A musical education does not just produce musicians. Researchers say it also boosts young people’s self-esteem. The film “Buena Vista Social Club” brought Cuban music to the attention of the whole world. And since 2010, this kind of music has been included on the curriculum in the country’s music schools.
In the past the curriculum only included classical music; French and German composers, but no popular music. Any students caught playing pop were punished, so no student would dare to. But now they can.
At the music school, books and instruments are free. Students stay there for 11 years but now when they leave, they are trained in both classical and Cuban music.
150 years old this year, since 1862 little has changed at the Theatre Square in Saint Petersburg – graduates like Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev would recognise these interiors. And it still takes 17 years of study to graduate from this school.
Mikhail is a well-known violinist. He says that when students enter the Conservatory after school they already have musical technique and skill, so the main task is to develop individuality in every student.
Mikhail says the conservatory’s 150th anniversary is a good reason to look ahead and plan for future. Among the main priorities is renovating the concert halls and rehearsal rooms. They are also planning to add a jazz department.
In South Africa, music is made in the bush.
The hills around the village of Hamburg are alive with the sound of children learning classical music.
Flautist Helen Vosloo started The Keiskamma Music Academy in 2006. She says: “The vision of the Keiskamma Music Academy is to improve quality of life and give opportunity and hope for the future to the children of Hamburg.The children from early, early on, play ensemble, and recorder consort. And it is wonderful, the skill that these kids have, compared to a city child, who just has a half an hour a week lesson. They are able to listen and to play together, because we have had an emphasis on ensemble playing.”
Helen invites professional musicians to help the students too. And once a year there is a performance in the Hamburg Village Hall. Students share the stage with world-famous performers, and the local community has a chance to celebrate their achievements.