United Through the Fundamental Language of Music

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On Jan. 22, The NAMM Foundation presented the Grand Rally for Music Education to celebrate the enduring joys and benefits of music education. The Grand Rally took place during Believe in Music Week, Jan. 18-22, a global gathering to unify and support the people who bring music to the world. 

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To watch this special event, register for Believe in Music Week. This session will be available on demand through Feb. 28. 

The event presented two unique conversations featuring Gustavo Dudamel, artistic and music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic in conversation with Liliana Morales, Microbiology and Sociology student at the University of California San Diego, and world-renowned soprano Renée Fleming, in conversation with music researcher and neuroscientist Dr. Nina Kraus of Northwestern University. 

Renée Fleming In Conversation with Dr. Nina Kraus  

According to Kraus, the way the brain makes sense of beats and patterns enables humans to communicate with each other.  

“Making music strengthens this fundamental infrastructure,” said Kraus.  

Sunny Hilden, a songwriter and engineer, said Dr. Kraus brings fascinating insights to the table. “The math and science of music has fascinated me since I was a toddler,” she said.  

Kraus emphasized music making- because it changes the brain.

“When we measure brain responses in children who are engaged in music education, the way children process sound is more precise and purer,” said Kraus.  

Luehrsen wrapped up the segment by asking Fleming and Kraus what they were most looking forward to in 2021.    

“Empathy is a huge part of the arts,” said Fleming. “It’s also a part of history. The arts really show us what it means to be human over Millenia, certainly modern history. It gives us a perspective that is incredibly useful.”  

Gustavo Dudamel In Conversation With Liliana Morales 

Throughout the interview, Dudamel described music as beauty.

“The creation of the notes- you may not be able to read the notes, but you can feel them,” he said.  

He also stressed how the Youth Orchestra Los Angeles, an El Sistema-inspired education program, is transforming the community through beauty.  

“The orchestra goes to the heart of the community, the children,” said Dudamel. “This is about inclusion. To see beauty that is music, is a part of you.” 

Susan Hafner, a music educator from Yorba Linda, was grateful to hear Morales share her story with the world. Morales is an alumna of YOLA and describes the organization as a place of refuge and a safe place to be expressive. 

“[As a performer], the peak experience is about the community,” said Morales. “On stage, it doesn’t matter what language you speak. We’re all united through the fundamental language of music.”  

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