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Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music Hardcover – January 23, 2012

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Changing Lives: Gustavo Dudamel, El Sistema, and the Transformative Power of Music + El Sistema: Orchestrating Venezuela's Youth + Tocar Y Luchar
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Starred Review. This passionate and inspiring story should be read by all those interested in music education, community building, and advocacy for the disadvantaged. An essential purchase.” — Library Journal

“Tunstall soundly probes how it is that classical music has played such a powerful role in the protection, education, and elevation of so many children born into poverty. The author does a noble job tracing the history of El Sistema, while managing to keep the narrative as much in the immediate present as possible.” — Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Tricia Tunstall is both a writer and a music educator. The author of Changing Lives and Note by Note: A Celebration of the Piano Lesson, she has written for the Kenyon Review and the New York Times. She lives in Maplewood, New Jersey.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (January 23, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393078965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393078961
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,661 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By GBB on August 7, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The story narrated in this book is breathtaking. How one man, Juan Antonio Abreu, and his dream of El Sistema, transformed Venezuela from a country whose professional orchestra employed no Venezuelans to a country where EVERY child has the right to study music with gifted teachers for as many years as they wish, to have an instrument to play, and the opportunity to play in musical groups of all sizes and talent. Now the country has several world-class orchestras of young people and even school children who are invited all over the world to play for sophisticated musical audiences and then treated to enthusiastic standing ovations and patrons shouting approval! These young musicians are proficient not only in all genres of European music, they are also proficient in Latin American music, both popular and classical. To hear and see (via YouTube) more than 200 talented young musicians all playing together enthusiastically and extremely articulately for a gifted conductor, Gustavo Dudamel, who is himself a product of El Sistema, is a grand testament to Abreu's dream and Venezuela's support for this transformative program.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PatriciaD on September 10, 2013
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This is an informative and inspiring journey throught the development of El Sistema in Venezuela and the power that learning to play music with others has to motivate young people to become creative and caring members of society.
Gustavo Dudamel, the charismatic conductor with focused love of young people, has completely changed the environment of classical music not only in Los Angeles but all over the world. Don't miss this positive development in the world. It's a great antidote to network news of today!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ann Droste on December 14, 2013
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After reading Changing Lives, I began to learn about El Sistema here in Cleveland. I discovered three locations and have visited one of them - at the Rainey Institute. My chapter of Delta Omicron, International Music Fraternity, will be supporting this wonderful project with our donations. I have purchased two more copies of the book so that everyone in the chapter can read about El Sistema.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gayel A. Pitchford on June 14, 2013
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This book is a great read and the message it carries is so authentic. I live in a small mountain town and we are doing similar things here, trying to capture "at risk" youth around music. I told a friend about this book--he is a retired Methodist minister--and he said it was the best book he has ever read! Kudos to Tunstall for her fine research and writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By TM1223 on January 14, 2014
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I am retired, and I am also a volunteer violin teacher in an El Sistema like after school program in Chicago's inner city. While the US and not Venezuela, this book was nicely done, and helped me to understand how all this came to be.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Eric Miller on January 10, 2012
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The news of El Sistema has drifted into the U.S. as a kind of dessert buffet--one amazingly sweet report after another. It has sounded too good to be true, and I hear many people respond that it is hyped or must be some new "flavor of the month." Changing Lives offers a full meal of El Sistema, so we can dine healthily on its history, its precepts and processes, its mysteries--it is full of factual protein, and a healthy serving of exotic fruits and substantive veggies. (Enough with the metaphor.) This book is a required reading for those who have some kind of interest in or opinion about El Sistema, so you can actually know what you are talking about. And you never had such a pleasurable required reading assignment--Tunstall writes beautifully, turning every part of the 35 year history into engaging stories full of vivid detail. The marvel of El Sistema seems even more marvelous after reading this beautiful book. And special thanks to the author for including the emergence of El Sistema in the U.S. in this history, giving us hope that the miracle from South America that redirected the lives of hundreds of thousands of at-risk kids can redirect the lives of kids in North America in the same way, and in the same expanding numbers. And this hope is already being realized. This was the most inspiring book I read in 2011. Like me, and thousands of others, you will believe that Jose Antonio Abreu deserves the Nobel Peace Prize, and that Dudamel is every bit as splendid as you thought.
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This is a book that takes you into the lives of some of the world's most passionate and creative musicians, but even more into the lives of the children they have literally saved through music. I was moved to tears many times by the joy of the children performing as much for themselves and each other as for the people for whom they perform. It is a beautiful combination of a well-researched account of El Systema and a moving story of a lifelong love for music by the people of El Systema and by the author, herself.
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It is a well written story about El Sistema from it beguinings in Venezuela to the American developement.
As I am workin this system in México I know the impact it has on youngsters and in their families. The book has helped us to understand El Systema better and try it as it is.Results are astonnishing
Required reading for poéople in the Education field, from ple¿anners and director to front line teachers.
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