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December 04, 2009


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Francine Levinson

A fabulous story and a project I believe is so vital for our children!

Bridget Flanery

Wonderful piece, Lucia! Your work is vital and inspiring!

James Strock

Fine post, well-crafted writing!

Elizabeth Flynn

Kudoes to Lucia for an excellent article, and Brava to the Harmony Project!

Ken Newman

Very interesting. This is an economic productivity issue at its core. If we want to grow our economy, we have to develop as much of our youth as possible so that they are productive members of society and not drags on law enforcement or prison resources. This article speaks very substantially to one method of ensuring long term economic growth, not to mention making for a kinder, gentler society!


Nice article.

Steve Kwon

Thank you for this piece!


Your passion is wonderfully evident


Great post! Thanks for bringing awareness to this important issue. You are a great writer. I appreciate your passion.


thank you for this beautiful work. so important!

T. H. Gunterson

Lovely story


Great article!

Mahira Kakkar

This is a wonderful story- very moving. ASTEP does similar work- I spoke to one of the at risk kids they serve and she was talking about how being in an arts camp helped one of her friends- a former gang member- turn his life around. It also gave her the confidence to pursue her dreams- something she never had before.
I this this is amazing work and I am glad to see it being reported.
Thanks Lucia


good stuff. thanks!

Nezer Khan

Hi Lucia,
Hope you are winning the Game...




Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness.
Maya Angelou

Great article, so so worthwhile.


Great article.


Thanks for your fierce commitment to an issue that could and would so easily be overlooked in these times of financial crisis.


What an amazing article!

jackson gay

Thank you for this. --Jackson Gay


What a great article!


Brilliant !

Yolanda Vega

Wonderful article!

Linda Newman Boughton

Beautifully written and really informative! thank you, Lucia for this article.

Sonja Mushahid

I'm glad that Ms Brawley included Margaret's contention that arts education is less expensive than the alternative and it's consequences. That should attract support if the more obvious benefits don't.

rebecca osvold

Wonderful! Amen! Your efforts bring me to tears of joy and I know personally that music is key not only to cultural solidarity, but a profound note to be sounded in the constant effort toward world peace based on mutually respectful harmony.


Thank you for your inciteful and engaging piece! I'd love to know how to get involved and work to create more arts education in my own city (Miami).


Ms. Brawley-

A wonderful post about a very important social issue. Please continue your work in shining light on the arts in education.

Esther Pan

So great to see what you're working on these days, Lucia. Keep on fighting the good fight!

Ernest Brawley

Brava Lucia! A brilliant article about a brilliant lady doing an eesential job for the children who need it most. Everyone should read it. Everyone should register its message. Everyone should put pressure on their congressmen to continue funding the arts. Not because it's fun, because it's vital!


Great piece Lucia! I was particularly struck by the point about investing in our kids early, rather than spending a fortune locking them up when they succumb to the ravages of the world around them. Artistry breeds discipline, self-confidence and creativity. What better gift could we give our kids, than the tools that will enable them to give back to society? Well done! D.N.A


so true


gorgeous article. Thank you...

Peter W.

Thanks for spreading the word! I'd actually like to see the unabridged version. Harmony Project is a flagship program for the rest of the country to emulate!!

Toni Ann Johnson

Spectacular piece. Thank you for all the information you shared!

Arlene Goldbard

Thanks, Lucia! Always a pleasure to read what you have to say.


Thanks for the info!

Leighton Haynes

Beautiful ... inspirational ... insightful!
Hope your work continues to cataylze positive change!

chiara coletti

You couldn't be writing about arts in education at a more important time. Your piece on the Harmony Project reads more like a full-scale magazine article, one which of many which are desperately needed for publication in widely-read forums such as the New York Times Magazine. At a time when state budgets are sinking, education, and especially arts educaion, will be increasingly sacrificed. President Obama's laudable education stimulus money will go to back-fill budget holes. It will be used to save teachers' jobs, thank God. It will be used to save essential curriculum, thank God. But here is the point: at times of crisis such as this, culture is rarely viewed essential. Music, writing, dance, visual arts, theater come to be viewed as frills as extras. The politicians and the DOE bureaucrats really do not stop to think that it is culture that keeps society civilized. It is the arts that make many young people want to go to school. For many the arts provide the primary reason to go. And, so, of all the essential subjects, arts is usually the one that actually saves lives. The arts motivate young people to stay alive. For many children, the arts are their reason to be. Keep writing about these things, Lucia.


Your blog is great however this is one of those times when I don't have the time to read it all but for the most part scanning through it I loved what it represent. Good writing and very detailed. Thanks


Thanks for this piece!

Richard Kurdt

That's faaaaaaaaaaaantastic!!!


I am not a musician, singer, actor or "artsie"at all. I am a science and history guy. However the arts are very important to the positive self-development of our young people. My daughters never played an instrument other than their voices. I always told their teacher, Sue Barta. at Rice Lake (WI) High School that she was the best teacher my daughters ever had. She was open and always building up each student.

Mozhan Marno

Fantastic piece, very inspiring.

Elle O

Wonderful. Thanks for a great article.

lorcan carpenter

It is amazing to have such a direct impact on peoples lives with something that most of us only use for getting away from the stresses of life. Inspirational.

Judie Montoya

What a wonderful program and idea. I've read several studies lately about the contribution that music makes to children's brain development. It's so important!


I know these folks through my work at LA City Council President Eric Garcetti's office. Harmony Project does amazing work! Thanks for sharing! Heather

Lee Marshall

What an impressive project!



Dyan Collings Ralph

Beautiful!!! Thank you for this!

alonzo fretwell

keep up the good work!


I was very impressed about the invitation to the White House for the 9 children and Margaret. Did they have to raise the money for the travel & hotel to D.C., or did it come out of the $10,000 Coming Up Taller award?

Very nice article and it kept me interested all the way!

Tom L.

A truly inspirational piece. I was reminded of a PBS special that may be of interest:

As well as an interesting article on the topic: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/17049/why_music_stimulates_the_human_brain.html

Also found this from our Alma Mater: http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2001/03.22/04-music.html

There's plenty of research and literature that supports the very positive effects you've observed. I hope the program continues to expand and applaud the effort. Thank you for sharing!

NR Davis

Thanks for this great article!


Wonderful. The kids who are involved in arts or music or sports or something -- they're the ones who'll be our leaders in their generation.


This is a brilliant article. My husband is a musician who teaches guitar. It's amazing to watch his students blossom as their musical skills improve and their general confidence improves. Knowing that the arts are helping young people thrive in this way makes my soul sing.


This a perfect example of how music can impact a child's self-confidence and bring a sense of hope to a child who otherwise might not be exposed to the arts. Music not only builds self- esteem but it also enhance their cognitive development and helps in their overall academic success.

Carlana Stone

So inspiring!

Robin Gerber

What a beautiful and beautifully written piece. Thanks so much for sharing this.

Joe Markowitz

I have been impressed with LA Unified's ability to not only construct a first rate arts high school but actually get it up and running in a short amount of time. What is still needed, though, is to improve music and arts programs in every school. It is not clear to me that reading and arithmetic are more fundamental than art and music, but art and music are always the first things to suffer when budgets get tight.

Carlos Michel

Loved the post! The subject of music education mirrored in El Sistema is always a good read. Thank you for the information.

Lucia Brawley

Thanks, everybody, for your encouraging comments. Also, I appreciate the comments about the piece being a little long for certain tastes. So I've edited down it a bit and hope you like it even more! Cheers, Lucia


Great article! Indeed I have come to realize the importance of the Arts in the social fabric. Thanks


thank you for sharing this. very informative and moving.


Thank for this article. Amazing...


Great post, thank you. I'm a public school teacher and my school has no music education at all. Some students are involved in after school music programs, but I wish that we had funding for a music teacher and even an orchestra or band.

Levy Lee Simon

This is an awesome article. We need more people like Margaret. She's an amazing God send. The story about her son and the gang members is testimony to the power of art, and as she says, accessibility. I applaud the Harmony Project. And, thanks to this article, many more people know about it. Thank you.


What a wonderful article, I love the story and I felt like I was walking or running to keep up with the pace. A little long, however very engaging. Thank you for sharing this story.


This issue speaks to me because I first experienced music-making in my school life, and now it is my profession. It's relevant to everyone because it empowers young people to express themselves, relate to others and work in community, no matter what they go on to do in life. Thanks for your advocacy, Lucia.


Great article! I agree that Arts Education is an important resource for our youth.


great subject, great writing, a little ray of hope in my day!


Thank you for writing such a detailed and effectively wrought article on the Harmony Project and on the students whose lives have been beneficially affected by this valuable program. The portion of the story where you describe the children's visit to the white house, such a high honor for even the most economically established, was especially poignant in relaying just how powerful access to the arts can be in opening doors to all, regardless of one's social or economic background. Now, that is hope!


Exceptional writing, informative piece, and an extremely valuable subject that for too long has been treated as a back-burner issue. Despite the many proven studies and hard number statistics, we as a society still fail to give arts education the credit it deserves for the positive, powerful impact it has on a child's life. Thank you for shining a light on this subject and the efforts of Ms. Martin and her Harmony Project. Let's hope we all carry this message forward and continue to speak out and fight to preserve access to arts education by all of our kids.


Incredibly well-written and inspirational -- a great call to action. We must pick up the ball as individual citizens and contribute what we can to ensure that programs like this one are preserved and protected; our children deserve nothing less. Thank you for posting!

Quentin Williams

Thanks for the enlightening post. Very well done!


I'll be honest, a little long for my taste. The subject was great and your writing skills are amazing.

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