Saturday, October 25, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

With augmented budget, Play On, Philly! plays on

If you want to know more about Play On, Philly!, the intensive after-school music program that has just landed another $1 million in funding, take a look at this video. Also, groove to Play On, Philly! students playing Brahms with Simon Rattle here.

With augmented budget, Play On, Philly! plays on

If you want to know more about Play On, Philly!, the intensive after-school music program that has just landed another $1 million in funding, take a look at this video. Also, groove to Play On, Philly! students playing Brahms with Simon Rattle here.

POP! is modeled after Venezuela's El Sistema network, and programs like it across the U.S. are coming on line. Some U.S. music educators have argued that almost any music program that is getting the funding and attention now being given to El Sistema-like groups would succeed - especially one that gives children two or three hours of music instruction five days a week.

In a way, El Sistema has a chance to step in to do the kind of music training that was once routine in many public schools. It's only this kind of concentration of time that allows for instrumental lessons, ear training, theory and ensembles. A nice silver lining to the El Sistema structure is that it gives many children a much-needed productive atmosphere after school, a place to go that's a lot safer than an empty house or just hanging out.

El Sistema may or may not hold a magical formula. Buy my feeling is, if this is working, and funders are excited to be a part of it, let the music play on.

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
About this blog

Peter Dobrin is a classical music critic and culture writer for The Inquirer. Since 1989, he has written music reviews, features, news and commentary for the paper, covering such topics as the Philadelphia Museum of Art at the Venice Biennale, expansion of the Curtis Institute of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra's bankruptcy declaration in 2011, Philadelphia's evolving performing arts center and the general health of arts and culture.

Dobrin was a French horn player. He earned an undergraduate degree in performance from the University of Miami, and received a master's degree in music criticism from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University, where he studied with Elliott Galkin. He has no time to practice today.

Reach Peter at pdobrin@phillynews.com.

Peter Dobrin Inquirer Classical Music Critic
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