Teaching The Life Of Music
Teaching the Life of Music is the story of El Sistema, a Venezuelan program which has helped thousands of children in underprivileged areas of Venezuela to acquire instruments, receive music training and experience the joy of playing and singing with others in orchestras and choirs. The program was founded in 1977 by Dr José Antonio Abreu. Today El Sistema involves over 400,000 children and young people and it has inspired programs all over the world. Ottawa’s OrKidstramusic initiative is the oldest of such programs outside of South America.
In 2009, Maestro Abreu came to Toronto to receive the Glenn Gould Prize which is given to “an individual who has made a unique lifetime contribution that has enriched the human condition through the arts.” With him came El Sistema’s Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra which participated in a week of music-making culminating in an electrifying performance in Toronto for over 14,000 Canadian children and young people.
The film captures this magnificent celebration of life, education and inspiration, and highlights the personal experiences of young people – in Venezuela and in Ottawa – who are benefiting from the skills and social values that music education instills.
The film’s mission is to encourage social change by inspiring others with El Sistema’s model. Its official launch took place on Omni Television in January 2011. Since then, its producer Noemi Weis of the Toronto film production company Filmblanc has been promoting the film to raise awareness about the transformative power of music education for children and about music education as an agent of change and a tool for building vibrant, healthier communities.
Teaching the Life of Music can be obtained at The Leading Note music store. The DVD includes a bonus one-hour video recording of the Simón Bolivar Youth Orchestra performance in Toronto.