Music Out Loud is an intensive, long term afterschool music curriculum that utilizes the multimedia operatic art form as the foundation for learning.
This program, its values, and teaching philosophy are influenced by El Sistema, a social development program that uses classical music as a means to teach teamwork, tenacity, and relationship building. Founded in Venezuela over 40 years ago, El Sistema is gaining momentum throughout the world as an effective, holistic, and creative approach to improving the lives of students and enriching their neighborhoods.
The founder of El Sistema in Venezuela, Jose Antonio Abreu, spoke eloquently and passionately about the social mission of these programs in a recent speech in acceptance of the TED Prize. 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, and much less at the services of monopolies of the elite, but instead art at the service of society, at the service of the weakest, at the service of the children, at the service of the sick, at the service of the vulnerable, and at the service of all those who cry for vindication through the spirit of their human condition and the raising up of their dignity.”
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. “Our approach is to deconstruct what opera education has traditionally looked like and engage students through the various components of the art form. This provides a wealth of opportunities to engage students in connecting with their passion and talents, whether it is music, design, visual art, theater, direction, composition, or production,” says Jamie Andrews, Community Education Director for the Minnesota Opera. He continues, “the curriculum is designed to allow all students to learn about every aspect of opera creation and production, then provide opportunity to dig deeper and hone specific skills that will prepare them for future studies and employment.”
Music Out Loud is currently at Folwell Elementary School and Venture Academy in Minneapolis. Classes meet four days a week for two hours per day. Minnesota Opera is increasing the frequency of classes next school year 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, Pine River Capital Management L.P. and Thomson Reuters. Please contact Jamie Andrews for more information about this new program and how to get involved. Your generous support is greatly appreciated.