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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.

Share Your Time & Talent: Sistema Connect

01-08-2020

Looking for a meaningful New Year’s Resolution that will benefit children and your own musical journey? Sign up to become a Sistema Connect Volunteer and help an emerging El Sistema program, whether through travel or from the comfort of your home. Sistema Connect is a new initiative founded in the U.S.; its mission is to connect people who want to share their skills with programs who need those skills.

Editorial: January 2020

01-07-2020

At the start of every New Year, I look for inspiration, and this week I found it. “It (Still) Takes a Village,” Krystle Ford’s article also in this issue, reports on the work of the Indianapolis Symphony’s Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, which seeks to engage multiple generations of family members in its El Sistema work.

It (Still) Takes a Village

01-07-2020

What does it mean to teach with a village mentality? This is what we do every day at the Metropolitan Youth Orchestra (MYO). Families learning alongside one another is at the core of our program.

Editorial: December 2019

12-03-2019

Right on time, after ten years of start-up and growth, Sistema programs in the U.S. are entering a new phase, in which we are ready to embark on an exploration of the “Q” word: quality—an essential building block of excellence.

Sistema as School: WHIN’s Ways of Being

12-03-2019

As the world has seen El Sistema stretch far beyond the barrios of Venezuela, musicians, educators and citizen artists around the globe have been experimenting with how to use the principles and ideologies of Maestro Abreu in new and exciting ways. In northern Manhattan, that experiment takes the form of the WHIN (Washington Heights & Inwood) Music Community Charter School, an inclusive full-day charter founded on the principles of El Sistema.

Teaching Habits of Mind

12-03-2019

Nearly a decade ago, I helped transform a public elementary school in Alameda, CA into an arts-integrated elementary school, Maya Lin School. Through this, I learned about the Studio Habits of Mind (SHoM), a framework for learning. Developed by a team of researchers and educators at Harvard’s Project Zero, the eight SHoM are: develop craft, engage and persist, envision, express, observe, reflect, stretch and explore, and understand arts worlds.

BLUME Haiti: Building Leaders Using Music Education in Haiti

12-02-2019

BLUME Haiti uses the extraordinary impact of music as a tool to empower musicians throughout Haiti. Responding to urgent needs after the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010, co-founder Janet Anthony, who has taught in the country since 1996, saw the opportunity for an organization that could facilitate getting instruments and supplies to Haiti to help with rebuilding efforts. Thus, with the help of her colleagues and students, BLUME Haiti was born.

We Have Work to Do In How We Describe Our Work

12-02-2019

We are experiencing a new kind of revolution in our time. This revolution is not centered solely in politics, technology, or the increasing globalization of our planet—but rather, it features the voices of the next generation, centered in the discourses of all elements of our collective, global future.

Rotating Student Leadership Roles at Tocando

11-06-2019

Widening participation is one of the goals of Tocando, an El-Sistema inspired program in the U.S/Mexico border city of El Paso, Texas. Students attend the after-school music program Monday through Thursday to receive tutoring, musicianship, and strings instruction. One of Tocando’s distinctive features is the emphasis on developing students’ sense of agency and ownership by giving them rotating job-based assignments. I had the opportunity to observe this process in my role as a researcher for my dissertation study.

Fostering Environmental Stewardship in Sistema Programs

11-02-2019

One of our core tenets in the El Sistema movement is that great music education can be more than training on an instrument—it can create better citizens who contribute positively in all aspects of our world. We teach our students to take care of their instruments, the facilities they use, and their classmates and communities.

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