Film 6 - Music of the Heart

Movies that Will Inspire You:
Learning to See the Child Who is Not Yet There

Music of the Heart
If you love music and want to see musical education continued in our schools, you will enjoy this 1999 movie. Starring Meryl Streep as Roberta Guaspari, Music of the Heart tells the story of woman’s attempt to turn around the lives of children with the violin. This is one of a dozen wonderful films that capture the essence of teachers who have been able to see and hold the vision of what a child can be and do. The movies are available on Netflix and other venues. Public libraries often have a good selection of films, or you can rent them or even buy your favorites through

Roberta worked at an inner-city public school in Harlem as a violin teacher. As the story unfolds we see that as a cost saver, the school wants to cancel music. Roberta argues passionately about the benefits of musical education to bring culture and discipline to her children. It is an amazing true story that brings this special violin teacher to public notice, far greater than anything she had hoped or dreamed of doing. She saw the child who was not yet there in each one of her students, and helped them express their abilities and a strong sense of self and personal possibilities.

One of the online reviews I found is from a magnet school teacher, addressing some of what you might be thinking.

I must confess that I approached ‘Music of the Heart’ with a great deal of fear and trepidation. I really had no desire to subject myself to what I envisioned to be a 124-minute barrage of inspirational life messages and feel-good sentimentality. What a pleasant surprise then to discover this to be a genuinely moving and heartwarming true-life tale of an extraordinary teacher, Roberta Guaspari, and her equally extraordinary students….

At no time is Roberta ever portrayed as a saintly figure. In fact, she is a woman filled with all sorts of insecurities and vulnerabilities, exacerbated by the devastating sense of bewilderment and loss caused by the unexpected termination of her marriage and her seeming need to be dependent on a man for comfort, support and a sense of purpose. She is often overbearing, pushy and pigheaded and not just in the classroom where it counts, but also in her personal life where it often alienates her from the ones she loves most. Yet, somehow out of this mass of self-doubts and personal missteps, she finds the inner strength and emotional wherewithal to work miracles.

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