Did you catch the story today about the young boy whose composition was performed by the New York Philharmonic?
At the National Public Radio site, Jeff Lunden writes: “What would it be like if you were 10 years old and composed a piece of music that was played by the New York Philharmonic? For a few New York City school kids, including one fifth-grader, it’s a dream come true, thanks to the orchestra’s Very Young Composers program.
“Composer Jon Deak, who played bass with the New York Philharmonic for more than 40 years, says the idea for Very Young Composers came when he and conductor Marin Alsop visited an elementary school in Brooklyn several years ago.”
Now every year, “72 lucky kids in six New York area schools participate in this free after-school program. …
” ‘The kids are not chosen for being musical geniuses,’ [the Philharmonic's director of education, Theodore] Wiprud says. ‘The guidelines we give the schools, in trying to identify some fourth- and fifth-graders for the program, is that they be kids for whom this could make a difference. Whether or not they study an instrument is not necessarily a good predictor of whether they’re going to do something creative in music.’ …
” ‘Some of these kids have trouble locating middle C on a piano,’ Deak says. ‘Does that mean they can’t compose music of depth? No. What do they have to do? They have to hum it for us, sing, whistle, tap the rhythms — even if they can’t notate them — and we get their piece.’
“As [teaching artist and composer Daniel] Felsenfeld puts it, ‘The most important thing about this class is that you never, ever, ever write their music for them — not even a little.’ “
I’m hearing a refrain from yesterday’s post: all children have music in them and you should just let it flower.
Read more and listen to the performance of young Milo Poniewozik’s composition at NPR.
Photograph of student Milo Poniewozik and the New York Philharmonic: Michael DiVito