The Pied Piper

The Pied Piper

A free national classical-music program helps keep Venezuelan youth away from a life of drugs and crime. (ABC Australia)

Since 1975 a classical music movement has spread across the Venezuelan nation. The National Youth Orchestra System, known simply as “The System,” provides free music lessons to 400,000 children each day.

The System was founded to help expose poor children to classical music and to steer them away from crime. It’s a unique social experiment in which any child from any background can learn to play an orchestral instrument. The cost of instruments is covered by state grants and private donations. The best students to pass through the System can audition to play professionally with the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra.

This mini-documentary by ABC Australia and distributed by Journeyman Pictures follows two young people who are passionate about music. At 13, Genesis practices her clarinet over five hours each day and hopes to someday play professionally. Leswi, 26, used to be in a gang but six years ago was selected to join the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra.

While only a few Venezuelan youth will become professional musicians, the System leaves a lifelong legacy of music in all participants. (ABC Australia)

Length: 14:15

Producer: Vivien Altman
Camera: David Martin
Reporter: Eric Campbell
Editor: Nick Brenner
Research: Lope Guiterrez-Ruiz
Produced by ABC Australia

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