Sulamot, meaning both a ladder and a musical scale in Hebrew, is an innovative and inspiring music education program. Sulamot – Music for Social Change was initiated in 2010 by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in cooperation with the Faculty for Social Science at Tel Aviv University, where researchers are following and evaluating the social and emotional impact of children’s participation in the program.
Sulamot – Music for Social Change’s mission is to create social change through music by opening the world of music to children from low socioeconomic backgrounds throughout Israeli society. Sulamot’s goal is to enhance children’s cognitive ability, educational achievement and their ability to work collaboratively within a group (orchestra playing and/or singing in a choir). All of this in order to give them a better chance of developing into successful adults and contributing citizens in the community.
Every student participating in the program is given his/her own professional instrument for practicing and playing in concerts.
Over 10,000 children, including 60 blind and visually impaired children, in the third to twelfth grades, have already received free intensive private/group music instruction on a variety of instruments, such as the trumpet, trombone, flute, saxophone, clarinet, percussion instruments, violin, cello, guitar, oud, darbuka and qanon. As well as playing in eighteen wind and string orchestras and staging live performances, the children also take part in an annual gathering and performance at the Tel Aviv Cultural Center, home to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.
These children come from all over the country – Beer Sheva, Mitzpeh Ramon, Arad, Rechovot, Yavneh, Tel Aviv- Jaffa, Pardes Hana , Haifa , Carmiel, Afula , Nazareth and from the Bedouin sector. They receive music lessons from talented musicians who play and perform on stages across the country and inspire each and every child they work with. Sulamot – Music for Social Change teaches that everything is possible and that music is the key to success.
The Social and Emotional Outcome of Participation in the Sulamot – Music for Social Change Program
According to research conducted at Tel Aviv University and the feedback from participating organizations in the Sulamot – Music for Social Change Program, participation in Sulamot increases children’s confidence, sense of belonging and feeling of pride, especially when they receive their own individual musical instrument. They display improved grades in school, more self-esteem and an increased feeling of happiness.
There are even children in the Sulamot – Music for Social Change program who are so talented that they are doing their matriculation exams in music; and a few are considering music for their future profession.
By empowering children with skills that cultivate self-worth, individual development and artistic accomplishment, Sulamot – Music for Social Change helps enable their successful integration into Israeli society.