Re: “A fling with strings” (TNT, 11-3).
Congratulations to the Tacoma School District for having the innovation and creative courage to initiate its string music program in the elementary grades. Hopefully, this amazing effort will continue to flourish and include instruments of the entire orchestra.
This has happened before, in Venezuela. In 1972, a system of more than 200 public youth orchestras teaching basic instrumental and musical skills was formed in Caracas by the economist and musician, Jose Antonio Abreu. Since this initial beginning, they have flowered into hundreds of multi-talented musical groups at all skill levels, including a few of the world’s finest symphony orchestras.
All youngsters are eligible and encouraged to participate because musical training develops the learning abilities needed for children to prosper. This program has given children living in abject poverty amidst the gray cloud of abuse and neglect the ability to go well beyond survival and realize their human potential more fully in harmony with their peers.
Since this is a bottom-up system that requires substantial effort to achieve, students have little time or interest in status-seeking efforts. All are recognized for their efforts and work. Thus they learn to earn feelings of accomplishment through their skill-building efforts and musical rewards rather than in mere social positioning.
If the initiators of this program maintain and build on big dreams, Tacoma’s musical program also will blossom and flower.