+63 32 316 3756 sistemangpilipino@gmail.com

Venezuelan music program inspires Cebuana violinist; holds benefit concert to adopt same initiative in Cebu

Can music transform the lives of economically-deprived children?

Lianne Sala, founder of Sistemang Pilipino believed that music can cut social boundaries, develop the children’s self-esteem and their individual talents.

Sistemang Pilipino has been teaching music to children as young as seven years old in what they call under served communities in barangay Ermita and disadavantaged children in SOS Children’s Village in Talamban, Cebu City.

“We are not in it to create professional musicians. That is just a bonus and it would be nice. We are just here to educate children on music. To make music accessible to under served communities,” Sala said.

Sistemang Pilipino is patterned after a Venezuelan social movement for social justice called El Sistema.

With only seven volunteer music teachers, the group has been teaching a little over a hundred children the basics of the elements of singing for an orchestra, violin, ukulele, piano among others.

Aside from honing their talents, they also help develop the interpersonal skill of each student in their workshops and activities.

The training runs all throughout the year, however the program is intensive during summer where children have more vacant hours.


Classical music and children

Playing classical music and singing in chorus is not an ‘in’ thing for children nowadays however children take special interest in playing musical instruments.

“When they see other children play the violin or the piano, they would say, ‘I want to play that too’. That is where we come in,” Lianne shared when asked if teaching classical music is a hard task to do.

“It is about creating the right context. We organize what we call interactive concerts where we share, and listen where they come from. It’s creating a new dynamic of listening. Its not about just giving stuff out it’s creating something together,” Sala said.

The group was founded last year. Sala was inspired by the documentary of El Sistema and had a four-month immersion from January to May 2012 in South America to learn about the organization.

Sala got their SEC registration in January this year and started hiring and asking people to volunteer and help in the outreach program.

Miracle Romano, one of their pianists who played in their mini concert last week said music helps the lives of the children.

“Music really improves the character and improves their lives. It develops character,” Romano said.

Singing and playing the instruments together follows a strict discipline and coordination to attain harmony. It means co-existence.

Children who attend their special classes learn to develop their sense of solidarity and self-esteem.

Since the group is just starting, they are calling on individuals to help them in their social cause to make music available not only to the members of the elite classes but to the poor communities, as well.

The average cost for teaching a child music is P2,500 every month.

To cover the expenses, the group organizes mini concerts where their students play. The audience, mostly students from some schools, pay a reasonable amount to watch the concert.

It is also during these times that they get to boost their self-confidence hearing the applause of the audience which for the children is an acknowledgement of their triumph.

Aside from teaching kids, Sala has another dream.

“One of my dreams is to be the center for teacher’s training. We have a strong foundation in philosophy and character. I dream that we will all have well-rounded teachers,” Sala said.

By Marian Z. Codilla
Cebu Daily News

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