In Monday’s (5/20) Edmonton Journal (Alberta, Canada), Marta Gold writes, “A new pilot project to teach violin to inner-city kids is about much more than learning music, organizers say. ‘The most important thing is that it’s a social change program,’ says Shirley Nowicki of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, which is organizing the free, after-school program at Mother Teresa Catholic School. ‘It’s not to develop technically excellent music students. It’s the whole process in striving to learn how to play an instrument and learning how to play together. It’s that process that’s going to catapult that social change.’ The YONA-Sistema (Youth Orchestra of Northern Alberta) is inspired by the El Sistema program developed almost 40 years ago in the poorest areas of Venezuela. … The three-year YONA-Sistema pilot project in Edmonton will launch in September for about 20 students in grades 2 and 3 at Mother Teresa School. For three hours, five days a week, low-income students will be offered the program free of charge. It will include intensive violin instruction, free play time, nutritious snacks, and busing home each day. At the end of the pilot, the program will expand to a second school and offer a broader range of instruments for a wider range of students. The intention is that the older students will ultimately become mentors to the younger ones. By 2017, organizers plan to debut the youth orchestra for a public performance.”

Photo by Megan Voss/Edmonton Journal

Posted May 20, 2013