2 months 3 weeks ago
It’s amazing how life has a way of sometimes presenting you with precisely what you need when you need it most. As many of you know, I was one of thirty Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship recipients of the class of 2017. The fellowship broadened my scope to the real magnitude of my ability to enact change through my music making and my platform. As a result, I've worked through my organization, The Mouthpieces for All Initiative to donate musical tools to those most in need both nationally and internationally. What I've done although impactful to some is merely a small part of my responsibility as a musical citizen of this world. Hyperbole? No, reality. Part of speaking a borderless language, music, is the responsibility to speak it loudly to help those in their time of need. Today, while at the 2018 P.D Soros conference and welcome ceremony to the newest inductees, I was again reminded of the potential held by those who aren't afraid of failure and most importantly, those who fight to improve the status quo. In the room were, forgive my self-imposed relevance, some of the brightest and most progressive minds of our generation. Amongst the 60 fellows in the space where theoretical-physicists from Princeton, Lawyers from Yale, Astrophysicists from MIT, Biomedical scientists from Stanford and the list goes on and on much in the same vein. There were also two musicians, me and a good colleague, and a recent graduate from Juilliard; both 2017 fellows.
I couldn't help to notice that to my colleagues, their educational institutions were merely the impetus to their ambition, wheres to my musical colleagues, it is frequently the definition of their potential. Those that are privileged to attend prestigious institutions such as Curtis, Juilliard, Yale, Rice, and their counterparts get indoctrinated into a particular group, and those that don't have to earn their way in through acquired accolades. What group is this? Here lies the question, and the reality is that I am incapable of presenting an adequate answer. Our musical institutions have arguably perfected the craft of graduating "musician," but in the process, have also gradually inched its way farther and farther from creating caring global citizens. Why must we be background music to an actively changing world? Yes, the system is partly to blame with many music teachers having little more to offer than the very students they are teaching. To those teachers that spew nothing but questionable musical rhetoric to your students, or even to the quality educators, teach your students to reach their potential beyond playing a high note, a fast scale, or even a beautiful slur. To the students, don't wait to do something worthwhile, your potential far surpasses the walls of a practice-room or the mezzanine of a grand concert hall. Use your music to generate interest in who you are so that you can discourse your social messages. In today's world, just being a great player IS NOT ENOUGH!
5 months 3 weeks ago
The Mouthpieces for All Initiative is incredibly proud to have donated 7 mouthpieces and a flute to 'Ghetto Classics,' an El Sistema program which services several Kenyan slums. My wife, Nicole Guimaraes spent two weeks in July of 2018 working and learning alongside the wonderful instructors and administrative staff of Ghetto Classics. We, at TMPFAI, are both thrilled and hopeful that these musical donations will assist in the experiences and future opportunities of the recipients.
If you, or someone you know would like to make a donation towards our mission, please visit https://josephguimaraes.com/mpfai/
or message us directly through this page.
1 year 2 months ago
Had a good time this evening giving some of the New Haven low brass guys a masterclass on fundamentals with Gram Lee. Always fun hearing how my colleagues teach similar concepts in a way that is completely unique to their musical upbringing. Taught some and learned lots!!!
Photo credit: Eliud D Garcia ;)