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Eitan Silkoff

Music introduced to elementary school in West Philadelphia

May 24, 2008 at 12:19 AM

It was last Tuesday when my friend Michelle mentioned that she was doing a senior project that incorporated musicians in a school for troubled kids. I asked her what exactly she was doing, and i found out that she was taking a few violinists down to a school mostly filled with African American youngsters, and to play music for them. Unfortunately this school had NO music program, so we all had to answer many questions. I wasn't that excited at first, but then it dawned on me. I thought back to when I was a small child, and hearing music was such an amazing thing. I told her the next day that I would be delighted to attend. So the day finally came, (which was today) and I have to say it was quite amazing. We first warmed up as we waited for the children to come back from gym. It was an interesting task, we had brought along some silly Disney music, (i.e Harry potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean) but after that was played, I decided that Bach was the best music to play for them. The other two violinists played the first movement of the Bach double while i warmed up my fingers. I had prepared "On the Trail" from the Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grofe. This violin cadenza sounds exactly like a donkey if you know how to play it technically well. It was a fun little show piece that the kids enjoyed very much. After all the smiling and giggling, I decided to play first movement of the G minor Sonata. The room fell dead silent.
Most of the children who had been rather loud and talkative had all of a sudden gotten quiet, and their ears belonged to me. I played through the adagio with lots of expression and ended it perfectly. My D string had gone out of tuen from the violin cadenza, but I somehow managed to play mostly in tune. The kids loved the music, and i could see in all their eyes such an interest in music only after one day! I thought to myself that I should do this more often. There's a good film out there called "Music from the Heart." Meryl Streep is portrayed as a middle aged woman who wanted to make a change in rough schools such as the one I visited today. She brought violins to children and taught them the importance of music. I felt much like her today, and was rather pleased with myself.

Have any of you had experience with touching young childrens minds through the art of music?

From Terez Mertes
Posted on May 25, 2008 at 8:35 PM
Oh, I just love hearing stories like this. So very cool. Thanks for sharing it. : )

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