by Cassandra Kamberi
Let us meet the young people who have been changing our lives from day one. The students at Sistema Cyprus have inspired us, they have become friends with each other, they are learning how to be part of an orchestra and they are being shaped by all the experiences and people they encounter here.
Sistema Cyprus not only aims to teach these kids how to play music, but it also strives to cultivate themselves and show them that they can dream big. Music at Sistema Cyprus is something special. The fact that young people learn how to play instruments they grow to love with a group of individuals they enjoy being with, is indeed quite extraordinary...
Today we attempt to help you meet some of our wonderful kids by asking them some questions!
Let us see what they came up with!
These questions always scare people out, however, kids have a very fun and interesting way of answering this. "Smart, happy, funny, crazy, lazy, kind, friendly, helpful" were just some of the words that came up. While many of us tend to beat ourselves up, it is important to remember how to embrace who we are.
Society often labels individuals based on their actions. It pushes people into judging each other and this results in inauthentic behaviors and the typical 'self-doubt' that we present both in front of others, and ourselves. Being lazy should not be accompanied by shame and acknowledging that you are funny, or smart should not be perceived as arrogant.
'Music acts as a soother' some of our kids said. For others, music translates into emotions of happiness. When we asked them, this question the most common answer we got was that music makes them calm down. If you think about it, music can enhance your already existing emotions or to flip the way you feel right upside down.
One student from Sistema Cyprus said something very interesting. They told us that when they are stressed or they can't think of something, music helps them focus. Another interesting answer we got was "It's like your friend – you can go to it when no one understands you, or when you don't have someone to talk to – MUSIC UNDERSTANDS!"
We wanted to see how the kids themselves perceive their time here at Sistema Cyprus. Some of the kids are very thankful that they learned how to play music, the percussion musical instruments seem to be a very popular valuable lesson among the kids. Someone told us that music isn't as easy as it seems, and someone else proceeded into explaining that learning how to play was harder than they thought it would be and that music gave them passion and made them dream about becoming a musician.
Another great answer we got, was that when something hard happens – both in life and in music – the whole orchestra works together to solve it as a team... We believe that this is invaluable. If we learn from a young age that being united means we are stronger, then life will be made a lot easier for us in the future.
This was a very controversial question. The kids talked about 2 concerts. The one at 'Skali Aglantzias', and the one with the Cyprus Symphony Orchestra. What they seemed to have loved so much about the concerts was a feeling of pride that came with playing in front of an audience. It seemed like they enjoyed every aspect of it, together. They felt powerful, they felt happiness and excitement about those moments, and things to come.
Whenever it comes to concerts, it is normal for a feeling of stress or nervousness to be present, however, when you are having fun all of that just goes away. Music is not about making a mistake or messing up in front of a crowd, music is about enjoying yourself. What we have learned up to now is that, when you play music and you genuinely have fun and get lost in it, then this is translated to every person in the room...
It all starts with you.
This we believe was the most challenging question. It requires lots of imagination and the ability to dream and believe that everything is possible. If one of Sistema Cyprus's goals is to help the kids dream, then maybe one of our goals is gradually getting fulfilled. The answers we got to this question were amazing.
Some kids answered that they imagine themselves playing percussion, playing the cello, or playing with big orchestras in concerts. Some others want to pursue careers in computers, physics, anatomy. Others expressed that being happy is how they imagine themselves in 10 years, taking care of the family they will create. Some kids said that they imagine themselves being successful – and when asked to define 'success' they said 'not to struggle in any way, having a good job, being happy...'
Others are still in search of their passion, their dream – and in 10 years' time, they hope to be pursuing this yet undiscovered passion.
An answer from one of our younger students was: I imagine myself in a big hotel with my friends, being a hairdresser, and having 2 dogs. It is beautiful to observe the answers changing from one person to the other, and from one age group to the other.
These questions and their answers helped us understand a bit better what is happening inside of the heads of these beautiful kids. How do they perceive themselves, their future, and Sistema Cyprus? What does music really mean to them? Well, we must say that we got inspired. If someone has the capacity to dream big and believe in themselves – then the sky is the limit... Oh, wait, no. Then – there is no limit.
The kids taught us that...
"Let us reveal to our children the beauty of music, and music shall reveal to our children the beauty of life" - José Antonio Abreu, Founder of El SIstema