Flash version here.
In mid-November, the El Sistema social
arts education movement touched down in Quebec with an all-day conference
at McGill University organized by the Quebec Music Educators Association.
It was the culmination of three years of behind-the-scenes work by Venezuelan-Canadian
Avelino Rubilar, founder of El Sistema Quebec.
Dr. Jonathan Govias (who penned a
10-part series on the subject for LSM last year) showed how the
three-hours-a-day, six-days-a-week Venezuelan after-school program raised
musical culture, improved group practicing, and most importantly kept
kids off the street. In 37 years, it has grown from one group to 300,000
kids, and has branches around the world. University of Western Ontario’s
Dr. Ruth Wright explored how the socialist program could be successfully
adapted in Canada, voicing some words of caution.
It was motivating to see how music
and the arts can make a fundamental change in a society. What struck
me was the principle: shared experiences change lives. That very idea
is in fact the motivation behind our Bring a Teen program, which helps
youth discover culture.
Why teens? First, the teenage years
(12 to 18) are the most impressionable. Secondly, when we started the
program, I found it strange that although there were lots of elementary
school programs exposing children to the arts, arts groups were struggling
to attract young adults. Teens were left out. Ten years later, that
is still true.
Our big idea is to expose teens to
music and culture, and to turn adults, who constitute 95% of concert-going
audiences, into mentors by sharing their passion. Parents, grandparents,
siblings and teachers all have a role to play.
In re-launching Bring a Teen at its
10th anniversary, we plan a push-pull approach. Thanks to
the FAMEQ (Fédération des associations de musiciens éducateurs du
Québec) and posters printed by Payette & Simms, the program will
be introduced to 72,000 Quebec music students through their music teachers.
Our media partners include The Senior Times, The Montrealer, Radio Ville-Marie
and Mountain Lake PBS. Furthermore, we will tap into the power of social
media through our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ado-teen
In La Scena Musicale, each
BAT concert will be highlighted in a regular ad, plus spotlighted with
the BAT logo in the regional calendar. All concerts are also listed
in the BAT webpage http://teen-ado.scena.org, where we also plan
to include links to program notes. Beginning in February, LSM
will introduce a new parents’ column with advice on how to prepare
teens for concerts.
So far, over 30 arts groups have
signed on to offer over a thousand free tickets. To participate, call
the BAT phone number for each event. An adult purchases the first ticket
to get the second ticket free for the teen. Join the movement: share
your passion, like the Facebook page, and blog your experience. Bring