Wednesday, April 4, 2012

On Rural Programs, Part 2: Different Models of Modulos

I love this! Venezuelan folk music, accompanying little dancers
at a modulo near Valle de la Pascua

Modulos take many shapes and forms. The modulo in the above video is in a rural school near Valle de la Pascua. They have string ensembles, Venezuelan folk ensembles, and choirs. In the case of Mahomito (the modulo mentioned in Part 1), Sergio explained that they had initially tried to start an orchestral program with strings. However, due to limited resources (money for instruments) and to children not really taking to the music or the instruments (he said that after 3 years, they didn't really improve), the instruments went back to the central nucleo and Mahomito started a Venezuelan folk music program instead.

This, too, has been difficult. There aren't enough folk music teachers to come teach the kids as often as it would take to help them improve quickly, and the individual lessons may be taking time away from group learning, which – according to Sergio - is the most important component of a program like this for social development. So Mahomito is focusing on choir, and seeing if the Venezuelan folk music program takes off (in other words, if kids continue to want to do it).

We saw choirs in every modulo we visited, and it seems that the modulos implement choirs as a way of advancing their social development goals by getting as many kids as possible engaged, even if they don't have money for instruments.

Around Calabozo, the nucleo director Rodrigo explained that some of the modulos in surrounding areas may focus on only one type of instrument. For example, there may be a cello-only modulo, a violin/viola-only modulo, and a brass-only modulo. Next August, the children from these programs will come together to perform in an orchestra. Because some of these modulos are so small (one town called San Francisco only has population 1,000), a full orchestra may not make sense financially or programmatically, but the modulo leaders are still finding ways to engage children in music and connect them with teachers and other students around the region.

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