Christian Long

Jose Abreu: Kids Transformed by Music

In TED Talks on April 15, 2010 at 10:16 pm

Reflection by EMMA L.

Original TED page w/ speaker bio, links, comments, etc:

Jose Abreu:  Kids Transformed by Music

Jose Abreu had a wish, a wish that the children of Venezuela could express themselves through the art of music. Abreu’s wish was granted when he was awarded the “Ted Prize” that allowed his program El Sistema to expand to the United States and other countries.

Hear was Jose Abreu’s wish:

“I wish you would help create and document a special training program for at least 50 gifted young musicians, passionate for their art and for social justice, and dedicated to developing El Sistema in the US and in other countries.”

Through El Sistema some of the poorest children get the opportunity to express themselves and go to a place where salary, race, or gender do not matter. The arts are no longer just for the elites of every country, but for all social classes. Abreu made his dream a reality for over five hundred children in Venezuela and his Youth Symphony was ranked number five out of all of the orchestras in the world. Today over 300,000 children of lower and middle classes attend El Sistema.

On tour in Europe and the United States, Abreu realized that the reactions of the public after the concert was finished was not only an artistic triumph, but a profound emotional sympathy between the public of the most advanced nations of the world and the musical youth of Latin America. The message of music, vitality, energy, enthusiasm and strength are conveyed from the music expressed by the youth of Venezuela.

Venezuela is considered a poor nation overall in the world. The average income in a household in Venezuela is $12,200 with 18% inflation and 8.5% unemployment. Music is their outlet; music lets them be who they are and allows children to focus on what they believe is important. Orchestras and choirs are not a waste of time and money, they are essential to the mind development and body. Through music, children can develop their self-esteem and further expand their moral and aesthetical values. This is why music is important in teaching the values and preparing children for the next step in their life.

Jose Abreu’s idea is simple; he believes an orchestra is about togetherness, a place where children learn to listen to each other and to respect one another. José believes that the future will be better for Venezuela, by changing the minds of people and structures through music.

This is one of the Youth Orchestra’s performances in which the perform “Mambo”.

Pepsi has launched the Pepsi Refresh program which grants ideas all around the world with funding to make people’s ideas a reality. Abreu and El Sistema need your help in winning a $250k grant to allow more expansion and opportunities for gifted children throughout the world. Please vote for them and the other projects they’re partnered with everyday through the end of April.



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