A MISSION to bring music to Kawangware.

WHILE IT is hard to argue that children's lives don't benefit from music education, there is a growing debate among academics, music education experts and program directors over just how much of these really effect change in everything from grades to psychological and social development..

MS CRAWFORD has a Masters Degree from Boston University. ''Public Schools didn't teach critical thinking, problem solving or creativity, and I knew that a music program like EI Sistema could fill this gap.''

She began reading about other global programs that had been inspired by the work in Venezuela, which during the 1980s and 90s, started popping up across South America.

Sistema-inspired programs really boomed internationally after its concert arm - the Simon Bolivar Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel, an EI Sistema alumunus and music director of the Los Angeles Phiharmonic - wowed international audience..

At first teachers in the school and parents were skeptical - a number of those in Kawangware community had never heard of a violin played.

''It was hard because to be established to be in the community, we had to have the community behind us., Ms. Crawford said. ''So if they see a teacher carrying a violin around, they will be like, 'Oh that is one of the EI Sistema teachers.' ''

Ms, Crawford acknowledges her critics and admitted it was hard to quantify the educational benefits of the program.

''We are hoping one day to have the data to to prove that EI Sistema's approach in Kenya has a direct relationship with kids improving their lives and their communities in way not possible through other means,'' she said.

''Our students in Kawangware tell us what happens after school without our program and it's frightening and said - with our programs they keep off the streets and learn new skills that give them hope.''


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