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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Can Music Really Save the Lives of Impoverished Children in Mexico?

Follow on Twitter as @ElizaKrpoyan
Eliza Krpoyan, New York City-based writer reports, "Whether or not children living in poverty truly need the arts has long been up for debate–the majority say yes, it helps them think critically and become familiar with a world at large beyond the one they’re experiencing now."

Photo: Affect Magazine 

Hoping that this theory holds true, Jorge Viladoms launched Crescendo con la Musica last November, a nonprofit that provides music lessons and instruments to underprivileged students at a school called El Centro Educativo la Barranca. The school is located in an impoverished neighborhood in Mexico inhabited by 9 million residents.

One year later, teachers at El Centro Educativo la Barranca say that the impact has been significant.
The program has offered these 350 children a bright spot in otherwise difficult conditions, and the opportunity to dream of something more. For many of the children at that school, poverty is an everyday reality. According to music instructor Natael Bañuelos, many were abandoned by their parents and are living with relatives in very small houses and receiving minimal government aid.

“The children face daily difficulties living in dysfunctional families. One week they might be living with an aunt, another with their grandma, the other with the neighbor.” He said, adding that many of these children also experience violence within the family.
Fortunately, studying classical music and learning to play an instrument is a saving grace, helping them develop passion, imagination, an ability to concentrate, a sense of organization, perseverance, an analytical mind, and body control.

And when the kids of Crescendo con la Musica performed in the “Teatro Degollado,” a significant music hall in Guadalajara, it opened a whole new realm of possibilities.

“Being able to stand in front of 800 people that applauded them, they felt that they had the ‘right’ to be there, and parents realized that their kids had the right to be there, gives them an incredible feeling of self-esteem and courage,” Viladoms says.
Children can choose between piano, violin, cello, double bass, flute, clarinet, trumpet, and trombone, taking weekly one-on-one classes with certified teachers who have graduated from Guadalajara University–and that individualized attention means the world. Additionally, they take singing lessons, learning to hone their most valuable instrument of all, one that they hope will someday help take them out of their current conditions.
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Source: Affect Magazine