art
    is at the center of society,
  115. and that art is truly transformative.
  116. And so we set to work,
  117. finding every available moment
    in our busy lives
  118. to advocate for arts in education,
  119. and to create effective delivery systems
    often aimed at undeserved communities.
  120. Over the past 30 years
  121. I've had the privilege and honor of being
    involved in the founding and development
  122. of a number of these
    Music-In-Education initiatives,
  123. and Boston has again proven
    to be a powerful incubator for ideas
  124. and a leader in building
    models of success.
  125. Project Step, created in 1982,
  126. supports professional training
    in string instruments
  127. for young black and Latino students.
  128. The Boston Music Education Collaborative,
  129. a nine-year partnership
  130. between the New England Conservatory,
    the Boston Symphony,
  131. the Boston public schools and WGBH,
  132. worked at integrating music
    into classroom learning in core subjects.
  133. The Conservatory Lab
    Charter School in Brighton
  134. explores ways to employ arts learning
    across the curriculum
  135. at the elementary school level.
  136. From the Top, the national radio series,
  137. celebrates the power of music
  138. in the lives of the entire range
    of diverse teenagers in the US
  139. and the Youth Orchestra of the Americas
    that you'll hear shortly
  140. brings together young musicians
    from some 25 countries in our hemisphere
  141. to learn from each other
  142. and to serve as a beacon
    of international collaboration.
  143. Now I only name a few,
    and this in only one city in America.
  144. But even with all these efforts,
  145. we feel like we're taking very small steps
  146. towards the goal
    of bringing all young people
  147. into a profound relationship with art.
  148. Enter El Sistema.
  149. I first came face to face
    with El Sistema 10 years ago,
  150. when I had the great privilege
    of working with Maestro Abreu
  151. in the founding
    of the Youth Orchestra of the Americas.
  152. It was instantly clear that we all needed
    to take this very seriously.
  153. Here was an affirmation of our faith.
  154. Living proof that our programs
    and initiatives
  155. could be more than tiny drops
    in the ocean of need.
  156. El Sistema was demanding
    that we think much bigger
  157. about our efforts
    to bring art to our society
  158. and educational systems.
  159. Thank you, maestro Abreu,
  160. and the more than 1 million
    young Venezuelans
  161. who have participated in The System
    over the last 35 years.
  162. For me, the last 10 years
  163. have been a journey
    of discovery about El Sistema.
  164. I've been to Venezuela at least 15 times
  165. and I always feel that I'm coming home
    to the Land of Music.
  166. Last fall, I spoke to some eminent
    German musicians in Caracas,
  167. and they told me that now in Germany,
  168. they refer to Venezuela
    as the Motherland of Music,
  169. and to Germany
    as the Grandmotherland of Music.
  170. (Laughter)
  171. Now, El Sistema might best be described
    as a set of inspiring principles
  172. that has lead to a clearly defined
    and well-practiced
  173. full-time after school music program,
  174. that holds social change as its first goal
  175. and the highest values of excellence
    in music education
  176. as its close second.
  177. Learning from our Venezuelan friends,
  178. by observation,
    and from our own experience,
  179. my colleagues and I across the US
  180. have identified 4 core values
    of El Sistema
  181. as well as its essential, transferable,
    philosophical and practical elements.
  182. The core values cover:
  183. human dignity,
  184. the belief in every child's potential,
  185. the necessity of strong self-worth
  186. and clear priorities for education.
  187. And growing out of these values
    are the things that need to be present
  188. if we want to see the kind of results
    that El Sistema has produced,
  189. and are thrilling audiences
    throughout the world.
  190. Philosophically, we need fun first,
  191. group learning,
  192. and discipline inspired
    by the pursuit of excellence.
  193. On the practical side,
    programs must be sustainable,
  194. placed within target neighborhoods,
  195. employ large musical ensembles,
  196. be intensive,
  197. fully engage families and communities,
  198. speak to the whole child,
  199. give constant applause
  200. and feature peer-to-peer learning.
  201. In many conversations
    during the past years,
  202. it became clear that we needed
    2 principal tools in our country
  203. to foster and accelerate
    the El Sistema movement.
  204. A networking resource
    advocacy organization,
  205. and highly trained and skilled leaders.
  206. The realization gave birth
    to 2 national initiatives:
  207. El Sistema USA
    and the Abreu Fellows Program.
  208. Being developed with the guidance
    of a national advisory group,
  209. El Sistema USA is
    a support and advocacy network
  210. for people and organizations in the US
    inspired by the Venezuelan model.
  211. Largely through an effective website
    contributed by a TEDster in San Francisco,
  212. and launched a few months ago,
  213. it will provide comprehensive information
  214. on the El Sistema philosophy
    and methodology
  215. and a variety of resources
    that will aid those in building,
  216. expanding and supporting
    El Sistema programs
  217. in the US and beyond.
  218. As it develops, El Sistema USA will,
    among other things,
  219. become a national leader
  220. for advocacy efforts
    for arts and education,
  221. host conferences,
  222. arrange study tours
    to Venezuelan and US programs,
  223. fund research projects
    and provide consultants.
  224. The first major initiative
    of El Sistema USA
  225. is the Abreu Fellows programs,
    to be launched this fall.
  226. This, of course, was the focus
    of Dr. Abreu's wish.
  227. I'm thrilled to say that our first class
    of 10 Abreu Fellows
  228. will be arriving in Boston this fall
  229. for a year of intensive study,
  230. including a two-month
    residency in Venezuela.
  231. There is no doubt that we found
    10 of the best and brightest,
  232. passionate for their art
    and for social justice.
  233. They will found El Sistema centers
    here in Boston and in other cities
  234. as well as joining
    the leadership teams of existing pilots
  235. in LA, Chicago, Baltimore,
    Brooklyn and Miami.
  236. The existing startups
    have already done much
  237. to prove that El Sistema
    can effectively be translated to the US.
  238. Kids are thriving,
    waiting lists grow every day,
  239. families are engaged,
    communities are taking notice
  240. and feeling pride and worth.
  241. We are beginning to El Sistema
  242. as an important key
    to a new educational philosophy
  243. that may very well have the power
  244. to change the fundamental way
    we think about the education
  245. of our children and youth.
  246. The El Sistema movement has begun.
  247. Thank you.
  248. (Applause)