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Video: Music teachers give free concert to ward off budget cuts

In Philadelphia, they’re worried the state legislature is about to cut funding still further for music teaching in schools. So the teachers got together for a concert yesterday on the last day of school. Today, they’re heading up to Harrisburg to crotchet and quaver their elected representatives. Let’s hope it works.

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  1. Robert Fitzpatrick says:

    Ancient history: at one time in Philadelphia (up until about 1975), every high school and most junior high schools had a full symphony orchestra, a wind band, a jazz ensemble, and a chorus. Each school owned enough instruments to loan to students who couldn’t afford their own. There were highly qualified music directors and teachers in almost every secondary school. Now, it’s come to this. Will the State of Pennsylvania come to the rescue? Let’s hope so but let’s not hold our breath too long while we wait. It’s fashionable to criticize Texas (and that state certainly deserves it on many counts such as their capital punishment policies) but, to their credit, they still have excellent publicly funded school music programs

  2. Linda Grace says:

    That principal bass at 1:10 is Joseph Conyers, assistant principal bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra and Curtis grad by way of Atlanta GA

  3. James Brinton says:

    This reminded me of “Music of the Heart,” the 1999 film about violin teacher Roberta Guaspari, who began teaching East Harlem children to play the violin a generation ago. It’s one of those movies I watch when I need an emotional boost.
    Guaspari supplied fifty of her own violins, and her kids not only learned to play, but thrived academically because of the self-discipline she instilled along with the music, and perhaps because of the music itself–and these were poor, inner-city kids from neighborhoods where there was more gunfire than classical music.
    When New York pulled the funding away from her classes, she arranged a student concert at Carnegie Hall, backed by the likes of Isaac Stern, Arnold Steinhardt, Midori, Michal Tree, Itzhak Perlman, Joshua Bell, and others.
    She raised enough money to continue the program for a few years, but eventually decided to move outside the school system, forming “Opus 118,” a school of music instruction and teacher development.
    It’s a grand and uplifting story, but it also demonstrates just how little music is valued in many US schools and how–when it is taught–it’s often taught poorly.

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