An Introduction to ‘Cross-Cultural Approaches to MIE’

NewsBlog Editor’s Note: We are pleased to introduce to you Chris Watford, a new CMIE Guided Intern working as Documentation Specialist for Warren Senders’s Cross-Cultural Approaches to Music-In-Education course this Fall. For more blog entries regarding this semester’s run of the course, and previous years’ runs, please click here. 

Hello NewsBlog readers! I am doing a guided internship this semester as a Documentation Specialist for Warren Sender’s course Cross-Cultural Approaches to MIE. My goals are to examine the roles of both teacher and student within a classroom setting and to collect evidence of the way in which both parties learn from each other. I am also interested in observing and documenting various strategies for effective teaching, and inversely, for effective learning.

What’s This Course About?

The course examines, through immediate experience, how people throughout the world intrinsically learn from one another. It also opens the doors to understanding how cultural structures in education shape the way in which we learn and, eventually, how we will teach. We also focus on understanding how to take what a student already knows and use that as a building block for further learning.

In the course of each two hour class, various activities are performed that demonstrate a number of different aspects embedded within the learning process. The class learns traditional Indian songs, builds instruments, practices the teaching of activities to the class, and participates in group discussions that center on our collective observations from previous activities and experiences. After each class, the students are expected to compose a written reflection on their experience and how it relates to what they are doing outside, whether it be performing, practicing, teaching, or just aspects of general living. The idea is that, by the end of the semester, they will have compiled an in-depth ‘syllabus’ that outlines specifically what they have achieved and observed throughout the term (that also makes it possible to read simultaneous reflections from the same class in order to compare our collective learning).

My Guided Internship Plan

Having already participated in and completed this course, I have an understanding of the end product. My plan is to observe the process again from a new perspective and to gather visual, audio, and textual information throughout the term. This will be compiled into a final presentation that focuses on the dynamic between learner and teacher, and stems from the hypothesis that they are both equal and similar parts of the same system, rather than opposing ends. In addition, I will also be exploring aspects of oral tradition along with different ‘cultural’ and scientific approaches to learning (genetic, morphogenetic family fields, etc.).

Warren and I will be collaborating extensively throughout the term in order to produce a multi-media project to encompass the collective learning of the class and to highlight various aspect of effecting teaching/learning. I will keep you up to date with new information and media as each class approaches, so please check back frequently for new posts! I am looking forward to an exciting year!

Commencement Speech at NEC ’08

NewsBlog Editor’s Note: The following speech was written and given at NEC’s 2008 Commencement Ceremonies by graduating student Hermann Hudde. Hudde was elected by student vote to address the graduating class. Emphasis added by the author. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today we have gathered to celebrate the end of our educational experience at New England Conservatory, and to mark at the same time the beginning of a new phase of our lives as community and global citizens.  As students here, we have already achieved a high level of skill in playing or composing music.  However, I feel that as musicians we have to transfer this depth of understanding to all aspects of life.  The role of today’s musician goes far beyond that of just playing an instrument well.  Loving music well means loving people and life, as well as respecting diversity and understanding our differences.  Musicians can and must empower people in a positive way to know themselves better and to become eager to participate in making a better society.

I believe that as a consequence of the diverse experiences that we have had here, we are prepared to assume our role as cultural entrepreneurs.  That is, we are ready not only to write and perform music for audiences all over the world, but through the unique power of music, to play an important part in creating a better world for all of us to live in.  We should not take this role lightly, nor think of it as mere rhetoric.  Martin Luther King, who I consider a pre-eminent social entrepreneur, and whose wife graduated for NEC, said “Almost always, the creative, dedicated minority has made the world better.”  I truly believe that we as teaching-artists have the responsibility of being the link not only between music and audiences, but between music and justice and the mutual respect that are essential in creating a peaceful society.

Several years ago, the United Nations established the Millennium Goals, an agenda for achieving worldwide social transformation during the 21st century.  I feel that at least two of these goals relate directly to our own mission as cultural entrepreneurs.

The first is to achieve universal primary education.  As John F. Kennedy said, “Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into the benefit for everyone.”  We know that music is a basic educational tool for humans from early childhood to adulthood.  At the New England Conservatory, I have had the wonderful opportunity to complete a concentration in Music-in-Education, and during my first internship I worked on a research project that involved observations and surveys of children, teachers, and parents from two schools in Venezuela that place music at the core of their curriculum.  The results were amazing; the participants reported overwhelmingly that the focused study of music had greatly improved the children’s concentration, their logic and problem-solving skills, their reading, language and math skills, their emotional intelligence and cultural understanding, and their interpersonal and intrapersonal abilities.  Equally satisfying were the reports of how placing music at the center of the school culture enhanced the social life of the entire community.


The second UN Millennium goal relevant to the study of music—and in my opinion directly related to the first—is to develop a global partnership for development.   On our planet today it is more and more vital that we establish a culture of cooperation that fosters partnerships for mutual benefit and development.  This past year we saw a marvelous example of this kind of global partnership when NEC not only invited the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra to play for and with the NEC community, but also held a Seminar and Symposium about “El Sistema,” the astonishing Venezuelan music education program created by Dr. Jose Antonio Abreu which has had an enormous impact in helping impoverished children and youth achieve a better life through the practice of the music. 

It was for me a particularly proud moment, as some fifty music educators and cultural leaders from all over the United States, as well as Dr. Abreu himself, convened here to discuss what has made this program so successful for both individuals and communities, and how this phenomenon could possibly be adapted in the far more affluent culture of the United States.

What the Seminar and Symposium participants noticed was that first and foremost, El Sistema features high-quality music instruction.  Indeed, as Abreu suggests, “when music is no longer separated from daily life, but is in fact nourished by and nourishes all aspects of daily life, then personal and social transformation become possible”.  El Sistema shows how the emotionally and intellectually positive environment of the orchestra system can help children apply the values that will make them complete human beings who can grow and progress as persons of high human and professional value, and who can thus take on significant roles in their communities and their country.  The children and youth are taught that through music they can cultivate social learning, respect, love, and patience, values which are modeled daily by their teachers.  As Dr. Abreu puts it, “Participating in the orchestral movement helps the individual to grow within a healthy group, gaining invaluable intellectual, social and emotional experiences and learning the values of patience, discipline, endurance, the ability to compromise, and the value of one’s personal contribution in order to fulfill a collective end.”

The orchestra system is a clear demonstration that human beings are the main resource of every nation, its true wealth that can promote an ever-developing culture. Education is the best and most essential investment that each country and community can make, promoting values such as social and individual responsibility, respect, solidarity, work, creativity, and above all, love of life itself.  In my opinion, that is the central idea of the Venezuelan children and youth orchestra system; it is a social project that through music seeks to solve the spiritual and material poverty of our world.

And I believe that this ideal value of education is what the Seminar participants found most applicable to American culture.  Today’s Commencement speaker, Stephanie Perrin, who was one of the cultural leaders participating in the El Sistema Seminar, has been a lifelong advocate of the importance of arts education to the future of our global society.  As she has pointed out, “In American schools for the last century, we have been concerned with training; that is, turning out young people who will predictably perform certain tasks and share the same specific knowledge, she goes on to say, nowadays we should seek to educate, to produce young people who ask questions and who can continue to learn throughout life.  This distinction between training and education is analogous to the one between the technically competent musician and the true artist, able to use technique to express her own vision.  We need artists in all areas and walks of life, and “artists” are people who share these qualities no matter what their occupation.”

I agree with this point of view wholeheartedly, as, I feel, do most of us gathered here today.  In thinking about what I wanted to express to you today, I asked several NEC teachers to comment on what they would like us to take with us as we assume our various roles as cultural entrepreneurs.  I was greatly impressed with the depth of feeling with which all of these mentors expressed their wishes for us.  But I would like to conclude today with some comments made by the NEC professor Lyle Davidson, which I feel are particularly inspiring. 

“We, as musicians, should be active in town squares,” he said, “in businesses, shopping centers, schools, churches, government buildings, retirement communities, hospitals, prisons, homeless shelters, clubs, and town halls—wherever people gather, wherever we find persons whose souls seek the sustenance that only music can provide.  We should support music-making in every possible way.  Music is not something to be understood, something to be studied.  Music is an activity.  Music is something to be done.  Music is not a noun; music is a verb.”

So let us all go make music—and in so doing, re-make society.  Thank you all very much.

Hermann Hudde

Guided Internship I: Venezuela’s Music in Education in Schools Part I by Hermann Hudde

Venezuela’s Music in Education in Schools
Since 1930 Venezuela, has been working on building a classical music culture establishing and promoting orchestras, concerts, music associations, and finally the music and social movement called “El Sistema”. The main purpose of which is to provide education and values to children and youth through the practice and learning of music. El Sistema has demonstrated dramatically that providing children with the opportunity to practice music helps them achieve them a better quality of life while featuring social well-being in the community.

In spite of these efforts, “El Sistema” remains an after school program. However, in Venezuela there are some schools that for many years have music as a vital part of the curriculum, making it available for children and youth in their everyday schooling routine. In Venezuela at present no public schools offer any formal music instruction.

This research project will examine the music instruction at the “Colegio Emil Friedman” and the “Colegio de Artes Intergradas El Avila”. Both institutions provide their students with a wide range of arts activities as a main part of the curriculum, including both Venezuelan and classical music. This study attempts to show how and to what degree the music at the school assists the teaching/learning process, and provides a social benefit to the school’s students and their communities outside the school.

 A Brief History of the Colegio de Arte Integradas El Avila
Founded in 1996 in Caracas by a group of parents and teachers who were looking  to provide the best education possible for their children, the Integrated Arts School El Avila allows children to grow, and learn in an environmental rich in arts, science and technology.

The school is the heart of the Integrated Arts Center ( Centro de Artes Integradas), a cultural center whose main function is to allow a generation of Venezuelans generations to have  permanent and direct contact with a variety of arts expressions, including Theater, Painting, and Music as well as with the sciences. The school’s founders believe that the combination of arts, science and technology encourage an  increase in children’s  creativity and solid emotional skills which are crucial in the continual humane progress in the society.

The school has a bilingual system in order to facilitate these young connection to the world, but also is committed to educating the students in the history and customs of Venezuela. In other words, the school is to form an educate committed Venezuelan citizens in all the fields who can make  a significant contribution to the betterment of the Venezuelan society.

In addition, this school believes the parents participation is vital for the education: therefore, the  school seeks to involve them in as many activities as possible. Finally, seeks to improve the teaching/learning quality. by offering professional development courses to its teachers.

Colegio El Ávila Music Program Curriculum
 El Colegio El Avila music lessons are an important part of the curriculum. The school has designed a program that guides teachers and students from kindergarten to high school. The music teaching emphasizes Venezuelan folklore, but also features the standard and international repertory.

El Colegio El Avila music lessons are an important part of the curriculum. The school has designed a program that guides teachers and students from kindergarten to high school. The music teaching emphasizes Venezuelan folklore, but also features the standard and international repertory. Kindergarten Level:  On this level the children start rhythm exercises and body expressions, sing traditional Venezuelan folk songs, and dances such as merengue, valses, joropos, aguinaldos. Additionally, children receive lessons that introduce them to the instruments and spend time listening to popular and classical music. The school offers them as well the opportunity to sing in a Choir in which they perform pieces for one and two voices from the Venezuelan folk music repertory.

Basic I: On this level children from 8 to 10 years of age continue the voice and body activities from the  former level, but now begin participating in the music school festivals based on Venezuelan music and take instrumental lessons during the afternoon. Additionally, they play musical games and begin using the flute and the percussion instruments employed in the Orff method while learning music concepts such as tempo, rhythm, dynamics, melody, harmony, texture and forms.

Basic II: Children from ages 10 to 12 continue the same activities from Basic I and they receive instrument lessons on guitar, mandolin, and cuatro which is the national string instrument.

Basic III: On this level, youth from  ages 14 to 16 years old are instructed in how to listen to music in a more critical way expressing themselves orally as well as writing reflections on what they hear. From this point on, it is a student’s decision to continue on learning an instrument, but if they are the school provides free after school music clubs.

High School Music Program: In this program youth between ages 16 and 18 are encouraged to attend concerts, listen to music and write and discuss their ideas about music. They are also taught basic music history and are introduced to complex musical forms.

This kind of structure has proved being very successful because this school has achieved the integration of the arts and especially music, in the regular school program. El Avila make available all sorts of music activities such as music lessons, chorus, and recitals inside the school, and involves all the school community including the parents.

Questions for the Avila School Students

The student interview  is made with the aim to know more about how and in which areas music has changed their life experiences and values.

  • Explain why you think that music has helped you to learn better other subjects such as mathematics, science, language.

The children and youth notice that music has helped them very strongly in concentration for learning the other school subjects as well as their reading skills has been improved. For example a student uses to sing what he has to memorize for the biology test. On the other hand, they think that their verbal capacity has grew up and has given them for example in the history class more elements with which they can do relations. For instance, one of the students mentioned “ when I started having piano lessons my Math scores got better” and a second said that she used music to learn singing her history lessons.

  • To what extent have you witnessed the development of extra-musical skills (i.e., organizational, spatial, logical, etc.) since you began your musical studies?

The Avila students recognize that their auditions and physical body movements, for example as coordination has been improved with the music’s practice. Not only physical skills, but at the same time the students identify that music has assisted them with more personality emotional tools for example: self esteem, work team, respect and solidarity. Additionally, the notice that their memory and patience has been expanded as a consequence of the music studies. The students enjoy for example being able to sing on tune, recognize the different music style and periods and read music.

  • Why do you think that music has to be part of the general school program?

The Avila’s students believe that music is a part from the life, and they think that their human development has been more complete, integral and round with music, because they experience its benefits not only in the brain building, but has a people that are part of  a community. They expressed though as for example: ‘Music moves the world’, ‘Music is universal’, Music make me better academically and as human being’. They think that the education has to be integral and music is an important component of it

  • To what extent can music be an entry point into further social development?

These students are aware about the importance of having a community with more culture and related to the arts in general. They believe that music can relax people and improve their social skills as comprehension, listening the different opinions, unity. Moreover, they admit that music can cross all kind of social and racial boundaries. As an example, they said that the more culture offers has a community, the more the social good is. In general, they think that a cultivated and educated country generate social good for everyone.

  • What kinds of music do you like and why?

The Avila students has a wide range of musical  tastes which goes from Popular Venezuelan and international, for example: Pop, rock, Jazz, World music to classical music.

  • How many times during the week do you have music lesson in the classroom?

They have from 1 to 3 times music lesson during the week in which they participate in music activities as instrument lessons, choir rehearsals and recitals.

  • How often do you attend concerts during the year?

They uses to attend concerts frequently not only inside the school, but in other concerts venues in Caracas.

Questions for the Avila School’s Parents

The interview of the parents about the importance of the music in schools is oriented to have more information about how and why the parents conceive the music’s value  in the children and youth development
  • To what extent does the practice of music contribute towards the development social and/or emotional intelligences in your child?

The Avila’s parents have noticed some signs on their children and youth since they began learning music at school. For example, they said that music has reinforced their personality build up making them more secure peoples with a firm self esteem. The fact of practicing an instrument daily has  giving them discipline and responsibility and the parents realizes that being an orchestra or choir member has expanded their interpersonal abilities. On the other hand, the parents admit that their children creativity has been nurtured.

  • What is it about music, as opposed to other art forms or school subjects that provides special entry points and acts as a stimulus for the social development of your child?

The Avila’s parents have the opinion that music has permitted their children to have contact with different cultures, and they perceive qualities on their children as for example: sensitivity, spirituality, better communications expertise, concentration proficiency, respect, social and emotional maturity as well as the ear and rhythm develop.

  • To what extent have you witnessed the development of extra-musical skills (i.e., organizational, spatial, logical, etc.) since your child began his/her musical studies?

Avila’ parents are aware that their children have nurtured some features as for example: logic, body coordination, attention, audition skills, verbal ability and memory.

  • Why do you think that music has to be part of the general school program?

The Avila’s parents support strongly this idea because they think that music complete the education making it integral as wholeness and reinforce other kind of values that the human being needs to be a citizen not only in the country but in the world.

  • Explain why do you think that music is important for the well-being and health of the entire society?

They think that music can make people happier, because it can improve the quality in the human relations in order that music support values as for example: solidarity, cooperation, team work. The parents believe that music reduce bad habits, violence and in general can reduce the probability that some can commit cranial acts. On the other hand, they feel that music can contribute as a family link for example when the family member play together an instrument or attend together a concert.

  • Do you attend concerts? Can you describe what kind of music and how often in the year?

Yes, mostly of them attend regularly concerts which include all sort of music styles. Some of them play some instrument or sing in a choir.

  • Can you mention what kind of music do you hear music in your home?

The Avila’s parents listen to all kind of music styles from popular to classical

Questions for the Avila School Teachers

The teacher interview was designed to find out more about the school’s curriculum and teaching methods and about how they feel the study of music has impacted their students’ abilities to learn.
  • How do you notice that the practice of music has contributed to fostering positive social values in the community?

The Avila teachers believe that music promotes community integration and action because music’s essential performing and listening skills provide diverse community members with common goals that unify them rather than separating them.  Further, the teachers feel that music can help create better citizens because it makes people more sensitive to their communities or surroundings.  For example, one of the teachers said “Music educators observe the different behavioral differences and world perceptions between children and youth who learn music and those who do not.   Spending hours on the focused study of music—instead of on passive activities like watching television or potentially harmful activities like drinking or smoking—could improve not only the individual’s quality of life but the community’s as well.”

  • What kinds of skills have your students developed as the result of studying music at the school?

The teachers have perceived that their students have improved their attitudes in many areas, such as responsibility, respect, identity, sensitivity, and socialization.   They also feel that music practice has enhanced their students’ expertise in language, memory, and concentration.

  • Why do you think that learning and playing instruments improve your students’ capacity for learning, concentration, and social skills?

The teachers’ opinion is that instrumental or vocal practice has assisted their students develop empathy and express emotions through music performance.  Further, they feel that musical activities have increased and/or refined the students’ intrapersonal and interpersonal aptitudes.

  • Which kind of the methods (e.g., Kodaly, Orff, Suzuki, Dalcroze, etc.) do you use in the classroom and why?

The Avila School teachers use all these methods, but they do not have one favorite, because they believe that each method can offer valuable help during the music lesson.  At the beginning they give priority to the methods which emphasize rhythm, and then in the next levels they employ methods that utilize melodies, harmonies, and instrumental practice.

  • How often do you attend concerts during the year?

The Avila teachers attend concerts frequently inside and outside the school.

  • What kind of music do you listen to at home?

The Avila teachers listen to all kind of music at home, from popular to classical.




Guided Internship Report: BSO Chamber Music Performance Outreach (#4)

NewsBlog Editor’s Note: This post is the fourth of a series written by CMIE Guided Intern Hermann Hudde, as part of the documentation for Hudde’s CMIE Guided Internship. See other posts in this series here.

The duo played two educational recitals. The first performance was played for children who are not involved in the music programs. They were very curious about what a musician’s life like, asking questions such as: Do you have parents who are musicians? When did you start playing your instrument? What influenced you to play music?. Ficsor and Finehouse performed a serenade by William Bolcom about a not very handsome man who loved a woman and was trying to make her to fall in love with him. Before they played, Ficsor & Finehouse  explained that the composer often uses stories as inspiration for musical works.

The second performance used the same music, but the second group of children were all involved in the string program so their questions were more focused on violin playing. The musicians used the opportunity to ask the children questions such as: Do you know what a cadenza is? What does a Serenade mean to you? Do you know where the Ponticello is? The children were engaged by these questions about their instruments and replied as well with questions such as: How do you play harmonics on the violin? How do you learn a new piece of music? Do you compose music too? Additionally, the children were curious to know how the players meet and rehearse since they live in Boston and Santa Barbara.

Guided Internship Report: BPS Students Meet Composer William Bolcom at the BSO (#3)

NewsBlog Editor’s Note: This post is the third of a series written by CMIE Guided Intern Hermann Hudde, as part of the documentation for Hudde’s CMIE Guided Internship. See other posts in this series here.

As a part of my guided internship, the BSO education office organized a meeting between BPS children and the composer William Bolcom, whose opus Eighth Symphony for Chorus and Orchestra was premiered by the BSO on Tuesday, February 28. The composer was accompanied by the violinist Philip Ficsor and the pianist Constantine Finehouse who are on tour promoting their CD American Double which features Bolcom’s duos for violin and piano. Ficsor and Finehouse started a conversation with the children and the composer with the intention of engaging the children, making them curious about what a composer is and what he does. They asked the composer how his life in music was began and the composer used this opportunity to talk about his childhood and his life. Then the musicians asked the young audience what they felt when they listened to a modern piece of music in comparison to a classical period opus. When some said they found it “ugly” or “strange”, Philip used the opportunity to talk about the power of the modern music to express all kinds of emotions. Then the composer was asked about his composition process, and he explained that he tended to be inspired first by images from nature or poetry.. The duo then told the audience that they would start playing a Bolcom’s Serenade for violin and piano which is based on the story of an ugly man who felt in love with a princess and was trying everything to win her love. They played across the different sections of the piece and invited the children to identify the emotions being expressed, and then the duo concluded, playing the whole opus.

When they ended their performance, the BSO came to the stage and played the dress rehearsal from Bolcom’s Eighth Symphony for Chorus and Orchestra. In my opinion, positive this kind of encounter is a positive experience, because is difficult for non-musicians to meet composers and know more about their lives and works. The event also gave the opportunity the children to listen to an orchestra playing in a symphony hall and to observe the work that goes on between a composer and the musicians. All in all, it was a great way to make the whole concept of composing and performing seem more “real” and “normal” to the children.

Guided Internship Report: BSO Youth Concerts in Public Schools (#2)

NewsBlog Editor’s Note:This post is the second of a series written by CMIE Guided Intern Hermann Hudde, as part of the documentation for Hudde’s CMIE Guided Internship. See other posts in this series here.

As a part of my internship at the Boston Symphony, I participated in their Youth Concert Series. Since 1888 the BSO has offered the community this kind of program, but Harry Ellis Dickson revitalized this educational activity according to the BSO Website the porpoise of the Youth Concert Series is as follow: “Each Youth and Family concert includes music chosen for young audiences. Captivating and compelling, these interactive concerts are led by renowned conductors and introduce the wide spectrum of classical music to young people and families. The musical performance, often accompanied by theatrical and visual elements, creates an exciting experience and encourages interaction between the conductor and audience members.” The website also gives specific information about the concert series itself. As a part of their education program, the BSO was played concerts for Boston Publics Schools. The BSO also offered at the same time pre and post-concerts activities for the children including instrumental demonstrations and conversations with the musicians.

For the particular concert I participated in, the BSO chose the title “What do you hear?”. The program began with Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, 1st movement. Once the orchestra concluded its interpretation, the conductor Mr. Federico Cortese greeted the children and told them to listen very carefully to the next piece because it was written by a man who represented the values of liberty and freedom. Mr. Cortese also used this opportunity to talk about the French Revolution and its importance for humanity. Furthermore, Mr. Cortese explained what an Overture is with it functions. Then the BSO played Fidelio’s Overture by L.V. Beethoven.

After this children were introduced to two different stories about a young man and a young woman whose parents e not approved. The orchestra played excerpts from each work, after which the children were invited to express their opinions. In order to stimulate their creativity and curiosity. After this question and answer period, the conductor told the young audience to listen carefully to both opuses as they played them. When finished, the children were invited to respond using a microphone. After this session the orchestra played Berlioz’s “Romeo alone and Feast the Capulets” from Romeo and Juliet and Verdi’s Prelude to La Traviata.

To conclude the performance, the BSO used a video screen on which was projected an old movie scene about a man and a woman who were arguing with each other. The conductor announced to the children that they were going to play a piece that had a lot of questions and answers as in the old movie then began playing the first movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, in synchrony with the film. The children seemed to enjoy this a great deal and amused.

The Children receives a general exposure to the experience of listening to an orchestra in Symphony Hall. This seems an important first step for them to realize that they belong there too.

Guided Internship Report: BSO Youth Concerts in Public Schools (#1)

NewsBlog Editor’s Note: This post is the first of a series written by CMIE Guided Intern Hermann Hudde, as part of the documentation for Hudde’s CMIE Guided Internship. See other posts in this series here.

On January 29 I participated in a performance outreach educational concert as a part of my internship in music in education at the BSO Music Education Office, and the Youth Concert Series for Public Schools in Boston that the BSO organizes every year. This was for me was a very pleasant opportunity and experience because it allowed me to share music with a young audience as well as to introduce them to the guitar, which is not an instrument that belongs to the traditional orchestra. In order to better engage the children age 7 – 10, I asked the BSO M. Ed. office to post a world map, because my idea was to make with the children a world trip from Latin America to Europe using the guitar and its music as a link. Exposing the children to two kinds of music that are not commonly heard in Symphony Hall, in allows them to appreciate in diverse cultures, and to enhance their perspectives about music and styles.

I began the morning session by telling the children that I was very happy performing for them and that I knew that they had a lot of questions and curiosity about the guitar and the music. I started by playing the first movement of Mexican composer Manuel Ponce, Sonata Romantica’s which is a piece of music in Romantic style. As I finished this performance, I opened the dialogue with them and they asked all sort of questions that lead into an interesting discussion about the different types of guitars and styles; for example: Why do you use the fingers and not a pick? , Where is your amplifier? Are there differences between your guitar and the electric guitar?. I continued my performance with a piece by the Paraguayan composer Agustin Barrios Mangore.

In order to introduce the first Spanish piece by Manuel de Falla “Le Tombeau”, I told the children that this opus was written and dedicated to a friend of his, whose name was Claude Debussy, and that this work was very mysterious. The Tombeau is an impressionists’ style opus that employs a lot of effects that express a special color in the music as well as being visually very exciting for the audience. I told them that for me it was like a ghost’s piece of music, and then introduced them to the melody which has a very shadowy feeling. Children as well the teachers enjoyed this piece very much because I used these images in my opening presentation and invited the audience to use their creativity.

To conclude the outreach performance, I played the first movement Joaquin Rodrigo’s Sonata Giocosa. However I began the music I answered some of their questions and about the use of folklore and dance elements in music in general and in this composition especially. The children were very curious about everything and by the end of the outreach performance they were ready to go Symphony Hall to hear the orchestra playing the program “What do you hear?.”

For the second session the group was bigger than the first one, and I followed the same program, but left more time to have more interaction with the children. This group’s questions were more about the composers, the instrument and me as a musician; for example: It is difficult to play guitar?, Do you like Beethoven?, Which piece of music did you play at first?. To documentate the outreach event the BSO staff took pictures of each session.

It was a great experience for me that remind me of the feeling I had for music when I was that age – the sense of discovering a new world.