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Music Schools BC

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The official blog of the British Columbia Association of Community Music Schools

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

El Sistema: when music cuts crime and saves lives

Probably the most amazing music education project in the world today is the youth orchestra program in Venezuela. Known as El Sistema or "the system" the world's attention in the past few years has been captured by its incredibly charismatic conductor Gustavo Dudamel and the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra, which has become the flagship of the system.  This educational system has a much larger scope than just one conductor and one orchestra; it is a system that targets some 300,000 youth;  specifically families that are poor and disadvantaged. It has become a vehicle  for social change in South America , and  is now moving around the world . The article link below talks about the program, and it's potential impacts in the UK.

El Sistema: when music cuts crime and saves lives - Telegraph

Here is a video of recent performance of Bernstien's Mambo from West Side Story at Royal Albert Hall in London UK.

El Sistema grows... There is now a new education program at New Engaland Conservatory being spawn with the intention of bringing these types of programs to North America.

El Sistema USA

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Holidays

Happy holidays to all of our colleagues at the BC Community Music Schools and to all the readers of this blog.  If you have been following this blog for awhile you will understand that this past year has been a challenging one  for many arts organizations in BC.  Most of us have been dealing with the 100% withdrawal of government funding while at the same time  many of the parents and families that we work with have experienced a year of challenges and economic hardship of their own. At the same time there are new opportunities and greener pastures perhaps just around the corner. The loss of funding may help make us less dependent on grants and more dependent on our own grass roots support from our constituents and communities.

Here is looking for better days ahead for the next year. All the best to everyone for 2010.  Cheers.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Camada's cultural revenue down 3.9 B in 2009

"The global recession is expected to reduce revenues for cultural enterprises by approximately $3.1 billion in 2009".
This is one of the findings of "The Effect of the Global Economic Recession on Canada's Creative Economy in 2009", a report prepared by The Conference Board of Canada for the Cultural Human Resources Council (CHRC) that measures the impact of the current recession on the cultural sector.
Traditional culture sector revenue streams such as business advertising, endowments, and municipal funding have been eroded due to the weak economy and the steep decline in stock markets. Cultural industries have felt the pinch. For example, the report highlights the fact that written media and broadcasting which depend heavily on business advertising are expected to see real revenues fall by 6.1 per cent and 4.8 per cent respectively.

Link to article  link to report

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Friday, December 18, 2009

From the morning news: VSO turns down Olympics, Steinway gift inspires teen pianist

Interesting headlines in the news this morning. Congrats to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for showing us that there is some integrity left in this world. The VSO has turned down performing at the 2010 Olympics because they were going to be pre-recorded and then impersonated by another orchestra and conductor.
Link to Article in the Vancouver Sun

Merry Christmas, Here is a "good news" story from Calgary..An accomplished teenage pianist has received an early Christmas gift from a Calgary businesswoman — a Steinway concert grand.
Jan Lisiecki, 14, has performed in concert halls internationally and has won several major music competitions.
He recently returned from winning a competition in Montreal to find a nine-foot Steinway in his living room. Valued at $138,000, it was a gift from Irene Besse, a piano dealer and music instructor.

CBC News - Arts - Steinway gift inspires teen pianist


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Messiah autograph now online

A Christmas gift from the British Library. The British Library has uploaded a scan of the autograph of Handel's Messiah on to its website for the world to view. You check in out at the link below, along with other offerings from the Library. This site is a great resource of some 30,000 virtual holdings, all available online.

Recent additions to virtual books

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Charities and Digital Giving

Tod Cohen in a recent artlicle points out that from recent studies in the US, it seems that many charities are behind the times when using digital means for fundraising and giving. For instance a new study conducted by Forrester’s Technographics for online provider Convio estimates online giving in the U.S. to nonprofits will total over $4 billion this holiday season, with over 111 million givers saying they plan to give over the Internet this year.  At the same time, a study earlier this year from Target Analytics, a Blackbaud company, found online giving generates only about one in 10 dollars given to charity.(from Stanford Social Innovation Review - Charities Missing out on Digital Giving )

Scot Hartley's follow up article provides some practical ideas for dealing with web 2.0 issues, and getting your organization engaged in the Brave New World of online fund-raising. There are a number of ways organizations of all sizes can leverage web tools to understand their users, target and acquire new followers, and solicit online donations:
Read more »

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Liberal-arts cuts are bad for B.C.’s economy

From Business in Vancouver online magazine:
It’s hard to understand what the BC Liberals were thinking when they chose arts and culture to take such a huge hit in the struggle to keep the province on track financially.
Artists talking to businesspeople feel compelled to make the economic case for what they do. Although they’re a sideshow to the real contribution of the arts, those numbers are impressive: a payback of $1.05 to $1.36 for every dollar invested; $12 in economic spinoffs for every dollar spent on the arts. My experience is that the small amount of money contributed by the province leverages not just matching funding but thousands of volunteer and unpaid hours from people who care passionately about what they do, building the social capital that is vital to any place that purports to be “the best place on Earth.”
There is a bigger financial picture, too.
The arts are the infrastructure for a creative economy. Why would we be lowering taxes to attract new businesses and mobile employees, especially in the burgeoning new- media industries, while we undermine the performing artists and organizations that feed those industries and pull creative people into this province?

To read the whole article, follow the link below
www.bivinteractive.com - At Large: Peter Ladner


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Fine-tuning: composer reinvents the piano

This should be of some interest to new music and world music fans:
Geoff Smith believes he has come up with the first multicultural acoustic piano – what he has trademarked as a fluid piano – which allows players to alter the tuning of notes either before or during a performance. Instead of a pianist having a fixed sound, 88 notes from 88 keys, Smith's piano has sliders allowing them access to the different scales that you get in, for example, Indian and Iranian music. For good measure, Smith has included a horizontal harp.

Check the link below to see the article and a video demo of the new instrument

Fine-tuning: composer reinvents the piano 

from the Guardian: November 23, 2009