Europe

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

Teaching Artistry as a Balance for Cultural Education Mentalities

09-02-2020

While living in Sweden over the past year, I observed that the education system excels at nurturing student autonomy. Sweden is a small country with only a handful of classical percussionists (or any instrument) at each university. Many professors teach part-time and are seldom on campus, particularly at my host institution, Örebro University. In response, students often initiate repertoire selections, schedule ensemble rehearsals, and coach themselves. Without the constant direction of teachers, they must formulate musical interpretations and direct personal growth.

Brazil to the Silk Road, Handmade Drums to Pro Tools: How two youth music organizations in the UK are maintaining engagement and exploring new territory

09-02-2020

With the continuation of lockdown halting all live music activity, orchestras and ensembles are becoming more and more accustomed to this new ‘Zoom’ reality. In this article, I mention two recent online musical events I’ve been involved with, specifically the National Orchestra For All’s (NOFA) Online Summer Course and Jubacana’s Summer School. I also contribute my own observations about each occasion given that both events were the first of their kind for the respective organizations.

Mentorship and Peer Collaboration at MusikSak

08-05-2020

MusikSak is a socially motivated string orchestra program based in Aarhus, Denmark. Both cellists, we founded the program in early 2015 after visiting El Sistema in Venezuela in 2013 and volunteering in two different programs (Oficina dos Sonhos and Atitude Cooperação) in Natal, Brazil in 2014.

Superar Celebrates Ten Years of International Music-Making

07-01-2020

What can we do to exert a positive impact on society?

That was the question asked in 2009 by our three founding organizations in Vienna—the Vienna Boys Choir, the Vienna Konzerthaus, and Caritas of the Archdiocese of Vienna. The response was to envision a place where music would be the joining element, the core engine to reach equal opportunity, and the key to reenergizing what is most essential in society: justice, personal realization, and solidarity.

“No Matter What, We’re Going to Do a Camp”: Side by Side Goes Digital

06-01-2020

When El Sistema Sweden and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra (GSO) began accepting applications for the annual Side by Side by El Sistema international youth music and choir camp, taking place from June 13–16 this year, the coronavirus pandemic had yet to stop the world in its tracks. Applications poured in that first day—roughly 1,000 of them, despite the website shutting down for a few hours due to server issues. That number doubled shortly thereafter as applications continued to pour in from across the world.

Transatlantic Professional Development Dialogues

05-05-2020

Have you ever been in collegial dialogue with colleagues in Europe? Join two hour-long discussions with El Sistema Sweden and Sistema Europe members in May. The first discussion is on Wednesday, May 6, 17:00 CEST/1:00pm EDT, focusing on Non-Digital Teaching Tools. What activities can we organize to warm up, to create energy, and to manage larger groups? The second discussion is on Wednesday May 20, 17:00 CEST/1:00pm EDT. The topic: Developing Groups and Repertoire. How can we best advance learning in groups, and what repertoire fits best? The discussions will be recorded and later made available on FB/IG. Register by email; you will receive a Zoom link.

The Power of the Arrangement

05-04-2020

I write as ‘Arranger-in-Residence’ for Orchestras for All—a U.K. music education charity that strives to remove the barriers that young people face in ensemble music-making by providing inclusive and accessible orchestral experiences in and out of school. We have three national programs; a 100-piece orchestra (National Orchestra for All, NOFA), a 30–40 school kick-start ensemble program (Modulo), and a professional development program in Ensemble Leadership (Conductors for Change).

Early Years Music in Sistema Scotland

04-02-2020

Winnicott’s famous quote captures the importance of relationship to every individual. He expands to describe the dependency of children on their caregivers not only for basic needs, but also for emotional “holding.”

Rediscovering Our Passion and Purpose during the Coronavirus Pandemic

04-02-2020

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  One of the best known, most philosophical yet universally accessible passages of the Bible (Ecclesiastes, 3:1) sets a consoling frame. Yet who knows for how many seasons the COVID-19 turmoil will last as an unprecedented challenge? So many questions: Why now? Why was it not possible to avoid, or at least predict, and prepare? Why so many different approaches to one identified enemy? Did any of us expect to see such a catastrophic phenomenon over our lifetimes?

Takeaways from El Sistema Academy 2020: The Importance of Reflexivity, Fun, and the Dominant Seventh Chord

03-04-2020

Every year, El Sistema Sweden organizes a three-day symposium, inviting great teachers from Sweden and elsewhere to share their experience and knowledge with an attendee group of music educators who work for social change. I had the joy of attending this year, and I’m still feeling excited about all the things I learned.

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