Community Building

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

From the Editor, January 2019

01-01-2019

In the time-honored tradition of pausing on the cusp of a new year to look both forward and back, I’ve been reflecting this week on two questions. How has our Sistema-inspired movement made progress, and what areas are most in need of improvement? Here are my thoughts.

The One American in SEYO

11-01-2018

Last August, I had the good fortune to be the only U.S. musician in the Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra. SEYO generously offered me that opportunity because I was born in Birmingham, England – the site of the “SEYO 18” Festival – and was back visiting the city after living in the States for 14 years.

Ghetto Classics Updates

07-31-2018

Ghetto Classics Tree Planting: Taking advantage of the April rains in Nairobi, the Ghetto Classics students in Korogocho made the decision to improve their surroundings by planting trees.

A New Sistema-Inspired Program in the Pacific Islands

05-29-2018

Ensemble Nambanga, a new El Sistema-inspired ensemble of young string students, is taking shape in Port Vila, the capital city of the Pacific island nation Vanuatu.  The name Nambanga refers to the banyan tree. Banyans are deep-rooted, strong trees that grow to enormous proportions and have deep spiritual meaning for the Vanuatu people.

From the Editor

02-01-2018

Every gathering of music educators gets amped up when, at long last, the kids play. The ESUSA symposium last weekend was no exception. After two days of talks and workshops, we gathered in a concert hall to hear actual students – from Durham’s Kidznotes, Baltimore’s OrchKids, and Chicago’s CHIMOP – actually make music.

Aligning for Impact

11-01-2017

There are rooms in which arts education programs fight for airspace. In state assembly rooms, legislators apportion tax revenue to parklands, regulatory agencies, and (if we’re lucky) arts councils. In school principals’ offices, budget committees decide what is core and extracurricular, compulsory and optional. And in kitchens or living rooms, family decision-makers make similar hard decisions for their children.

Being a Servant and an Artist

08-01-2017

The National Take a Stand Festival has ended, and 101 students are returning home to over 25 states, each with an intimate and personal experience. Here is the experience of just one of those 101.

Meet, and Join, Sistema Connect

06-01-2017

If you work in an El Sistema-inspired program, chances are high that you experience some sort of struggle on a daily basis, whether it’s a grant deadline, finding quality teachers, or fixing a broken instrument moments before a concert begins. Without diminishing the weight of these struggles, we should be aware that there are emerging Sistema programs across the globe with greater challenges than anything we might face in our own backyard. These are programs with no instruments; no access to quality teachers for hundreds of miles, except for the founder who volunteers his or her time; and, for some programs, the psychological impact of war and famine, or refugee camps filled with children who have never felt a sense of belonging.

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