Blind pianist opens music school for the disabled

WOW

Mubarak Farah was eight years old when he began teaching himself to play the piano. A refugee who came to Ottawa with his family when he was three, Farah listened to the Somali folk music played from his family’s cassettes, matching the notes on his keys and eventually figuring out the chords being played.

An impressive accomplishment for a child to do on his own, but Farah had something else setting him back: he was born with glaucoma and had lost all his vision by the time he was six. Unable to read music, “everything was done by sound and touch,” he said.

Lat week, Farah, now 30 and a professional blues pianist, opened Ability Through Music, a music school for children and adults with disabilities, and hopes to empower people by teaching them piano. The academy welcomes people of all skill levels. Though it’s currently offering piano lessons, it’s trying to expand its lessons to other instruments.

Farah understands the impact playing music can have on anyone, especially people with disabilities.

Full Story @ Ottawa Citizen

Music can improve our cities. So why isn’t music urbanism a thing? | CityMetric

Proof that the arts can make a real difference in a young person’s attitude and life.  Why we don’t have more community based programs like this is beyond me.  How much evidence do we need before we actually start caring about this stuff?

The program, called Youth on Record, taught songwriting, production, DJ and other skills, and its success was staggering. The high school truancy rate of those attending the after-school program was cut in half, as they weren’t allowed to attend if they didn’t go to regular classes. In addition, a new income stream was created for local musicians who were paid to teach. Since the school was first set-up, the organisation has recorded albums, staged a community festival and improved the lives of hundreds of residents.

Full Story:  Music can improve our cities. So why isn’t music urbanism a thing? | CityMetric

On a mission to make music

Leah Witthuhn is on a mission to get instruments into the hands of students who want to play one.

“Music has always been a really, really big part of my life,” said the 18-year-old Witthuhn, who has been playing guitar since she was 3 years old. “I can’t imagine my life without it. I just want to help shape kids the way it shaped me.”

Full Story: On a mission to make music

Should Education Focus Less On The Creative Arts, More On The Art Of Creativity?

We have a problem in our country right now. Like the energy crisis of the 1970s, we now have a creativity crisis brewing in our schools. And in as little as ten years it will directly affect all businesses, particularly in marketing. However, I have a possible solution. Let’s reframe how we look at creativity in public schools from a series of downstream talents (e.g. music, theater and the visual arts) to a more upstream lifeskill that can be applied to all aspects of a student’s life …

Continue at:   Should Education Focus Less On The Creative Arts, More On The Art Of Creativity?

19th Annual Battle of the Books takes place at ECC South | wivb.com

I would have absolutely LOVED this as a kid!!

Twenty three teams. One hundred and fifty nine competitors.14 libraries and five books. That’s what makes up Buffalo’s Battle of the Books.

Mary Jean Jakubowski, Director of Erie County’s Public Library System, told News 4, “It is an exciting jeopardy round program, that will go through a series of eliminations answering unbelievably specific questions about 5 books that these children have been reading.”

Full Story:  19th Annual Battle of the Books takes place at ECC South | wivb.com

Splash of color added to Newark Avenue, courtesy of art students (PHOTOS) | NJ.com

Beautiful flowers are popping up along along Newark Avenue in Jersey City — and as a bonus, they never need to be watered.

The flowers — and other incredible designs — are being painted by Jersey City high school students in the planters all along the busy stretch of roadway. The project, under the guidance of teacher Danielle Scott, is being completed by 26 students from Snyder, Dickinson, Ferris and McNair high schools.

Great use of HS Art Students!  Let them get involved.  It helps them to develop “real world” art skills and to take pride in their community.  Why more High Schools don’t do projects like this is something I’ve never understood.

Full Story: Splash of color added to Newark Avenue, courtesy of art students (PHOTOS) | NJ.com