GenC’s recent newsletter offers an interview with Sebastian Ruth. Ruth is an awardee in the first round of substantial grants from The Lewis Prize for social change through music. His thoughts about using music learning (including in the El Sistema–inspired program that is a part of Community MusicWorks) for true social change are worth exploring. Here is a sample from the interview with Creative Generation:
Sebastian Ruth: The main advice I would have for anyone working on social change ideas is that the core work needs to be within each of us. None of us works in the abstract, and none of our positions are neutral. I think we always need to be investigating our own assumptions, biases, and motivations, to be sure that our work is truly in service of people and their needs.
This is not to say that good work shouldn’t be fulfilling and joyous for those doing the service—in our field of music-making, the best work happens when there is a collective joy and fulfillment. But we should always be conscious of what our work means and whose needs are being met.