The joy of music sets the tune

Music can save lives. That is one of the insights gathered from the creative workshops organised for youth choirs in the district of Buenos Aires.

The colour of the T-shirts defined which team they were on. But they did not play against each other, but with and for each other: 850 young people from Buenos Aires and its outskirts met at the end of September for a music seminar, the first of its kind.

Young choir members and instrumentalists, as well as some one hundred conductors, lecturers, and assistants, had been invited. The event took place in a sports centre in the town of Villa Domínico, south of Greater Buenos Aires, and in three nearby churches: Wilde, Wilde-Este, and Villa Domínico.

Capturing the ear and heart

The day began with various workshops in the three churches. One explored the aspect of musical intelligence, another one introduced a novel idea in saving lives, while a third workshop presented technology for the timid.

In matters of musical intelligence the participants were taken on a tour of discovery. What happens when you listen to music? Which landscapes appear before your mind’s eye? What feelings and flavours are produced? The focus was on perception, as well as the importance of inclusion and mutual respect when creating music. The goal was: capture the ear and heart of the one listening.

Rhythm for life savers

The workshop, Technology for the Timid, presented apps for tablets and smartphones that can help with musical tasks. There was a metronome app, one for tuning an instrument, one for finding the right starting notes, and a music notation app.

One of the workshops dealt with a new idea in helping to train first responders to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation): using music to get the correct pulse and rhythm in performing the emergency procedure.

Moving pictures

After the workshops the youth all came together in the sports hall for lunch and further activities. They were invited to brush up on their singing technique and participate in vocal warm-ups using the two consonants “ng”, which led to wonderful choral harmony.

In addition, two videos were presented to the young people to illustrate the two themes of the day: divine peace and friendship. The one video dealt with the moving story behind the well-known hymn “When peace with the Father”. The other video was about fraternal love.

Rain outside, smiles inside

The young people also went on to show their love for their neighbour: they had not only joined a drive to help collect plastic bottle caps to donate to the Paediatric Garrahan Hospital, but they had also helped to collect non-perishable food, which was then given to a representative from the town at the end of the day for distribution to the needy.

“God’s smile on earth” is a popular hymn in the region, which the youth sang at the end. In the meantime, it had started to rain outside, but inside and outside the youth kept smiling.

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Andreas Rother
Argentina, Music