You may have heard of the musical and social program in Venezuela called El Sistema — it’s been featured on 60 Minutes, and the passionate conductor of the L.A. Philharmonic, Gustavo Dudamel, came out of it.
It’s also being looked at here in San Diego as an inspiration for after-school string programs for poor students whose schools don’t have music programs.
A program at Lauderbach and Otay elementary schools in Chula Vista aims to teach kids in grade three to play stringed instruments. The program, which launched in October, is run by the San Diego Youth Symphony. It costs that organization about $50,000 per school per year to run, spokeswoman Molly Clark said. That includes the kid-sized violins, violas, cellos and basses the students learn on.
I walked into the rehearsal at Lauderbach on Wednesday afternoon just in time to watch instructor Lydia Cooley lead the room full of third-graders in a run-through of “Hot Cross Buns.” She accompanied the somewhat cacophonous effort on the piano.
A few notes in, she stopped.