Musicians from Accra and New Haven gathered tonight to play and talk music. A group of YSM students and Yale Band members, led by Thomas C. Duffy, visited geniusHive, a Ghanaian non-profit that aims to inspire students through classical music education. Musicians from geniusHive kicked off the visit with a Ghanaian song arranged for cello and piano, and a series of "impressions" from a jazz pianist. A trio of YSM students played Lorde's "Royals" — improvising with a xylophone, snare drum, and double bass — and Bach on the xylophone. Then musicians from both groups came together to play the classic "Autumn Leaves."
The music making sparked a discussion of music education and the potential of music to change lives. What can a small group do with limited resources? How can they teach young musicians, spark an appreciation for classical music, and teach fundamental skills? What music should we choose to play, and for what reasons? The group discussed YSM's Music in Schools Initiative as an example of a program that began small and grew significantly in scope and influence; Venezuela's El Sistema also came up. Both groups vowed to continue the conversation.
geniusHive, founded by Julius Richardson, describes itself as "a not-for-profit focused on inspiring students to strive for excellence in all present and future endeavors through the early appreciation of music theory, performance and composition… Music achievement provides much needed stimulus for striving to attain higher standards in all endeavors."