Making Music for Social Change
Based on the idea that perhaps children at-risk don't need therapy in the traditional sense, but rather a corrective, super-positive experience, TAU's Sulamot ("Scales") Program - Music for Social Change is demonstrating successfully that music is a valuable tool for improving the emotional happiness of children at-risk.
Sulamot is a joint program of TAU's Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra KeyNote program and TAU's Bob Shapell School of Social Work and it is funded by Keren Hayesod, Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation, the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic, the Swiss Friends of TAU and private donors among others. Sulamot is directed by TAU faculty member Sarah Elbaz.
Anette Bollag-Rothschild, Chairperson of the steering committee and the President of the Swiss Friends of TAU, says, “We will all benefit from a program preventing antisocial behavior that provides meaningful leisure time and after-school activity. With Sulamot we have exactly what we need to enable underprivileged children to undergo real change through music and to offer them a door into society."
Modeled on El Sistema in Venezuela, the program, now in its second year, set up wind and string orchestras for children and youth. The program was launched last year at three outlying areas in Israel: Neve Michael in Pardes Hanna, Migdal Ohr in Migdal Ha’Emek and at the Kadima Youth Home in Yavneh. Following the success of the first year, the program has been extended this year to include children in Beersheba, Ethiopian children in Rehovot and children in south Tel Aviv. Many of the teachers are students of TAU's special masters program for strings and winds at the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, sponsored by the Swiss friends of TAU.
Prof. Tomer Lev, a member of the steering committee from the Buchmann-Mehta School of Music, stresses the significance of these programs for the students who teach the children – both as an important experience in teaching and also as a model for social change through music.
Prof. Tammie Ronen, Head of the Renata Adler Memorial Research Center for Child Welfare and Protection at TAU's Bob Shapell School of Social Work and Dean of Social Sciences, says that studies the Center has conducted on Sulamot since its inception show that the program has brought about significant change in the children's happiness and ability to express emotion. Her study also indicates that the program also brought the level of subjective wellbeing of the children-at-risk to that of regular children.