The Playground

The Simply Music blog

Watching Music Change the World

Found in: Miscellany & Merriment, Music & Memory

You probably don’t need any convincing that music is a powerful force for good. These inspiring documentaries demonstrate how much and in how many ways across the globe extraordinary people are using music to make a positive change in the world.

Alive Inside

If you’re involved with Simply Music, you’ll probably know about the wonderful Music and Memory program, awakening dementia patients and others through music’s remarkable ability to renew the memory. Founder Dan Cohen’s tireless work and some truly uplifting success stories are beautifully chronicled in this award-winning film.


Crescendo – the Power of Music

You might not think of Venezuela as the source of a pioneering orchestral music program, but you’d be wrong! Since 1976 El Sistema has produced world-class musicians and brought transformation to the lives of millions of children dealing with disadvantage in that country, and more recently across the world. This acclaimed documentary follows the tribulations and triumphs of three children participating in El Sistema programs in the USA.


Landfill Harmonic

Another Latin American country, Paraguay, is the location for this remarkable film. Centred around a huge rubbish dump, the struggling town of Cateura has regained its pride by forming an orchestra of instruments made entirely from garbage. The film follows the builders of these instruments, the dedicated teachers and the inspiring children who eventually take their brave endeavour to some of the world’s most famous stages.


Autism, the Musical

This Emmy-award-winning film follows the journey of five autistic Los Angeles children and drama teacher Elaine Hall as they prepare for a musical production. This unlikely project becomes a breakthrough for the kids and their parents, showing what can be living under the surface of those who struggle to communicate.

If we’ve missed your favourite or this piece has inspired you to find others just like it, be sure to let us know in the comments below!