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

A Letter from Myanmar to Our International Community

07-07-2021

I am a pianist from Myanmar. Please let me tell you about the current situation here in my country.

Before February 2021, some of you might not have been familiar with the country called Myanmar. Because of the military coup and the spring revolution, the world now knows where Myanmar is. Since the coup on February 1, the junta has killed 863 people and detained 6,046 people (AAPP Burma, June 14).

The Long-Term Impact of What We Do: A 12-Year Perspective

07-07-2021

Over the years, there have been many memorable and defining moments for me at IHL. The ten-year-old student I chanced upon playing his violin on the street, not busking for money, but playing for the community “to make them feel happy on their way to school”; two young students who took their instruments to church the Sunday after their second viola lesson, to share with their congregation the four notes they had learned; the trip to Canada with our senior students, where we joined with other Sistema organizations for a huge orchestral celebration in our shared language of music; and many more.

Although our program is defined by the powerful togetherness and shared narrative of our orchestral family, I would like to share the stories of two talented and hardworking young artists who had their first taste of music-making through IHL nearly 12 years ago—Simi and Elijah.

Celebrating the Potential of Our Vulnerable Communities at M-LISADA

07-07-2021

Music attracts and connects otherwise unreachable hearts. And for children from the streets, it has the ability to soothe souls, provide comfort, and offer hope for the future. At M-LISADA Organization (Music Life Skills And Destitution Alleviation), a Ugandan registered NGO in the heart of the Katwe slums on the outskirts of Kampala, we serve those children with music education that celebrates their possibilities.

Iberacademy: Human Development Based on Musical Excellence

07-07-2021

More than a decade ago, Colombian orchestra conductor Alejandro Posada founded the Iberoamerican Philharmonic Academy—Iberacademy—in Medellín with one purpose in mind: to provide young Latin American talent with opportunities for human development through musical education of excellence.

“A Place to Share What I Needed”: Finding Our Strengths at My Voice Music

07-06-2021

The idea for My Voice Music started in 2007, when I brought my guitar into a residential mental health facility where I was a Treatment Counselor working with youth. One of the kids asked me to teach him to play guitar and sing a song in time for the talent show. There was only one catch: the show was two weeks away.

Staying Engaged with Guest Artists

07-06-2021

Raised hands, great questions, a new level of ensemble music-making, palpable excitement from our students—we’ve all experienced those unforgettable moments when our students are engaged and eager to do more after interacting with a guest artist or ensemble. A bonus for everyone, these encounters offer students a change of pace—a brief, beautiful moment of inspiration. When they’re over, we usually slip back into our regular routines, and those incredible moments become fleeting memories. But what if we could turn them into something more? What if those moments could have a lasting impact on our students’ ongoing learning?

Share Your Cleverest Program Design to Be Featured at SEYO SummerFest 2021

06-02-2021

The SEYO 2021 SummerFest is happening this July and will feature a World Ensemble Day on July 22. We will explore some of the coolest, cleverest, most unusual and interesting projects or practices of Sistema-inspired programs around the world. Are you particularly proud of something your program does which others likely don’t do? It could be anything—a surprising and effective way that you present music, raise funds, engage students, inspire teachers, or make connections. Who knows what clever ideas are working out there?

Let us know, so we can share your work at this global conference! It doesn’t need to be a big feature—it could be a musical warmup you’ve invented, or something you do at rehearsals, or a way you communicate with parents.

The UKUSA Arts Programme: Four Decades of Transformation in South Africa

06-02-2021

As in many countries the world over, the immediate future of music education in South Africa is uncertain. Funding priorities are moving away from the arts, a universal problem brought into sharp focus by the COVID-19 pandemic. South Africa exemplifies this dilemma. It is a nation of diverse people, cultural practices, and musical traditions, with a rich history of community music-making. But its economic disparities have made formal music education almost inaccessible beyond private education or community arts projects and programs; it needs new approaches to teaching, learning, and sharing that properly acknowledge and utilize this diversity. Fortunately, there are some precedents for such new approaches—prominent among them, the UKUSA Arts Programme, previously housed at the University of Natal (UN).

Mitrovica Rock School: The Art of Listening and Responding

06-02-2021

Mitrovica, a miner’s town in Northern Kosovo, has been called Europe’s most divided city. Since the end of the Kosovo War in 1999, the river that runs through the city has become a de facto border between the minority Serb community in the North and the majority Albanian community in the South.

Looking beyond Music: Empowering Students to Ignite Change at Project 440

06-02-2021

The first note an audience hears at any symphonic concert comes in at 440 Hz—the pitch A. Typically, the oboe plays this first pitch, followed by the rest of the orchestra as the tuning routine begins. Whether performing Bach concerto or Vivaldi suite, they will perform in tune, thanks to that first tuning pitch.

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