The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.

Editorial

The Importance of Contextualized and Conflict-Sensitive Sistema Programs

Graciela Briceno, Foreign Service Education Officer, U.S. Agency for International Development; Founder, Boston Music Project

As I listened to the episode, I had a sudden crisis of conscience: had I done the same thing in starting a Sistema-inspired classical music program within a Boston public school? Given the principal’s enthusiasm, and the fact that at the time there was no music or visual arts programming, I eagerly launched the program without questioning what was best for the community. Was the money we were raising for the orchestra program being put to its best use at this school?

EDITORIAL

For Young Music Organizations, Community Work Matters More

Laura Patterson, Executive Director, Make Music NOLA

The first concert that Make Music NOLA ever played was the opening of a community garden. Back then, the organization was still named the Youth Orchestra of the Lower 9th Ward—a group of young musicians with less than a year on their instruments, putting on an unpolished performance of “Saints Go Marching In” for the community. The experience was critical for these students; performing alongside Irma Thomas, the Soul Queen of New Orleans, they felt a lasting current of community support and encouragement. Most of those students continued to play their instruments for years, and many went on to learn a brass instrument and join the marching band at Martin Luther King Elementary.

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