News and Resources
The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.
News & Resources
Applications are now open for the YOLA National Festival. The 2020 Festival will feature a Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra, which now expands to woodwind, brass, and percussion musicians age 12-14. Application deadline is February 3, 2020. Click here for more information on audition requirements.
This month marks the launch of the first El Sistema program in the country specifically dedicated to young people impacted by the immigration crisis at the southern border. The pilot program, in the border town of Tornillo, Texas, will be administered by Tocando, the El Paso Symphony Orchestra’s El Sistema -inspired program, and the Tornillo public school district. Children living with the acute stresses of displacement and immigration will participate in immersive music learning both during and after school. The pilot is funded by NAMM, the Leonard Bernstein Foundation, and private donations—including one from El Sistema Greece in solidarity for serving immigrant children worldwide. The U.S. El Sistema community can support this initiative by offering supplies, visits from experienced teaching artists, or by making contributions. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are inspired by the lead article in this issue of The Ensemble and are interested in starting an El Sistema-inspired school, the Walton Family Foundation: Innovative Schools Program grant can help. They support educators who open all types of K-12 schools, particularly schools that look and feel truly different, achieve unprecedented outcomes, serve high-need students, and embrace successes and challenges to share with other schools.
Creative Youth Development (CYD) is a theory of practice integrating creative skill-building, inquiry and expression with positive youth development principles. These principles can fuel young people’s imaginations and assist in building critical learning and life skills.
El Sistema USA recently announced the launch of the El Sistema USA Working Groups. These groups provide both a virtual and in-person space for leaders to come together to discuss and share best practices and challenges they face.
English Language Learner (ELL) students are the fastest-growing student population in the United States—by 2025, an estimated 25% of public school students will be emergent multilingual learners, according to the National Education Association (NEA). Check out some free resources to support ELLs in your program.
For many years, El Sistema in Venezuela has placed an emphasis on studying, teaching, and playing the rich folk musics of the country. Now a new article in Smithsonian Magazine highlights those folk traditions and describes the importance of preserving them. The article, “Venezuelan Music: A Light in the Darkness,” is by Patricia Abdelnour, who was Deputy Director of Internal Relations for Venezuela’s Fundacion Musical Simon Bolivar, and more recently, Executive Director for Acción Social por la Música, an El Sistema program in Spain.
Sean Elligers, Teaching Artist, Berkshire Children and Families’ Kids 4 Harmony (K4H)
How to teach children music theory, composition, and technology? Many El Sistema programs are exploring this important question. At our Sistema-inspired program in Pittsfield and North Adams, MA, students study music theory fundamentals and regularly compose music that is performed by their classmates.
El Sistema is excited to announce the appointment of Maestro David Ascanio as the new Director of the Simón Bolívar Conservatory of Music.