Cultural Expression as Creative Youth Development
Creative Youth Development (CYD) is a relatively new term for an idea that has been around for a long time, that there are positive connections between structured music-making and youth development. Palestinian music makers live and learn in a geopolitical location whose very name is fraught with political questions. The land they call “Palestine” is known by others as the “occupied Palestinian Territories,” the “West Bank,” or “Judea and Samaria,” an assumed part of greater Israel. Researchers have found that effective CYD-oriented programs not only provide relief from stressful situations, but also teach real skills and have high expectations that youth participants will attain those skills. The Palestine Youth Orchestra, which challenges youth to learn orchestral repertoire composed with professional musicians in mind, is the Edward Said National School of Music’s most advanced Western ensemble. Building relationships—with music, with people, and with the places where music is made—is described by musicologist Christopher Small as the reason humans make music.