A Taste of World Music at Music Center LA

Have you heard this before? 

Classical music is not for me, it’s for the… (elite, highbrow, educated, rich, etc).

This is a perception that we are bending over backwards to break at Lyrical LA!

When you hear the term ‘classical music education’ it is easy to picture kids sitting in a room learning to play instruments. However, the truth is that there are various ways to learn about music outside of the traditional classroom. And really what is classical anyway? If you look at classical music in a global context you will find that traditional Gaelic music is very different from traditional Chinese music. This perception that the classics are not for the community at large is one that the education department at the Music Center is working hard to dispel on a monthly basis.

World City, is just one way that families in Los Angeles can learn about music regardless of their ability to play an instrument. World City is a monthly series of free concerts that highlight music, dance and performance art from around the globe. Each World City event is designed for and marketed to the surrounding Downtown LA communities, but people come from across the county to participate in this free musical experience. The event also features an art project for children to connect with other cultures in a hands-on way. “The great thing about music and dance is that it has no language barrier, it’s a universal language that can bring cultures together,” says Michael Solomon, Managing Director of Education for the Music Center.

The Music Center education department services approx. 300 schools across LA County, providing arts education and curriculum integration for teachers in 80 school districts. They currently reach 150,000 students through their programs, which is considerably more expansive than some of the other local music organizations. However, Solomon would still love to see their programs impact more children across Los Angeles, as there are approximately 700,000 children in LAUSD and 1.7 million students across the entire county.

The arts seem to consistently be one of the more expendable line items on the education budget, constantly being placed on the chopping block which each review. This is especially true in our largest school district, Los Angeles Unified. Organizations like the Music Center strive to provide community based programming and contribute to the public system but is it enough? Do these organizations fill the void where music education is concerned in Los Angeles, or should someone else be responsible for providing this access? Let us know your thoughts below.