Tuesday, November 6, 2012

developing cultural capital amidst poverty

Social stratification perspectives to the left of conservatism assume that innate intelligence is not a resource largely monopolized by the affluent. Rather, raw aptitude is distributed throughout the class structure, and the opportunity for cultivation is all that is needed to realize it. This CNN article and video speak to these assumptions in describing a classical music program extended to children living in some of Brazil's poorest slums. Retired pianist, Joao Carlos Martins, started the program several years ago after searching to find kids with music potential. "I discovered so many naturally talented children that I decided to build a project... In 10 years, I intend to build 1,000 string orchestras in underprivileged areas across our country." Along with providing employable skills, his program has been credited with psychologically empowering participants, while diverting them from drugs and crime.

Update: Dec 12, 2012
The above video similarly examines the development of music talent among the poor in South America. Landfill harmonic describes how a Paraguayan community built on piles of refuse fashions crude, but sweet-sounding instruments, out of trash, and what these instruments and the "recycled" orchestra formed around them means to its children. The larger story about this project will soon appear in a full-length documentary.

Thanks to Jay Villarreal for bringing this inspiring clip to attention.

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