Lang Lang’s Keys of Inspiration
Exposure to classical and jazz music as a child was fundamental to forging my outlook and approach to life. Long drives to the doctor were often accompanied by the hypnotic melodies of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. Music was a component of early elementary school education; we were taught basic rhythm and melody through group songs and recorder recitals. In 5th grade we were given the opportunity to learn a classical instrument; I chose the trumpet.
The trumpet’s place in orchestral and jazz compositions fascinated me. It is often the commanding lead but it can also be an indirect yet powerful voice that drives emotional intent. The great dynamic potential of the instrument was met with honest difficulty. Luckily, my elementary school offered group lessons where we were taught the basics of tone while also examining the history of great trumpeters. I continued playing trumpet throughout my middle school and high school years. The personal development and group dynamic forged a deep understanding of how discipline is necessary to create beauty.
Children across Boston are being given a similar opportunity thanks to The Lang Lang International Music Foundation. The mission of the Lang Lang Foundation is to inspire and motivate the next generation of classical music lovers and performers and to encourage music performance at all levels as a means of social development for youth, building self confidence and a drive for excellence.¹ They are partnering with the Boston Arts Academy and Orchard Gardens to bring a music education program called Lang Lang’s Keys of Inspiration for K-12 students. The program will teach students how to play classical piano music with an emphasis on active learning and enhanced engagement.²
This is an astounding program; with music education funding dwindling, many children are denied the opportunity to learn more about themselves. The Keys of Inspiration program has already set up piano labs in the Boston Academy for the Arts, and has over 40 students in grades 4 through 7 learning classical piano. The program has kindled a culture of enthusiasm and pride amongst the students. The program will also expand into a chamber music program for high schools.
The ability and privilege to learn classical and jazz music has been an absolute blessing in my life. I have taken the discipline I learned, and applied it directly to a number of other things I am passionate about. I am a music producer and composer, and rely on the lessons I have learned to further grow my skills. The Keys of Inspiration program offers the same invaluable opportunity, furthering the timeless gift to Boston area students.
¹ Mission, Vision, and Strategies: Educating and Inspiring the Next Generation, Lang Lang Foundation, http://langlangfoundation.org/about/mission-vision-and-strategies/ (Jan 2, 2014)