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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.

Yo Yo Ma and Bach Inspire Students

02-10-2019

Sometimes a vignette captures the essence of a core belief in our practice.  Michael DePasquale, the Project/Personnel Manager for Encore! Sistema Québec in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, recently shared a story that celebrates the way that a learner’s seeing just the right performance—a particularly memorable, excellent one—can awaken the artist’s pathway.

The Ambassadors’ Exchange, February 2019

02-01-2019

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Wider reach for the youngest; new fun for the oldest

02-01-2019

Ottawa’s OrKidstra program has innovative programs growing on both ends of the students’ learning journey with them, like bookends.  On the “entry” side is meeting prospective young students in schools.

International Teaching Artist Conference 2020

02-01-2019

For those who read about (or joined virtually with) the hundreds of teaching artist delegates from 26 countries at the ITAC4 (Fourth International Teaching Artist Conference) at Carnegie Hall in New York last September, the dates of ITAC5 have just been announced.  The Orchestra of Dreams, South Korea’s remarkable El Sistema program, will be featured prominently, because ITAC5 will happen in Seoul on 15-17 September 2020, hosted by KACES, the South Korean government’s arts education agency (Korea Arts & Culture Education Service).

2019 Cohort of Global Leaders Program Gathers in Chile

02-01-2019

Thirty-eight members of this year’s Global Leader Program cohort traveled to Chile for two weeks last month to learn, collaborate, build relationships, teach, and put into action their passion for harnessing the power of music to serve community and education.  Each one came away with a deeper commitment to their aspirations and heightened zeal for their work as cultural agents, social entrepreneurs, and teaching artists.

Improvising with Visionary Young People

02-01-2019

I co-founded the Visionary Youth Orchestra (VYO) along with Jessica Jones in New York in 2010. The idea of our project was to provide a workshop/ensemble of young musicians to explore structured free improvisation in a large ensemble setting. The results have been remarkable – this innovative group has garnered great praise in its eight years, and recently had the honor of performing at the Cecil Taylor memorial in NYC.

Collective Composition

02-01-2019

At BRAVO Youth Orchestras, there are ongoing conversations about the impact of introducing collective composition–composing together as a group–often focusing on how it impacts the staff, our students, and our community, and on what it means to facilitate and support a collective musical voice. There’s an active effort to establish equitable practices that reinforce a supportive environment for BRAVO students during creative projects. BRAVO’s central goal is student empowerment to discover what it is they want to say through their music.

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.

Teaching the Future

01-01-2019

The majority of the American music teaching workforce is white. This would not be an issue if it matched U.S. school demographics. However, in city schools where the general population is majority students of color, the music student population is considerably more white. While there are multiple factors contributing to this, it may be best understood as a lack of access to quality music education that provides opportunities for students of color to choose careers in music teaching. The fact that students of color do not see music teachers who look like them is a form of social injustice.

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