Early in life, Dalouge Smith discovered the immeasurable value of music arts and adopted the dream of becoming a musician. He realized that playing music in groups can offer children a voice, a sense of self-esteem, and opportunities for collaborative creativity and learning.
However, finding a setting to play music in a group posed a challenge for Dalouge when he moved to California as a child. His local schools did not offer music education, and practicing instruments solo proved a completely different experience from playing in a group. Dalouge realized that if children don’t receive music or arts education in the classroom, they likely will never learn the benefits of collaborative performing arts.
Dalouge joined the San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory as president and CEO in 2005, determined to bring his dream of providing music education and the opportunity to play music in groups to everyone.
In his talk Dalouge describes the social benefits, academic benefits, and even physical benefits that the SDYS aims to implement through their community music program. The SDYS began their programs in elementary schools with particular challenges, and assumed that the school’s administrators would require improved test scores as evidence of the program’s benefits before expanding the scope of the music programs.
However, the transformations that took place in those initial schools as a result of these music programs had such profound effects on the students, and the entire community, that Dalouge’s dream quickly spread. Dalouge Smith and the San Diego Youth Symphony hope to make those schools a model for schools everywhere, and make music and arts education available to all children.