February 24th, 2012

WATCH: Does Music Education Matter?

Special thanks to Fundamusical Simón Bolívar archives for video footage of El Sistema and to Laurie Sude for additional footage of Anne Fitzgibbon.

The Harmony Program, an after-school program in New York City, is showing that music can make a big difference in children’s lives. The program provides 80 mostly low income students with free instruments and daily music lessons, but it’s not just about the music. Harmony is modeled after Venezuela’s hugely successful “El Sistema” program, which over the last 30 years has helped hundreds of thousands of the country’s neediest children learn not only how to play music, but also how to achieve success in school — and beyond. What works in Venezuela is proving equally effective in New York, where budget cuts have forced many schools to give up their music programs.

The Harmony Program is made possible through a partnership with The City University of New York.

Download transcript (PDF)
This program is made possible by the following funders:
Grade Level Reading Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


DiscussionJohn Merrow and Placido Domingo

You’ve seen the full piece (above). Want to hear more of John’s discussion with the maestro? It’s here. Listen and comment!

DiscussionExplore El Sistema-inspired Programs

El Sistema’s model has inspired programs all over the world, from Los Angeles to Hartford to Scotland and back again. Want to see some of the work those groups are producing? Check out this aggregation of resources. Explore and comment!

DiscussionCat McGrath and Bob McGrath In Discussion

Cat McGrath produced this piece. Bob McGrath, her father, is a veteran of Sesame Street. Here, in a charming father-daughter convo, they talk — and sing! — about the evolution of music education. Check it out. Listen and comment!

DiscussionWhat’s The Value Of Music Education?

We obviously live in a testing-focused world. So what’s the value of getting an education outside those core subjects? We had several experts discuss it. Read and comment!

Hangouts 1Google Hangout No. 1

We wanted to experiment with Google Hangouts as a way to continue our coverage of a story, so we did that for this piece! Here is Google Hangout No. 1 on El Sistema initiatives; this edition is moderated by Eric Booth, a Senior Adviser to El Sistema USA. Watch and comment!

Hangouts 2Google Hangout No. 2

Here is Google Hangout No. 2 on El Sistema initiatives; this edition is moderated by Tricia Turnstall, the author of a popular book on El Sistema. Watch and comment!

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