Vijay (Robert) Gupta
Founder of Street Symphony, TED Senior Fellow and Mental Health Advocate
—The TODAY Show
Vijay (Robert) Gupta has performed internationally as a soloist and chamber musician since the age of eight; after joining the LA Philharmonic, he became the friend and violin instructor of Nathaniel Anthony Ayers—the homeless, mentally ill musician who was the subject of LA Times Columnist Steve Lopez's book The Soloist, and the movie by the same title (starring Jaimie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.). In his talks, Gupta explores music's ability to change our brains, heal ailments, and ultimately, transform lives.
The Medicine of Music
In this talk, Vijay (Robert) Gupta explores the connection between music and mental health, explaining why music's redemptive power may hold more potential than we realize. Gupta draws from his work as director of Street Symphony—a classical music outreach concert series—to illustrate how music can help bring people back from the brink of their darkest times. How does music speak to people in ways language cannot? Why is music education vitally important, especially to those who are most in need? Erudite, eloquent, and passionate, Gupta shows audiences that music isn't just something to be enjoyed—it's something that can change lives.
Why Music Education is Essential
Vijay Gupta believes strongly that music should be a fundamental element in an educational curriculum, beyond an extracurricular hobby or even a medium to facilitate instruction in other fields, such as math or science. In this talk, he shares his personal journey in music education, tying in his experiences as a young musician struggling to find the meaning in music with the lack of programs and support, as well as the stigma he faced at choosing between a career as a “responsible person” in science and a career in his life’s passion, music. That stigma still exists around music and the arts. Gupta believes music educators are true pioneers in the kind of human education that will shape the kind of empathic and compassionate socially connected lives that our world demands of our young people. Music gives us these human tools, says Gupta—the relational discipline grounded in passion that truly can affect change in the world around us.
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