The cute factor is unrelenting in the short 20 minute documentary titled Music Lessons by filmmaker Michael Mabbott.
Through Mabbot’s camera lens the viewing audience signs up for after-school music classes with some incredibly dedicated students and staff. Toronto’s at-risk youth are most-likely often considered the neighborhood throwaways outside of the halls of Yorkwoods Public School. Not in this music program that involves 10-hours of instruction per week. These very young musicians are pint-sized violists and cellists who measure up quite nicely to the instruments comparable in height.
With the cello, “It hurts your back,” says one young performer. Mabbot asks, “So you don't like the cello?” She responds: “Well I do when you sit down.”
More testimonials constitute the tiny treasures in this 20-minute film.
"With people you feel like you're not alone. You're a team.”
"Makes me feel me… like my real self… something of me that I never discovered yet."
“It makes me feel like I’m happy, and I’m on a beach.”
And, when they explain the basics of counting and why four beats in one bar instead of eight, there’s the obvious reason: With eight beats, “It’s not fair.”
Ten year-old Tamika easily plays Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” during her interview. In response to how the violin makes her feel she says, "Free… (Free from) my surroundings. It just helps me block out all my misery."
As reflected in their perfect posture that outshines their multicolored concert uniforms composed of t-shirts and slacks there is more than their musical ability that delivers a command performance. Before they even make a sound, these young artists transform their audience into the world music allows them to create: “A peaceful place.”
Music Lessons makes its world premiere at Hot Docs Film Festival at the Isabel Bader Theatre on Tue, Apr 28 at 6:30 PM.
Click here for tickets.