Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Music as Bridge Builder

Last night, I saw this amazing documentary about the Sistema, a classical music orchestra cultivated from the grassroots of Caracas in Venezuela. Children brought up in poverty were given a chance by a visionary from a young age to learn, play and perform classical music. It lifted their lives and aspirations, and the music that came out was truly harmonious, passionate and sublime. Their conductor Dudamel is now regarded as one of the best in the world, and he was trained through Sistema and is only 25 years old. I had just written a book on Social Cohesion and when I saw this programme, my hope was reinforced. Music is a fantastic way to build cohesion, and in an orchestra harmony is required, created and opens the possibility of sustainance. The best part was the informality and fun of it all - classical music was not formal or stiff, but creative and fun, and this passion came out in the performances. Perhaps our problem today is that we have all become too formal and stiff, and need to loosen up and see the creativity of playfulness and experience true joy. I encourage you to watch this programme and see the power of music in building cohesion.

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