Translation by Larisa de Elena
If someone still thinks that music and nature have nothing in common or even further that art and nature cannot exist together, they are totally wrong. Since the beginnings of art and especially music, great composers such as Vivaldi, Beethoven and others, have inspired their work in nature and created great masterpieces among which we can find “The Four Seasons” from Vivaldi, “The Sixth Symphony” by Beethoven, which are great examples that while we hear them, we can see in our imagination the colors and elements from nature in which these great composers inspired themselves to compose such masterpieces. As teachers and parents, our greatest goal, is to wake up in our students, sons and daughters a taste for good music as well as love for nature, two great gifts that God has left us for us to enjoy as much as possible.
A couple of weeks ago, in Municipio of Alegría (Usulután, El Salvador), a concert took place, it was very special for me and I’m sure it was also special for my students and their parents for many reasons. It was a day to share, cherish and also to learn.
We departed from San Salvador (Capital City) at 6:30 am and arrived at Alegria’s Central Park at 9:00 am. It’s common from the towns of my country for all the important buildings to be constructed around the Central Park, so from it you’re able to appreciate the town’s principal church, the town Hall and hands and crafts market selling samples of things hand made by locals. This place is beautiful, it is situated at 1500 mts. above sea level and as you are driving around the mountain, you are able to see majestic landscapes full of green prairies and coffee plantations. The climate is fresh and the people very friendly.
At 10:30 am at the Central Park, we started the concert with a group of 25 violin students oscillating between the beginners and advance program with ages going from 4 up to 16 years old.
The first part of the concert consisted on a demonstration of the Suzuki Method, playing pieces from books 1, 2 and 3 of the program. During the second part of the program, the advanced students and I played a variety of folkloric and popular music from El Salvador and other Latin American countries. The park was full of local people, foreigners, tourists and parents. At the end of the concert, people kept asking us to play more, so we played two more pieces, which they enjoyed and were very thankful. Kids from the place (some of them even without shoes and with their small faces full of dirt) were impressed to hear so many small children playing an instrument that they even didn’t know its name, but they still give them their very best applause. After a little more than an hour, tired but very proud and happy we finished the concert.
In the afternoon, we drove to the famous “Laguna de Alegría”, which is 20 minutes away from the town city by a cobblestone road in the middle of the mountains. The lagoon is a beautiful place, situated over the crater of a dormant volcano, surrounded by mountains and vegetation; so in the middle of this landscape, we took out our violins and started playing a few pieces of music and took some pictures. The acoustic of the place is incredible and inexplicably people standing 100 mts. away from us could hear us without loosing any beat of sound.
The fresh weather and the green of the lagoon was the perfect excuse to enjoy a delicious cup of Salvadorian coffee and some snacks that we shared between us all that have become a great Suzuki family. A couple of hours later we started our way back to San Salvador with desires to continue having these kinds of experiences.
As a result of this concert, a Foundation has approach me to help start a music school in Alegría, so children and youngsters from the place, who in their majority come from scarce resources families, can learn to play a musical instrument and employ their free time in positive activities.
I’m sure that the Suzuki Method can be use as a fabulous instrument to develop social projects and good will in towns, but as Maestro Suzuki himself used to say, things have to be done one step at a time ensuring the success of each of them. Lots of resources are missing and are needed, but the first step has already been taken; now we have to continue constructing this dream for it to become true. Nature is amazing and so is music, and we have to love, respect and take care of them so they develop more and more and become necessary for the human beings.