Thoughts on Learning

All the posse

Here we are in Week Four! The learning has been fast and furious.  I hope to take in much of what we’ve talked about during our plane ride to (surprise!) Baltimore on Tuesday. Tomorrow we will depart for a week-long visit of the Baltimore Symphony’s ORCHKids El Sistema site at an elementary school in downtown Baltimore, MD.



Roberto Zambrano, of El Sistema Venezuela, shared a presentation week with Dan Trahy, of the Baltimore Symphony. The two together shared the intricacies of building an El Sistema nucleo (model/organization) in the United States.

Yo-Yo Ma shares thoughts on learning

A highlight of our time together was a visit last week by Yo-Yo Ma. A Boston resident, Yo-Yo dropped by to share with the group his thoughts on learning, and the strength of possibility for El Sistema nucleos in this country. You can see from the white-sheet his explanation of learning models – the down arrow is much of what we’ve been experiencing these last few weeks: lots and lots of information poured into us! The up arrow is the learning I expect we will revel in next week, figuring things out for ourselves as we build our experiences from the ground up. The circle represents the connection between the two (learning by taking information in, and by figuring things out on your own), in constant motion. The forward shooting arrow is of course the trajectory on our goals, both for this year and for life. (I really like the idea of soaring through life as a shooting arrow!) The spiral surrounding the arrow is the perfect circle of learning, in constant rotation as we achieve our goals.

With Gretchen Neilson, LA Phil


This last week, I loved our time with Gretchen Nielsen. She is Director of Educational Initiatives for the LA Phil, and someone I have admired since coming into this field! She is working hard in LA to support an El Sistema nucleo at the EXPO Center, a program which serves as an inspiring model for founding El Sistema nucleos in this country. With inspiration from El Sistema member and Music Director of the LA Phil Gustavo Dudamel, Youth Orchestra LA (YOLA) is enjoying a blossoming El Sistema program. She helped our group work through Logic Models of our dream programs, and helped me think through some ideas for a strong framework for KidZNotes. Among these ideas is a strong partnership with the East Durham Children’s Initiative, an exciting social and educational growth project taking shape in Durham, NC, where KidZNotes will take root.

I can’t wait to be among kids again this week, being back in college doesn’t afford many opportunities for family contact. We’ll have lots of stories to tell!



3 Responses to “Thoughts on Learning”

  1. Annemieke Milks Says:

    This is a brilliant post. I especially liked the part on learning. I feel that way back in school now-too much down arrow and not enough up! We all need to find that perfect balance of combining the two methods and I think this illustrates that wonderfully. Good luck!

  2. Banu Says:

    What a fascinating process! I can’t wait to see how you’ll apply it to Durham – and to sit together and talk about all you’re learning.


  3. Mom Says:

    I am so excited for you. The models for learing are exciting and innovative. You have always been a “sponge” for learing , so I know that you are having a blast! Luv U

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