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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.

Supporting the Young Artist’s Initiative

12-01-2018

This fall marks the second year of an exciting new talent development program at Play On Philly! Our Emerging Artist Collective (PEAC) is a cohort of nearly twenty students who have demonstrated the utmost dedication and whose families have demonstrated the devotion needed for success. Unlike all other Play On Philly students, those in PEAC receive private lessons and advocacy as they navigate Philadelphia’s musical landscape. As director of this program, I work to show them that a life playing music and immersed in music is a true possibility for them.

What It Really Takes

12-01-2018

Tuned In is a music program based in Baltimore City that provides free, top-notch musical training for young musicians. As a Tuned In graduate, I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of people from a lot of non-profit art programs. Most of all, I really enjoy meeting people who are in the beginning stages of launching their own program.

From the Editor

12-01-2018

I’ve been thinking lately about the problematic nature of the relationship between Sistema and pop music. I don’t mean the genre issue. I am a fan of many current pop artists and much pop music. And I think it’s absolutely essential that Sistema programs embrace ensemble arrangements of the pop music that is meaningful to our kids. So this is not about “classical” versus “pop.” Rather, it’s about the collaborative ethos at the heart of Sistema versus the cult of individual celebrity that dominates pop culture.

Introducing the L.A. Orchestra Fellowship

11-16-2018

A model to adopt?  This was the first year of the L.A. Orchestra Fellowship, a two-year intensive for musicians who play violin, viola and cello.

More Than the Sum of Our Parts

11-01-2018

We start with the premise, “Get comfortable with the uncomfortable.” Collaboration is not a simple process – it is so much easier just to insulate your organization and do everything in exactly the way you would like. But then the larger purpose that so many of us are working towards – life-changing opportunities for young people that are made possible by equitable music education for all – will never be achieved.

From the Editor

11-01-2018

More than the sum of our parts. We tell our students that’s what an orchestra is. Violins plus clarinets, trombones plus marimbas plus cellos—all those disparate musical essences combined create something that is unimaginable when hearing each of them separately. The whole is of a different order.

The One American in SEYO

11-01-2018

Last August, I had the good fortune to be the only U.S. musician in the Sistema Europe Youth Orchestra. SEYO generously offered me that opportunity because I was born in Birmingham, England – the site of the “SEYO 18” Festival – and was back visiting the city after living in the States for 14 years.

From the Editor

10-01-2018

Do you think of yourself as a teaching artist? Many teachers in the global Sistema use that term to describe what they do. Sometimes, though, there can be a lack of clarity about what it means – and a lack of awareness that there is, in fact, a powerful and growing global movement for Teaching Artistry, just as there is for El Sistema.

Take A Stand Junior Strings

10-01-2018

The creation of the forty-member Junior String Ensemble for this year’s Take a Stand Festival was a new step for the TAS Festival – and its success was beyond all expectations. The student musicians came wonderfully prepared. Our curriculum for them went beyond learning the concert repertoire to include leadership skills, chamber music skills, and interaction with a living composer.

Meet the National Alliance for Audition Support

10-01-2018

For El Sistema students with aspirations to pursue music as a career, the idea of becoming a professional orchestral musician can seem daunting. It can be a tough, competitive journey, and for Black and Latinx musicians, who currently represent less than 5% of musicians in American orchestras, the journey can present challenges not readily understood or acknowledged by others in the field. To address these challenges, three organizations are working together to support musicians of color in achieving success.

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