Everybody is talking about the 'Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela' and their recent appearance at the Proms.
It wasn't only their playing that grabbed the headlines but the joy they displayed whilst performing.
You can read all about it in this article by Paul Gent.
The article also looks at Venezuela's music education system, 'El Sistema', which shows what can be achieved with some financial input and a large amount of foresight.
We have first hand experience of working with the 'Symphony Orchestra Gran Mariscal De Ayacucho' in Caracas.
Some years ago the Hill/Wiltschinsky Guitar Duo performed Castelnuovo-Tedesco's 'Concerto for Two Guitars' with them.
It was an incredible experience.
Prior to the concert all the orchestra were outside, sitting in the shade of the trees, with their instruments, practising.
The venue was full, with many families and young children, all excited at the prospect of the evening.
That in itself is encouraging.
The most interesting point though is that AFTER the concert, the same musicians were back outside, practising the parts they felt should have been better.
I've never seen that anywhere else.
They all wanted to talk to the duo about their playing and the piece in general, and there was a huge amount of respect from all the members of the orchestra, and the audience.
As El Sistema was established in 1975 I assume that many of the orchestral players had gone through the system.
It seems that the approach taken in Venezuela is one from which we can all learn
One of their goals is to, "create citizens with all the values they need to exist in society - responsibility, teamwork, respect, cooperation and work ethic."
Seems to me that these are all qualities we need to promote here in the UK.
'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman