Community Building

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

The Global Leaders Plant a Musical Seed in Tlaxcala, Mexico

10-02-2019

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EDITORIAL: The Transformative Power of Big

09-02-2019

I have been lucky enough to attend the last three gatherings of the global Sistema’s biggest events—Side by Side by El Sistema Sweden, Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra, and the YOLA National Festival.  There is no getting around it—these are gigantically complex efforts to design and manage, and they are expensive.

Principles of Scale for Growing a Sistema System

09-01-2019

In the early days of the U.S. El Sistema movement, Maestro Abreu regularly spoke at national conferences. Often during these events, he would state, “El Sistema is not a system.” Yet we all marvelled at the interconnected structure of neighborhood núcleos, regional seminarios, state youth orchestras, and the multiple levels of youth orchestras based at Caracas’s national conservatory.

An American in Gothenburg

08-01-2019

Often, when we think about the word ‘culture,’ we think about the qualities of a communityits shared music, food, or religion. However, the word is derived from the Latin word ‘colere,’ which means to tend or cultivate; so when we take a more active perspective, we can define culture as ‘the medium for growth.’

FROM THE EDITOR August 2019

08-01-2019

Dr. Bettina Love, the author and cultural philosopher whose riveting keynote speech kicked off last week’s YOLA National Symposium in Los Angeles, teaches her education students at the University of Georgia a course called “Black and Brown Excellence.”

Illuminating True Progress for All Students

06-01-2019

As a Sistema movement, the two main goals we aspire to are musical growth and social growth. We often use some iteration of the motto “social change through music.” However, it is often hard to show data that supports this. El Sistema-inspired programs tend to more easily keep track of information pertaining to musical growth. They accomplish this through playing tests, juries, and concerts.

The Symposium: A Reflection

03-01-2019

When I landed in Detroit, Michigan on January 29th for the El Sistema USA Symposium, warnings about the extreme winter temperatures were all over the radio, but I needed to find out on my own. So I took a short walk in my Atlanta “winter clothes”: sneakers, a small coat, no gloves. At that moment, I realized that the next time I went outside in Detroit would be to catch the plane back to Atlanta!

The Greater Sistema Vision

01-01-2019

In 2015, the Mass Cultural Council created the SerHacer program, a granting opportunity focused on intensive, ensemble-based music programs that use music as a vehicle for youth development and social change. Inspired by the work of El Sistema, the program supports a wide variety of in-school and community organizations, to expand access to social and artistic music-making opportunities.

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.

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