I was a kid and recreational music student at the time of Bernstein's Young People's Concerts. I remember that everyone watched him at tv, and we students in the concert band, orchestra, and chorus were taken from our suburban public school once a year to attend one of the concerts. Of course, our musical training was otherwise conventional. But it worked because it was supported generously and whole-heartedly by the community in which we lived. All levels of the community, not just the elite.
Great music --and ballet, too -- is the heritage of us all, I really believe this; it is not just the preferred entertainment of the wealthy.
Agreed. This is something that seems to have been lost in the past few decades. Forgotten,a actually. When I first saw a video about Dudamel's work in Venezuela, I was mesmerised by the faces of the young students as they played -- in many cases, playing instruments they had scarcely even SEEN a year or two before. Not everyone will be come a professional classical musician, of course. Which makes this sort of public investment counter-intuitive in our current economic climate. ("Jobs" focused, but curiously unable to create good jobs.) But think of all the positive attitudes and behaviors that something like La Sistema fosters: cooperation, the need to practice, a commitment to developing excellence, a love of something beautiful. Not bad things. And VERY useful, I should think, to the larger society as well as to the individual students.