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Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...

Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...


SECTION: Music for Sustainable Community Development COUNTRY: Colombia PROJECT: LET THE MUSIC TOUCH YOU: FUNDACIÓN NACIONAL BATUTA DESCRIPTION: Fundación Nacional Batuta, a public/private foundation, was created in 1991 by a joint effort between the national government of Colombia and the private sector. Its programs were modeled, in part, on the National Youth & Children Symphonic Orchestras Organization of Venezuela (―El Sistema‖). Over the years, Batuta has expanded the scope of its operations to better meet the needs of the large and diverse population it serves. The principles upon which Batuta structures its programs are: The transformative power of music The social values of group music education Music education has a highly beneficial impact on human beings Teaching music to children also impacts their families and communities Batuta has many diverse programs including pre-orchestras, a symphonic orchestra and music education for children and teenagers with disabilities. Many of the children have suffered directly from forced displacement associated with violence. In 2010, 22,100 displaced children were a part of nearly 800 ―pre-orchestras,‖ and vocal-instrumental ensembles designed to develop basic musicianship. Also, 11,067 of the children served by Batuta belong to families from extreme poverty and have two or more of their basic needs unsatisfied (health, education, employment of their parents, shelter, nutrition, etc.). These conditions affect children‘s physical and emotional development and, as a consequence, their academic performance. Batuta is a safe space, where students can be protected from risks in their environments, and practice values such as respect, tolerance, and team work. Students learn how to be positive leaders within their communities. The pre-orchestra program is the largest. It has an inclusive philosophy that does not require students to have any prior musical knowledge. There are no admission examinations and no other admissions criteria such as demonstrating musical skills. The program works essentially with Colombian popular music but also includes other Latin American music. Students are automatically promoted to the next level. The program instruction is collective; there is no individual instruction. This is important to achieve Batuta‘s psycho-social objectives. The symphonic orchestra program performs both a Western classical and a Columbian repertoire and has recently completed its first European tour. The music education program for youngsters with disabilities is the only large program of its kind in the country and serves over 600 children. There are 300 music educators in the program. Not all teachers have university degrees. Selftaught musicians who are recognized within their communities work for Batuta. Their knowledge of traditional regional music is an important component of the programs. Batuta organizes professional training workshops for music instructors, conductors and musical instrument technical experts from throughout Columbia to improve music education. It has produced didactic materials such as books, scores, and audio materials. 20

CURRENT STATUS: Batuta is now one of the largest arts programs of any kind in Latin America, and is the largest in Colombia. It has gained international attention. Currently it has centers in all 32 departments (states) of the country, serving over 40,000 children and adolescents in 2010. It is expected that in 2011, the numbers will be maintained. More than 1400 concerts have taken place, where students had an opportunity to show their abilities and the work of Batuta. Some of the activities included participation of some students in the International Hey Mozart Festival, the creation of the Young Colombia Philharmonic Orchestra in alliance with Fundación Bolivar, Davivienda and the YOA Orquesta de las Américas. Batuta is supported by state agencies, city offices, foundations, and corporations. The national scope and success of Batuta‘s work has been achieved through the generous voluntary assistance of organizations and institutes such as, Ecopetrol, the Fundación Panamericana para el Desarrollo (FUPAD), the Fondo para la Acción Ambiental y la Niñez, ACESCO, Plan International Inc, the Municipality of the Capital District and various other cities, along with many smaller organizations. The organization is always looking for more resources to increase the program and ensure more programs for students throughout the country. RESEARCH AND EVALUATION: There have been two evaluations documenting the effectiveness of the program. Both evaluated the pre-orchestra program supported by Acción Social (a State Agency). The evaluations were funded by the National Department of Planning in the Public Policy Evaluation Unit (SINERGIA). 1. CRECE (Centro de Estudios Regionales, Cafeteros y Empresariales): A qualitative evaluation of the Project ―Music Education for Children and Youngsters: Let the Music Touch You,‖ developed by Fundación Nacional Batuta and Acción Social (2008).This qualitative study evaluated the effects of the pre-orchestra program on the participant children and teenagers, with regards to the impact of the music program on twelve psychosocial factors affecting individual, family, school and community. The most relevant findings were an increased sense of responsibility, better use of free time, stronger values for coexistence, wider social networks, and a sense of happiness due to being part of the program. 2. Economía Urbana: Evaluation of the Process of Musical Education and Its Impact on the Academic Performance of the Pre-Orchestral Project of Batuta (2010). This statistical model was designed to measure the impact of the Project and revealed a high degree of success for all aspects of the program studied. The results should be made public by the end of 2011. From the perspective of its social impact, the study demonstrated that the program has significant impact on resilience, leadership and self esteem, and a direct influence in academic improvement of the participants in their school work. Cognitive impact was measured as well, finding important results in meta-linguistic and space skills. According to the study, the program has demonstrated its efficacy in helping children and their communities to overcome problems of conflict and displacement. Recommendations included adding a creative dimension to the curriculum and begin teaching music reading and writing early in the program through didactic practices in order to give stronger support to students in learning and psycho-social processes. Currently, there is a 4-year research project (2011-2014) ―Alondras y Ruiseñores ‖: Musical Intelligence as an Alternative of Multidimensional Education for First Childhood (Batuta, Universidad Distrital, COLCIENCIAS) being financed by the National Department of Science and Technology. 21

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