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Meeting with musicians

Sunday 14 February 2010, by Veronica Sartore

On sunday 14th february, Yael and Michael Melzer, professors at the Jerusalem Academy of Dance and Music, came to Neve Shalom Wahat al-Salam to meet the children at school. All the pupils, divided into three 45-minute-sessions by age, had the opportunity to participate in a fascinating musical and educational activity.
The couple presented its collection of wind instruments, 13 historical flutes of different ages, shapes and sizes, most of them natural, made entirely of wood. The two musicians played a selection of short musical pieces from the Middle Ages to our age and let the language of music express the joy of being together, as well as the advantages of being on your own: “music gives you the possibility to experience both: when you play together you have to adapt to certain obligations and rules in order to enjoy an harmonic polyphony; when you play alone you feel the freedom of expressing yourself as you wish”, explains Michael Melzer.
But the aim of the professors is not to incline the pupils toward the world of music, or to teach them the distinction between Bach and Beethoven. This time music plays an unexpected and highly important social role, beyond its cultural and aesthetic value: “we want the children to learn to listen, because we believe that the source of violence, especially nowadays, lies precisely in our inability to listen”, says Prof. Melzer. “In hebrew the word ’ilem’ (dumb) and the word ’alimut’ (violence) are semantically connected: if you are ’ilem’, then you become ’alim’. On the contrary, if you are able to listen, you also become able to express yourself, and there is no need for you to become ’alim’”.

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