Music To Our Ears..."El Sistema" For Trinidad and Tobago

Social Development looks at music to fight crime.
Trinidad & Tobago's Newsday | Wednesday, December 29 2010

Minister of the People and Social Development Glenn Ramadharsingh yesterday sat with renowned musician and artist Dr Pat Bishop and three musicians from Venezuela to have preliminary discussions on a new and innovative crime-fighting initiative centred around music, art and sports.

The programme will be based on El Sistema, a publicly financed voluntary sector music education programme in Venezuela and will be tailored to provide youths with an alternative to crime.

Eleazar José Yegüez, regional coordinator of El Sistema in Sucre State; Jesus Beltran Acosta, director of Cariaco’s Orquestra; musician Llelina Poryillo and interpreter Mildred Yegüez- Francois were on hand to provide the ministry with ideas and direction.

Ramadharsingh said he saw a model of this programme in Colombia where there were high levels of poverty but music was used to combat crime and other social ills in those communities. He was particularly impressed that no one was turned away because of lack of finances or on the grounds of proficiency. Read more...

El Sistema
July 20, 2008 2:55 PM

Through a system of early training and local orchestras, Venezuela has developed an orchestra that is world famous. Bob Simon reports. (This segment was originally broadcast on April 13, 2008.)

Read more: El Sistema: Changing Lives Through Music

A Note From The Gull

El Sistema - an excellent idea originating in Venezuela, our closest neighbour in the region. Congratulations to the Minister of the People and Social Development, Glenn Ramadharsingh, for recognising the worth of this programme and for actively working to secure for Trinidad and Tobago its many documented benefits for our young people at risk.

Excerpt from video above:
"In the midst of that poverty The System uses classical music to instill self- esteem and confidence. Popular music, Rafael says, wouldn't work. "What they have at home on the radio is popular music all the time. Their father who drinks everyday, gets drunk with that music. So you have to give them something different and when they sit in one of these chairs in the orchestra, they think they are in another country, in another planet and they start changing."

How many times in the past have we heard brother Morgan Job's voice crying in the wilderness, saying the same thing about music and making his plea for the uplifting of the souls and spirits of our children? Like with anything else there is the good and the not so good in what we produce. Some of our popular music is brilliant but the messages conveyed by the rest deliver more spirit blows than blessings. Think, for example, of the number of songs which have emerged in recent times which deliberately glorify and promote abject drunkenness?

Recommendation: Look also at the Montessori and Waldorf educational systems and take the best of both to adapt to our pre and primary school environments and the training of our early childhood educators.

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.

Mweh ka allay!