Poco a Poco
Annie Gordon continues her series on El Sistema in this week’s article from The Muse Dialogue. In this fourth installment, she looks at several programs in the Pittsburgh area, programs that are directly inspired by El Sistema or that share El Sistema goals of using music to make an impact on young people. The work of the featured programs — Ozanam, the Poco a Poco intitiative of the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society, the East Liberty Community Engagement Orchestra, Assemble PGH — have inspiring stories to tell, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share them.
Read and learn about the impact that music can make for young people in often difficult circumstances. Join us for “El Sistema and Pittsburgh” (click here to read the full article).
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).
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).
TMD continues its series on emerging artists in classical music today with a rethinking of the the problem and the solution. We know that audiences are declining, and so classical music organizations respond with innovative presentations, non-traditional performances, and clever marketing approaches. While well intentioned, such efforts miss the real problem in the opinion of Annie Gordon. They are nice, perhaps, but only “band-aids” to solving the issue of declining audiences.
Gordon argues that the very mindset of classical musicians must change first before any substantial change is possible with audience trends. “As musicians, we are preventing our own art from flourishing because we do not value with equal intensity our roles as music educators and mentors,” Gordon argues.
Join us for a consideration of how one defines the role of “musician” in this article from The Muse Dialogue, “The Classical Musician’s Paradigm Shift” (click to read full article).