In my last blog I wrote about the music project In Harmony as announced by Andrew Adonis last week.
I really, really hope that the government does do what it promises – that is, to have truly inspirational teachers, to give children the opportunity to travel with their orchestras, to learn about hard work and teamwork and to enjoy the feeling of success that goes with a successful performance.
I read a little about the Venezuelan project and was particularly touched by the story of Legna Lacosta, as reported in the Independent on 17th August of last year. At the age of 13, Legna was addicted to crack, dealing drugs and armed with a gun. At 17 he was arrested and put in a youth detention centre. He says that he was saved by the Youth Orchestras’ Project, when they visited his centre and showed him how to play a clarinet. He is now studying in Germany.
The Independent goes on to report that any child that enters one of El Sistema’s centres with a desire to work hard and learn an instrument will be given free tuition.
This got me thinking (dangerous, I know). I wonder if In Harmony could be combined with a variety of other initiatives – extended schools, for example – and whether we could have similar centres in deprived areas. And why stick just to music? It has long been acknowledged that sport can lift people out of poverty, why not offer anyone willing to work hard the opportunity to train, participate in a team and develop the vital life skills that a sport can offer?