File Photo: Irán García pictured in the middle with members of the Creative Music Project.Irán García
The Take Action series highlights initiatives that are making a difference in our communities. We honor those who refuse to be bystanders.
“Music has a power of forming the character, and should therefore be introduced into the education of the young.” - Aristotle
This is what the Creative Music Project is all about.
The project, founded by Kathy Kerstetter Ph.D., was designed two years ago in order to provide communities with free music training workshops, both to music educators and students. Irán García, 22, is a music teacher from Miami who works for the project that brings the power of music to schools and communities that otherwise would be silenced without it.
García, who moved to Miami from Cuba in 1996, has played guitar for as long as he can remember and his love for music is now part of the reason why he invests so much into this organization.
"We as teachers need to pay more attention to the creative side of every student," he says. "In the last 2 years, I've met like minded professionals like myself that share my passion as well."
Below is a Q&A with García, 22, about the project.
What does your organization do?
Our mission is to provide communities with free music training workshops, both to music educators and students based on a balanced music curriculum. We promote student-based musical creativity by providing improvisation and composition activities accompanied by technology-based, multi-disciplinary methodology. We strive to become a force in music education by offering teachers the enhanced pedagogical skills to create well-rounded and creative music programs. Training will provide teachers with an opportunity for professional development, which remains limited in some parts of the world. These workshops will help spark students’ and educators’ interest by introducing a curriculum based on music study through creating, alongside performing and responding to music. We will offer a rounded curriculum that focuses on composing and improvising, technology, analyzing and evaluating, and highlighting relationships between music and other disciplines.
What was the inspiration for this initiative?
Simply, to make a difference. Instead of sticking with the same 50+ year old strategy, we need to evolve alongside our students and their ever changing needs. With enrollment in Music classes decreasing, we as educators need to think creatively and offer something new to the students.
What does it hope to accomplish in the future?
Our goal is to be able to carry out these workshops through different countries within the Caribbean and other communities that could benefit from such a program.
What was an initiative highlight or memory that affected you?
Given the fact that we are still pretty young as a company, timeless memories happen very frequently. The one that sticks out the most for me was on our last day with the kids on our 2010 workshop. After the final performance, all the kids and their parents kept approaching me and thanking the Creative Music Project group for everything we had done for their kids. You know, the phrase "wanting to make a difference" always sounds far fetched, but it always starts with a concept. We are simply just trying to push that concept as far as possible and grab some people's attention while we're at it.
How did you get it started?
Ironically, in May 2010, I was invited to attend a week long workshop in the Cayman Islands as a replacement for someone else. Yet, at the time, the organization still hadn't been a thought. It was only after we all came back to the states and realized of how much of a success we had that pushed into making it into a non-profit organization. The founder of the company; Kathy Kerstetter, Ph.D., is mostly the brains of all the operations as her and I share the same visions for this company. Quickly after returning home, she got on the phone and pushed for another week long workshop in Cayman for this upcoming summer during July 4th-11th.
How can I get involved?
Our two main websites are http://www.creativemusicproject.org/and our facebook page http://www.facebook.com/creativemusproj. We are constantly posting up ways in order to help our cause, i.e. donations, fund raisers, benefit concerts.
For more information contact Kathy Kerstetter, Ph.D., founder. firstname.lastname@example.org or Irán García at IránaGarcía@yahoo.com.
Bryan Llenas currently serves as a New York-based correspondent for Fox News Channel (FNC) and a reporter for Fox News Latino (FNL). Click here for more information on Bryan Llenas. Follow him on Twitter @BryanLlenas.