[Letters] Overcome the stereotype, El sistema

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[Letters] Overcome the stereotype, El sistema

The magic of music is great. “El sistema” became the symbol of Venezuela.

El sistema is an orchestra team. It started with 11 members, but 300,000 members are joining this team.

By the way, El sistema has one distinctive feature: the orchestra is made up of children from the slums of Venezuela. Of course, there were many difficulties in starting El sistema. One of the main reasons is the fact that many people in Venezuela feel stereotypes towards children in slums.

Simply put, people in Venezuela have such a negative image of children in slums, which leads them to think that the children won’t succeed.

Besides, stereotypes, especially negative ones, are inclined not to change easily. There is a big influence on people who acknowledged and felt stereotypes and prejudice that others give.

And, the result usually will not be changed in any circumstances. Then how El sistema changed people’s mind and led their success of orchestra?

Communication, innocent joy, and belief of the director on his disciples are what enabled the success of El sistema.

Generally, it is easy for people to think that some boys in the team with 5 convictions and poor public estimation would be a big problem to manage the team.

However, Jose Antonio Abreu, believing his members, created many programs that can buildup cooperation among members. For example, paper instrumental orchestra program provides little kids a concept of ‘cooperation’ and then they can understand ‘relationship’ with others.

Kids in the program were given the paper instruments. The kids don’t learn the sounds; however, they learn how to cooperate other parts of orchestra through positioning practice.

As a result, each of members has become well-rounded person.

This change had broken the negative stereotype of ‘slum’, and the whole Venezuela society.

In fact, ‘Robbers cave experiment’ proves above. If boys in experiment were divided into two groups and were given different object, the hostility between two groups increased.

However, if the two groups bring together under peaceful circumstance and communicate with each other, the antagonism was diminished. Common object and communication make perfect harmony.

Earnest dreams come true. Although stereotype cannot be changed easily, it is possible that trouble maker makes amazing success.

Do you have stereotypes towards specific things? If you have, remind yourself that the stereotype always changes because no one knows the stereotype is always right.

Mun Heedong, a student of Kyung Hee University


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