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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Sharing Through the Internet

Today two ideas have come together and been dividing my attention. They are: today is the 40 anniversary of the "creation" of the Internet; and, musical delights they are having in Toronto this week, focused around the presentation of the Glenn Gould Prize to Jose Antonio Abreu.

The moment of the creation of the Internet was the successful Login on between two computers from UCLA to Stanford Research Institute.,lo-it-began-internet-founder-recalls-first-message--feature.html

Leonard Kleinrock has spend a career at UCLA. He was there at the beginning It was his theory of packets that was used to transmit information over the Internet.

It was called the ARPANET but it was the beginning of a series of developments which developed what came to be know as the INTERNET.

What a wonderful thing it has become as a resource for a wide range of activities from the frivilous to the profound. For me, it has come to be a source of pleasure to write a small personal blog which allows me to share ideas and friendship with a small circle of friends who have come to mean more to me that I would have predicted before I came to know them through cyberspace. It has also become a seemingly bottomless source of imformation on ideas I find interesting intellectually stimulating. I just love researching any and all ideas that come to my attention or just pop into my head. I no longer have to laboriously spend hours going through books in a library or or read a series of Encyclopedia articles following connections mentioned in each. It also has largely replace for me letter writing and even allows me to chat frequently to special people as if they were in the room. For others, I am sure it has other important aspects: online banking, seeking medical information, looking for government forms to fill out, play games, watch movies, download music connect telephones, sell and purcxhase items or even enjoy erotic stimulation. It certainly has become a wonderful part of my life and the lives of countless and growning numbers of people around the World.

I have also been thinking how fast the Internet has become so important. My son was born the year of the creation of the Internet. The personal computer and the Internet was not really available to me until after I graduated from University and worked several years. I was reluctant to embrace it and only did so because I had an old one given to me. It now is almost a necessity. It certainly makes living in a remote place a lot less isolated.

The radio for me is my first line of information as to what is going on in the World while the Internet is where I find in depth information about some of what I learn.

This week I learned that Jose Antonio Abreu was being awarded the Glenn Gould Prize of $50,000 in Toronto. Well who is he? I was first tweeked to find out when I learned he was from Venezuela. I have been following the politics of Venezuela and emailing with a Venezuelan friend for several years. He is the founder of a wonderful music program in Venezuela , Le Sistema (the system).

Hundreds of thousand of young people in Venezuela are involved in orchestras learning to play music. Classical music as well as popular music is no longer the prerogative of the well educated elite in that country. It belongs to young people and their families all across the country. You have to understand that Venezuela is a country where 80% of the people are poor, and half of them are in abject poverty. So while 20% live in relative luxury comparable to the upper middle class and the wealthy in North America the vast majority struggle living in the countryside or increasingly live in the barrios (slums) around the cities. (My friend in Venezuela told me that she and her friends never go into the barrios. It reminded me of white people who used to tell me they never went into the black community in the US) Many of the children involved in the music program founded by Dr Abreu are from the barrios.

The following is a wonderful statement by Dr. Abreu after he was awarded the TED award. I urge you to listen to it all if you are at all interested in the education of children and social transformation through musical education. What he has done around music could be done around literature, art or even science. It reminds one of what opportunities we may have lost in North American with the decades of cutting back on music and art education in the schools.

The TED prize is $100,000 plus one wish. At the end of this video the last remarks were Dr Abreu's wish. Briefly, it was a wish that his music program in Venezuela could be spread to other countries. It seems his wish is being granted. There is an effort underway to establish El Sistema in the US I suspect this week in Toronto there will be an effort to establish El Sistema in Canada.

There are a number of activities this week honouring Dr Abreu. On Thursday, the greatest event will be at the Rogers Centre when the Venezuelan Bolivar Youth Orchestra will perform for 14,000 school children. The musicians and the students will then have an opportunity to meet and interact.

The orchestra will be lead my the "greatest young conductor" Gustavo Dadamel who is now with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. He is a product of Le Sistema in Venezuela. He is an exciting conductor and an inspiration to young and old alike.

Watch this video as a taste of the exciting performance he and the youth orchestra put on. This is a performance at the 2007 PROMS Festival in Britain, a classical music festivals that has been a part of the music scene in Britain since 1895.

I hope you found this as exciting as I did. I might even become a music fan. The Internet makes it possible for me to find out about these two men and the Le Sistema program in Venezuela and to share it, and my excitment, with you.

The Internet has made profound differences in our lives in just a short time.


At 8:13 a.m., Blogger Peggy said...

I found both topics very interesting. Your posts always leave me going away with new information. I am researching Alexander the Great at the moment and am very happy for the internet!

At 8:55 a.m., Blogger Sissy said...

I always look forward to each of your posts with interest. They just don't come as often as I'd wish.
I think I know who Gustavo Dadamel is - isn't he the young enthusiastic orchestra leader? Ha, wild hair?

An email follows for a bit of private teaching from you hopefully - an answer I've searched for quite awhile.

At 9:04 a.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

I don't think I got on the internet until around the mid-nineties with a 14.4 baud modem, and I think of myself as being on it fairly early. It seemed to be just taking off around that point.

My wife took piano lessons from Glen Gould's mother, and we still have a practice piano of his in the family. Sadly, it is at evil-sister's house.

At 4:37 p.m., Blogger possum said...

Ah, yes, the magic of the internet! It is where I "found" you!
My Sunday Musings go out of my computer at 8 AM every Sunday morning - and they have for 11 years... haven't missed many Sundays - and in seconds the same letter can be read in Cairo, Tokyo, Istanbul, Ontario, Akiak, Alaska, and Florida, among various places.
Having family around the world is not so bad when we can have instant communication. We can even see each other with only a second's lag in time. Sometimes I watch the snow pile up in Ontario or at our place in the Poconos while it is 75F degrees here.
And then the studies!
It is all amazing until there is a problem and I have to try to discuss it with somebody in India who wants to call me "dude."

At 5:11 p.m., Blogger Loretta said...

I love the internet. I've only been on line 4 years but I don't think I could do without it now. Everything from Genealogy research to Facebook holds my interest. My kids buged me to get a puter for years but I was sure I wouldn't like Silly me!

At 1:50 p.m., Blogger Barry said...

Thank you for a very informative post, I enjoyed reading oth about the history of the Internet (long may it reign) and about Jose Antonio Abreu. Let's hope some thing positive for the children of Ontario comes out of his visit to Toronto.

At 5:51 p.m., Blogger Ginnie said...

Yes, I love the use of the computer which is a real surprise to me !
Also, I am fascinated with the musical project in Venezuela. Thanks for all the info on this.
(I just returned from a short vacation and read your other blog entries too. I am a big fan of John Irvings and appreciate your book review.)

At 6:10 a.m., Blogger Tom said...

I read this last night before bed Philip.. and it was on my mind as I slept... I'm sure that projects like this using the arts would help to improve and inspire lives anywhere and everywhere. Opening peoples eyes is sometimes all it takes... in this case it is opening peoples ears.

I liked and read your bit about the internet... I find that I am nipping over to google all the time... I noticed my youngest son Sam on Saturday, he was staring at Google's home page.... I knew he was thinking of something or anything to find out about.. when he did start typing it was to look at tools for work... ha! But it could just as well have been anything.
Great posting Philip

At 10:31 p.m., Blogger Climenheise said...

Thanks to my sister's blog, I see yours too. I remember my first computer -- 1987 when we had decided we couldn't afford one, although the department of graduate studies I was in insisted we would have to have one to finish the scholarly paper (60 pages, rewritten at least six times).

I have also enjoyed the Proms many times. Not in person, but youtube makes many things possible. I grew up as a convinced Anglophile, with "Jerusalem" in my blood!

Thanks for your thoughts, Philip.

At 4:01 p.m., Blogger Gretchen said...

I remember life before the internet and it was a dark and scary time. We actually had to go to a library and shudder ... look up information in books! :)

I can't imagine ever going back to not having it. I have learned so much and met so many wonderful people on here.


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