New Delhi -°C
Today in New Delhi, India

Sep 25, 2020-Friday
-°C

Humidity
-

Wind
-

Select Country
Select city
ADVERTISEMENT
Home / Art and Culture / Can’t stop the music: Argentine child orchestras play on amid coronavirus lockdown

Can’t stop the music: Argentine child orchestras play on amid coronavirus lockdown

Children get together and play music online with their youth orchestra group. Some 1,500 youngsters, ages 6 to 19, from low-income areas participate in a 22-year-old music program. When the pandemic hit, teachers had to reinvent their classes to deal with slow internet and getting the children to play together online.

art-and-culture Updated: Jul 31, 2020 10:32 IST
Reuters | Posted by: Alfea Jamal
Reuters | Posted by: Alfea Jamal
Buenos Aires
Clarisa Orfila, viola professor of the Buenos Aires children's and youth orchestra program teaches to her students via zoom at her home, during the coronavirus pandemic in Buenos Aires, Argentina July 16, 2020. Picture taken July 16, 2020.
Clarisa Orfila, viola professor of the Buenos Aires children's and youth orchestra program teaches to her students via zoom at her home, during the coronavirus pandemic in Buenos Aires, Argentina July 16, 2020. Picture taken July 16, 2020. (REUTERS)

Marcela Sosa has her own private escape from the tedium of a coronavirus lockdown in the small Buenos Aires home the 12-year-old shares with six others: her violin and a computer connection that lets members of her youth orchestra play together online.

Argentina’s capital city and the surrounding area have been under lockdown since March 20, one of the longest in the world, with strict restrictions on movement and gatherings to try to limit the spread of the pathogen. But coronavirus infections have jumped in recent weeks, now exceeding 175,000 nationwide.

“I always look forward to the time I can get on (video chat app) Zoom, see my classmates, my teachers and learn new things,” said Sosa, who plays in the orchestra of La Boca, one of the 13 that make up a children and youth program around Buenos Aires.

Marcela, 12, member of the Buenos Aires children's and youth orchestra program, practices her violin during a video call at home during the coronavirus pandemic in Buenos Aires, Argentina July 17, 2020.
Marcela, 12, member of the Buenos Aires children's and youth orchestra program, practices her violin during a video call at home during the coronavirus pandemic in Buenos Aires, Argentina July 17, 2020. ( REUTERS )

Some 1,500 youngsters, ages 6 to 19, from low-income areas participate in the 22-year-old music program. When the pandemic hit, teachers had to reinvent their classes to deal with slow internet and getting the children to play together online.

“They are super plugged in. Really, they learn more, they are playing better than when we saw each other,” said Clarisa Orfila, a viola teacher at the Mexico Balvanera Orchestra, adding that music has become a way for many of the children to unwind.

The classes use music along with video to engage the children and help create a sense of community at a time of enforced social distancing, even if some of them do not have spacious accommodations.

Juan, 12, member of the Buenos Aires children's and youth orchestra program, practices the contrabass at his home during the coronavirus pandemic in Buenos Aires, Argentina July 17, 2020.
Juan, 12, member of the Buenos Aires children's and youth orchestra program, practices the contrabass at his home during the coronavirus pandemic in Buenos Aires, Argentina July 17, 2020. ( REUTERS )

“It’s complicated, because you can only use the instruments according to the space you’ve got. In other words, for the double bass you need room to set it up,” said Juan Martín Alfonso, 12, who plays the bulky string instrument. “But it’s still fun to be in a video-conference playing.”

The orchestras, which set many on the path to play professionally or become teachers, help level the playing field for many youngsters from underprivileged backgrounds, said Oscar Albrieu, a percussionist and coordinator of the program.

“It doesn’t matter where you come from, who you are or what your family or history is. Here you are welcome and you have the same right as your partner sitting next to you,” Albrieu added.

Amelia, 14, a member of the Buenos Aires children's and youth orchestra program, practices her contrabass during a video call at home during the coronavirus pandemic in Buenos Aires, Argentina July 17, 2020.
Amelia, 14, a member of the Buenos Aires children's and youth orchestra program, practices her contrabass during a video call at home during the coronavirus pandemic in Buenos Aires, Argentina July 17, 2020. ( REUTERS )

“Teachers and directors,” Albrieu said, “are amazed that so-and-so, who at school is doing very badly ... yet here, they clean their violin each time after playing and keep it in its case, they study music scores at home and come to concerts looking impeccable.”

(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)

Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter

tags

Sign In to continue reading