The Weill Music Institute’s Musical Connections program offers diverse live-music experiences for people in healthcare settings, correctional facilities, senior-service organizations, and homeless shelters across New York City. Teens in secure juvenile detention centers participate in two-week creative workshops, writing original songs in collaboration with professional artists.
Recently, one of these projects took place at Horizon Juvenile Center, located in the Bronx. Below, our partners Sonia Galarza and Tahia Johnson at the Administration for Children’s Services Division of Youth and Family Justice reflect on the success of past workshops and sharing insights about the importance of their ongoing partnership with Carnegie Hall. These interviews are the kick off to a series of blog posts about the impact of this work.
It’s important to plant the seed for these kinds of creative outlets early and often. When you see kids grow in front of your eyes, you hope that they can turn their lives around and continue to make positive contributions in our communities. You can see their self-esteem lift. You see it in their faces and in the way they carry themselves. When they participate in Musical Connections, they get a sense of what it means to grow. Their behavior changes. I’ve seen them become motivated to join other programs and participate in other arts activities. The pride that these kids display is also seen in their families. We’ve seen little sisters join in and start dancing at the performances. Parents sometimes don’t have many opportunities to see their kids doing positive things, but this is uplifting for the entire family.
Participants join artists Falu, and Chris Marianetti and Jeremy Thal of Found Sound Nation. Photo by Elizabeth Ferguson.
During the Musical Connections workshops, our residents bond with one another. I love seeing everyone work together to become a team. They put a lot of hard work into each program and then perform in front of an audience of their friends and families. Having their relatives at the concert is awesome because the residents are able to show off their talents. Our staff members also get a chance to learn and participate with the Musical Connections artists, which allows them to work with the residents in different ways.
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