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Headlines: Letters to the Editor

Mike Lawson • Features • April 7, 2015

Dear Mr. Lawson:

I read the article on ‘El Sistema’ written by Victoria Petro-Eschler with acute interest.  I have been following Dr. Jose Abreu’s project since he began his work in the 1970s.

  I must point out to you that she missed one of the most important, if not THE most important things about this marvelous program – it started in Venezula, one of the most unlikely places on earth to conceive a program to boost the morale and character of children.

Hopefully, you can find a way to inform your readers of this fact.

Very truly,

Larry R. Linkin

President Emeritus, NAMM

 

Dear Mike,

I read your short editorial in the February issue of SBO with great interest this morning. Thank you for your perspectives on the topic of students with special needs. I think you are correct that the state affiliates of NAfME are giving more attention to meeting the needs of diverse learners in the music classroom. You mentioned having noticed a session on the inclusion of special learners on the schedule for the Ohio Music Educators Association meeting last month. On that same weekend, my colleague Julie Duty and I presented a session at the Utah Music Educators Association meeting entitled “Relationships that Resonate: Musical Performance Experiences for Students with Special Needs,” in which we described “United Sound,” a school-based instrumental music club for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their typical peers. We have also been invited to present a session at the “VSA Intersections: Arts and Special Education Conference” sponsored by the Kennedy Center this coming August. 

The United Sound program utilizes a peer mentor format, in which student musician volunteers teach New Musicians (students with special needs) to play band and orchestra instruments at a personally modified level. United Sound’s Board of Directors includes David Starnes (Western Carolina University), Richard Saucedo (formerly Carmel High School, Indiana), and Ryan Hourigan (Ball State University). We are all enthused about how United Sound supports band and orchestra teachers in meeting the needs of special learners, and I would like to suggest that SBO include an article that features the United Sound program. One school in particular comes to mind as being a great example for a feature article—Highland High School in Gilbert, Arizona, directed by Bill Bitter. If you are interested in learning more about United Sound, here is a link to the website: www.unitedsound.org.
Our executive director is Julie Duty

Again, thank you for your editorial. 

My best to you!

Joelle

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