April 28, 2020
MN Opera’s Music Out Loud program is influenced by El Sistema, a social development program founded in Venezuela over 40 years ago. Music Out Loud is a program with a social mission that uses music, and other operatic components, in a holistic way to teach academic skills and life skills, AND enrich the community at the same time.
Jamie Andrews is the Chief Learning Officer for the Minnesota Opera. As CLO, Jamie has developed award-winning programs that engage audiences of all ages, including Music Out Loud, a program with a social mission that uses music in a holistic way to teach academic skills and life skills, AND enrich the community at the same time.
- Music Out Loud is influenced by El Sistema, a social development program founded in Venezuela over 40 years ago.
- The founder of El Sistema in Venezuela is very clear about the social mission of these programs. He believes we are building a new era in the teaching of music where we are “no longer putting society at the service of art, but instead art at the service of society.”
- While hundreds of El Sistema-inspired programs have successfully launched focusing on orchestral and choral music, Minnesota Opera is the first opera company in North America to use the operatic art form as the primary teaching tool.
- Music Out Loud’s holistic approach uses music as a conduit for teaching academic and life skills (teamwork, perseverance, relationship building; prepare them for future studies and employment) AND, at the same time, improves the lives of students and enriches their neighborhoods.
- Music Out Loud is an intensive, long term after school music curriculum that utilizes the multimedia operatic art form as the foundation for learning.
- Music Out Loud is currently at Folwell Elementary School in Minneapolis, and St. Paul Music Academy in St. Paul. Classes meet two-four days a week for over an hour each day.
- Minnesota Opera is increasing the frequency of classes next school year and is looking to expand the program to additional sites throughout the Twin Cities.
- Music Out Loud is supported by Minnesota State Arts Board Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and Thomson Reuters.
- From El Sistema website: “We believe that El Sistema is an on-going inquiry into the most effective ways to achieve the youth development goals that we all share through the rigors and rewards of orchestral music. We have much to learn from one another as we pursue success, and we are smarter together than we are alone.”
Jamie suggests thinking like an artist: We are innately creative, and maintain the desire to create throughout our lives. But for many of us, the willingness to create and the enjoyment of creating is pushed out of us. Case in point: opera, as an art form, seems like something for only “certain” people who have a lot of special education. But Music Out Loud breaks down that assumption and starts with a student’s desire to create.
Look at a work of art, read a poem, or listen to a piece of music, and consider: What inspired the artist? What is it about the art that I connect with? The emotion? The technique? And how would I create something similar?
- MN Opera website
- Music Out Loud website
- El Sistema website
- Jamie mentions The Song Poet, a Hmong opera. This is an operatic adaptation of the popular book, “The Song Poet: A Memoir of My Father,” by Kao Kalia Yang.
On August 30, 1990, when I was 15, a friend and I went to see Miles Davis play at the Chicago Jazz Festival. It was exciting for two kids to drive to Grant Park from very small town in Wisconsin (about a 3 hr drive one way) to see someone who just seemed like a name or face on a record. I didn’t get to see famous musicians like that! I was just beginning to fall in love with jazz and Miles always stood out to me. His artistry, individuality, was and is just second to none. It was artistry on a level that I had never experienced before. Beyond that, the experience has always stuck with me, from getting lost in the underground parking, to getting pulled over on our way home (why where two teenagers in a car with WI plates in IL at 1 am on a school night?), and trying to figure out how to pay for the tolls through IL.
Jamie googled the concert and found this YouTube recording, which is also how he knows the exact date of the concert!
A huge thank you to Jamie and MN Opera for all they do to make the world a better place and enhance lives with music. We did record this conversation shortly before COVID-19 really hit the fan here in the US and, as you can imagine, Music Out Loud’s programming has been taken online. MN Opera also offers, online, a continually expanding list of other great offerings, including past performances and a virtual tour of the Opera Center. Thanks so much to you, the Enhance Life with Music community, for joining me today. If you haven’t already done so, be sure to hit the subscribe/follow/+ button on whatever podcast app you use. This conveniently delivers each new episode to your device each week when it releases. Stay safe, stay healthy, and until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.
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