Sistema - Hero of the Week Award | The Jackal

3 Nov 2011

Sistema - Hero of the Week Award

It’s not often that we have much good news these days and more often than not our mainstream media is full of mayhem.

That’s why it was nice to read this weeks Listener that published the story Take a bow. Geraldine Johns writes about Sistema Aotearoa, a musical teaching programme run for children in Otara. It’s free and open for children aged six and seven who live within walking distance of the Otara Music Centre.

As well as receiving donations of instruments from organizations like the Police Guild Trust, Sistema receives funding and oversight by the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra.

The programme functions through dedicated volunteers, a number of full and part time employees and a paediatric development therapist. International guests also contribute by giving performances to inspire the young students.

The idea behind Sistema dates back to the 1970s, when the first programme was set up in the ghettos of Venezuella. Since then it has become recognised as a visionary global movement that awakens more than just music, as Sistema Aotearoa programme director Dr Joe Harrop explains.
“The skills imparted in the process of learning an instrument, particularly in a group context, are several. Interpersonal skills, attention span, discipline and perseverance are all exercised as the child’s musical ability develops,” he said.
What makes such schemes so advantageous in an area that has limited opportunities is that it places young people on a path of personal fulfilment.

It appears that there is no lack of enthusiasm from those participating either and I wouldn’t be surprised if they create the next Vanessa May or perhaps even another Beethoven… now wouldn’t that be a turn up for the books.