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The Thomas Edison of Music Education and Composition, Jon Deak: Creating Music with El Sistema, Part Eleven, Finis

Click here for Part Ten Why am I so intent upon the definitive performance? It should be clear by now that the whole point of the Very Young Composers is to take these works as seriously as we take Beethoven, Mahler, Bartók. Without question, I know that all who have been involved during these last two weeks, not only agree with that philosophy, but have bent over backwards to try and help accommodate this new program Sure, we have fun in these classes, certainly we play games, and surely these pieces are in transition themselves! But still, … [Read more...]

The Thomas Edison of Music Education and Composition, Jon Deak: Creating Music with El Sistema, Part Ten

Click here for Part Nine Five American Pieces At this midpoint of the program, we perform the pieces written by the 'Bridge' students of New York City for their Young Composing friends of Venezuela. Isaac Draper: From New York to Venezuela. Immediately apparent is the driving rhythmic theme, closely chromatic with intensive percussion, giving way to equally intensive, repeated A-minor textured arpeggios, followed by the "Dudamel theme," and ending with the arpeggios in C major--and all in 56 seconds! (This work we had already performed in … [Read more...]

The Thomas Edison of Music Education and Composition, Jon Deak: Creating Music with El Sistema, Part Nine

Click here for Part Eight We enter the children's world: Michelle Hernández: The youngest composer, at age eight, has written for her original "dream' assignment" a story so touching and symbolic of the whole, that we have her read it to the audience: Cuento Sobre la Música tells of the magic power of music to bring joy and to change lives. Dani helps Michelle read the story at first, but then Michelle gains confidence and boldly finishes it off herself. We also perform her Luna de mi Corazón, a duo for cello (or piano) and violin. It has … [Read more...]

Guest Arts Education Blogger, Jon Deak: Creating Music with El Sistema, Part Seven

Click here for Part Six Caracas, 15 de abril Last two days of classes! With the concert on Saturday, We've decided to allow the children to work until Friday afternoon. This is risky, because in order to get this many pieces ready in legible form for professional musicians to read easily, means that all the prep work will have to be done Friday way into the night and the rehearsal Saturday morning. At first the rehearsal is set for two hours, but we push for at least three. It seems like, well, children's pieces--how difficult could they be? … [Read more...]

Guest Arts Education Blogger, Jon Deak: Creating Music with El Sistema, Part Three

Click here for Part Two Caracas, April 9-10, 2010 The excitement builds. Also the nerves. Have you ever noticed how, when you travel to a completely new environment, all emotions are magnified? The joys are expansive, the fears are bottomless, each event rings clear, vibrates with color. I feel I should go to bed wearing dark sunglasses! And yet, there is a penetration to truth and genuine learning, if only one can sort things out. After all, we're not talking here about hallucinations or drugs: These are real experiences. So begins our … [Read more...]

Guest Blogger, Jon Deak, Creating Music with El Sistema, Part Two

Click here for Part One Caracas, April 8, 2010 We're here! It seems impossible to describe all the events and feelings of just the first twenty-four hours of our trip to Venezuela, to experience and interact with El Sistema. I've been so long in awe of this program which is revolutionizing this country and the musical world in the best possible way--and now here we are, in its native habitat, so to speak, ready to dig in, learn, express and interact. The fact that we are daring to interact with it in some small way has made me extremely … [Read more...]

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