Students at Blackshear Elementary practice plucking. Photo contributed by KLRU-TV

For some Central Texas students, it’s boosted hope. For others, it’s helped shape dreams.

In 2011, the Hispanic Alliance of Performing Arts launched Austin Soundwaves, a free and intensive music education program that offers musical training, one-on-one instruction and mentoring to low-income youth. Inspired by El Sistema, a renowned Venezuelan music education method aimed at strengthening communities, Austin Soundwaves makes studying music accessible.

Now, the program will be the subject of an “Arts in Context” documentary called “Music For All” premiering on Austin PBS station KLRU-TV at 7:30 p.m. July 30. It’ll also air on Aug. 1 at 6 p.m., Aug. 2 at 1 p.m. and Sept. 27 at 1:30 p.m.

The moving documentary highlights the lives of several of the participants as well as Austin Soundwaves Program Director Patrick Slevin who has followed the growth of the students throughout the years. The film also delves deeper into the El Sistema philosophy, which continues to grow around the world.

Students at Blackshear Elementary receive their instruments.
Photo contributed by KLRU-TV

In an Austin 360 story about Austin Soundwaves’ launch, arts reporter Jeanne Claire van Ryzin noted that Latino participation in the arts is lagging, even as the population grows. She pointed to a 2008 study by the National Endowment for the Arts that found that “only 36 percent of the adult Hispanic population attends arts events, compared with 55 percent of the Anglo adult population. For classical music, the numbers are even smaller, the study found: Only 3.8 percent of the adult Hispanic population attended a classical music event, compared with 11.3 percent of the Anglo adult population.”

“For Slevin, Austin Soundwaves is the first step towards providing the world class fine arts education that all students deserve,” says Maury Sullivan, Senior VP for Community Engagement at KLRU-TV.

Watch the “Music For All” trailer here:

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