Juvenile delinquents at the Frank A. Colston Youth Center in Ventura, Ca., are waiting in line to learn how to play string instruments, the Los Angeles Times says. The medium-security facility has offered the class since November. Up to 11 youths are enrolled at any time. They are taught by volunteer instructors and use donated instruments to play everything from the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge” to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” the Times says.
The focus on classical music is unusual, said Gary Aston, principal of the county’s Juvenile Court Schools. A few of the 14- to 18-year-old inmates have committed serious felonies, and all have problems with substance abuse, anger management or both. Studies have shown that kids in lockup tend to be right-brain dominant and thus often excel in music, Aston said.