A student came up to one of my colleagues at ES Somerville and was having a rough time. Turns out she had to move in with her aunt and only gets to see her mom on Saturdays now. Naturally, this student became my colleague's shadow, following her everywhere that day. Of course, my colleague complied, and that's what "child first, music second" means. But on a longer term basis, do ES programs create a sense of dependency? I am not affirming this, only posing the question. Because they go all the way through high school the student is able to rely on the support and community that is manifested in that environment. If the nucleo teaches well, the idea of self-efficacy and collective efficacy is developed and the teacher can be left out of the equation, only with the difficulty of emotional attachment and teary goodbyes. But what about the idea of internal capacity and eventually letting the community take it over?
So many international development programs/organizations are formed, and are fortunate enough to continue being funded, but is going into another community and helping without involving the community management a sustainable solution? Could it be possible that a program starts and then is passed onto a community member? Or is the ES expertise, or musicianship expertise, or networking "irreplaceable"? I put this word in quotations because as much as we don't want to acknowledge it, everyone is replaceable (depressing I know). But is it irreplaceable in the sense that it is "better" or more successful than not? It is my biggest issue with international development (the field I was going to pursue before stumbling across ES); implementing programs from the outside only "helping" the community, without them being involved in the aid, only the recipients. Is this really helping?
Where is ES on this line of "helping"?
The Evolving Value of an Orchestra
As we've seen in the news, a lot of orchestras are struggling, including one dear to my heart, the MN Orchestra. Until now, orchestras exist to fulfill art for art's sake, for the marketing value. But, what if we put art back where it was originally intended, for the community, and orchestras had a social value? We had a community concert given by the MN Orchestra and despite 1200 flyers being sent out, 15 community members showed up. Why? Because classical music isn't relevant to them. If we could make classical music have a social purpose, then it would be relevant to all. In Tanzania, they have a teaching artist live in the community and the community tells him/her what they need and it is the teaching artist's job to ensure it happens by involving the community. The Maxine Greene idea of striving for what we don't know that we pursue it regardless. Imagine the power of orchestras if this were their purpose and the harmony (both figurative and literal!) that would exist amongst communities. There's actually a study being done on just this in Liverpool http://ljmu.ac.uk/NewsUpdate/index_124547.htm
Even Honkfest (brass street activist bands) today in Harvard Square used music for a cause and as a result brought the whole Boston community together of all ages and backgrounds despite the gloomy, COLD and rainy weather. Music unites people. Endstop.
We had a wonderful session with Eric Booth on the difference between assessment, evaluation, and research. But to say the least, we are FAR behind! We have all the capabilities to do incredible research, and yet we have yet to collaborate at all. Hopefully the Alliance will assist with this, but time will tell as it does in most cases. I hope that we as a class this year can change this lack of collaboration and this resource/rep library will be well utilized. It's exciting to think I'm going to be the equivalent of a field worker this next month gathering data from literally across the country! It will be fascinating to compile all of this data!! But the fact that we will have SOMETHING for assessment is HUGE!
In other news, I'm becoming more lactose-intolerant, which is quite a bummer, but in moderation, I can still handle cheese, and yogurt and ice cream aren't problems..yet. Mt. Monadnock was a BEAUTIFUL climb with all the fall foliage and a very welcome break with no Sistema chatter. I leave for MN on Thurs and a week from tomorrow I will be in San Diego!