Rodney McCoy, violinist and alumnus of Ozanam Strings
The Ozanam Program in Pittsburgh has been serving youth for many years, advancing the mission “to help boys and girls of Western Pennsylvania develop into responsible young adults through positive, developmental training.” In the 1960s, before El Sistema even existed, Ozanam had a program that used music to reach young people. Ozanam Strings had years of success, and even was featured on Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood. Annie Gordon met with an alumnus of Ozanam Strings, Rodney McCoy, who went on to a career as a jazz violinist. McCoy shares his memories and his thoughts on how music education can change young lives at a time when they need it the most.
Read on for this exclusive interview conducted for The Muse Dialogue in part III of our series, “El Sistema Before El Sistema: Rodney McCoy and Ozanam Strings” (click here for full article).
A case study in effective audience engagement, and building an experience.
A great deal of research has indicated that arts audiences are increasingly seeking an experience in their encounters with arts. That could include integrating a social experience with a performing arts program, or perhaps an enriched experience of interacting with artists. Whatever the case, the focus is on changing the nature of interaction between the audience and work, and between the audience and artists. In the case of classical music, there are many long-standing traditions in how work is presented, and Colin Pinto-Martin argues that it is time to change them.
In this article from The Muse Dialogue, Pinto-Martin says that innovation is long overdue, and especially innovation in providing a total experience for concert audiences. He writes, “Building a relationship outside of the concert hall is essential. If you want to reach people in their 20s, then you need to meet them where they are, which might mean a jam session in a club. If you want children, then you need to get into the schools more.” As he writes, you may even need to learn a lesson from some unlikely sources — a little pizza delivery might help too.
Colin Pinto-Martin offers some insight and heartfelt opinions in “Build the Experience to Build the Art” (click her to read full article).
Athletics Meets Art in the Form of Mario Lemieux (Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins)
Recently Erin Yanacek offered an article on The Muse Dialogue, exploring what she sees as the similarity between her experience as an artist and her experience as an athlete. In the process, she discusses that the topic came out of a debate with colleague Andrew Swensen.
As we always seek to offer the opportunity for dialogue on the arts, Swensen has taken the time to explore everything from dance competitions to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. Add a bit of Coppola’s The Godfather, rhythmic gymnastics, and Mario Lemieux’s goal in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Finals, and you come to his argument. And what is that argument? Well, you will have to read on to see if he has been convinced in his response “Artists May Be Like Athletes…But Art is Not”
Emily Dickinson, introvert and artist
A thoughtful individual and a committed artist, Kristine Rominski is also an self-professed introvert. Introverts face particular challenges because the reality is that society favors extroversion in so many ways. An extrovert naturally gravitates to speaking up, to having their thoughts heard. Introverts, by contrast, may not draw attention to themselves because their nature may be more inclined to reticence. In the case of art-making this lack of natural gregariousness may impede having others recognize talent and beauty in the making. Introverts need a bit more time and a bit more attentive listening, and if we do not take the time to listen, we may just be missing out on something special.
In this article, Rominski takes a courageous step to open up and share her experience, a look inside the creative mind of one devoted to art but not necessarily inclined to speaking out. Take an extra moment to hear her words in “Taking Time to Listen: An Opinion on Introverts and the Arts” (click here to read the full article).
Photo courtesy of El Sistema @ Rainey
Annie Gordon continues her series on El Sistema in this second installment by looking at a couple of programs in the United States: El [email protected] in Cleveland and MyCincinnati. Both of these programs have transferred the philosophy of Venezuela’s El Sistema to urban environments in the U.S., and Gordon considers the questions inherent in the undertaking. In both cases, musicians seeking to help children found local partners in the community. To learn the results, read Gordon’s new article “The Many Faces of El Sistema in the USA” (click here to read full article).
Photo courtesy of MyCincinnati
Annie Gordon launches a series on El Sistema with this article. El Sistema began in Venezuela as a program that uses classical music in order to reach children in difficult circumstances. At the core of the program is a philosophy, and Gordon writes, “At the foundation of this philosophy is the idea that music education – specifically classical music education – can and should be used as a means of uplifting and unifying an underserved community, starting with the children.” The results have been impressive, and Gordon wants to share this story of success — a story of art transforming lives.
Follow her to learn the answer to the question “What Is El Sistema?” (click here to read the full article).