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More on Belinda Reynolds’s Manifesto: Where Art Thou Composition in Music Ed?

Those who know music education, know that for many years research has indicated that creative music making, meaning composition and improvisation, is taught at a distinctly lower frequency than other types of musical activities not centered in musical creation, but instead interpretation.So, as a a follow-up to Belinda Reynolds's Manifesto, I thought it would be interesting to note that of all 2010 grants made by the National Endowment for the Arts for arts education, a total of seven include music composition as an essential activity, with … [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...]

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

Click here for Part Seven Caracas, 17 de Abril As we gather the huge mound of music paper bequeathed to us by these children, I feel that we have been gifted with a beyond-precious trove of artistic diamonds, and that we have on our hands a task of near-impossible dimensions. The mood of celebration lasts long enough to see the children's bus off: Not only have they succeeded in handing us accurate (for the most part) and highly original representations of their musical minds, but they've decided on titles for their works and have ideas of … [Read more...]

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

Click here for Part Five Caracas, 13 de Abril, 2010 Having been so blown away by the rehearsal of the Simón Bolívar orchestra the previous Friday (see Part Three), and totally involved with planning these Young Composer classes, one might excuse me if attending the concert of the Mahler 7th Symphony this Tuesday evening would be somewhat of a let-down. But no. Even though Richard Mannoia was totally ill and could not attend, even though I myself was exhausted, this turned out to be an evening to remember for the rest of my life. First of all, … [Read more...]

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

Click here for Part Four Caracas, April 13 Another day of wonders and the unpredictable. Today, Diana Arismendi, head of El Taller de Escritura Creativa, the Center for Creative Writing, and a prominent Venezuelan composer, returns from Puerto Rico to help us organize our efforts. I need her to feel that our program of starting kids composing at a very early age will help her own efforts to bring composers more into prominence in the El Sistema curriculum, and in general, to further the national creative spirit. Last night, Dani had asked me a … [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 One

I am really, really, really! pleased to bring to you one of my very favorite artists: the composer, bassist, and educator extraordinaire: Jon Deak.Jon has offered to provide a guest blog on Dewey 21C about his trip to Venezuela, as artist in residence with El Sistema, which considering all the attention it has gotten over the past couple of years, should need no introduction from me.Jon, together with Ted Wiprud, has been the mind behind one of my favorite projects: the Very Young Composer Project (VYPC) at the New York Philharmonic. Many … [Read more...]

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