Often a source for uplifting personal stories, CBS 60 Minutes this week featured an inspiring profile about Gustavo Dudamel, the 24-year-old music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic. There is much to love about this story — first, his undeniable love and passion for music and the absolute absence of fear he has about his self-expression (when asked if he is ever afraid, he replies, “About music? Never.”).
His joy of self-expression and making music isn’t all there is to this story, however; as with the best of them, he is also on a mission and he actively makes a difference in the world. Back in his home country of Venezuela, half a million children participate in music programs in the schools; a program he has successfully brought to his new home of Los Angeles. In the CBS piece, we see him lead a group of children from their first discovery of their musical instruments through their triumphant performance at the Hollywood Bowl. [I have to give props here to my former associates at VH1 for breaking ground with its music instrument donation program, VH1 Save The Music, at a time when arts programs were first being cut from schools in the late 80’s/early 1990s.]
What I love about this story is that anything can make a difference when you raise the human spirit. As Gustavo says, “Through music and through art,it is possible to change the lives of thousands of children–change the life of a complete society.”
Check out the story here. Would a music program make a difference in your community? What do you think?