North America

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

Framing “Classical” Music in Racial Equity Contexts


Calling orchestral or so-called classical music “white music” isn’t a framing that fits comfortably around many folks’ practice. This is particularly true for ALAANA (African, Latino/a, Asian, Arab, Native American) practitioners or those who teach ALAANA students. I get that on a personal level.

Being a Servant and an Artist


The National Take a Stand Festival has ended, and 101 students are returning home to over 25 states, each with an intimate and personal experience. Here is the experience of just one of those 101.

National Take a Stand Festival & Symposium


I remember that the first Take a Stand Symposium in 2012 was shaped by questions such as “How should we go about starting an El Sistema program?” and “What outcomes should we evaluate, and how?” This year’s symposium, which included YOLA students as participants, was framed by very different questions, signaling our relative maturity as a field.



On Saturday night, July 22, there were 101 young musicians on the stage of the Walt Disney Concert Hall: the first-ever national Sistema orchestra of the United States.

One hundred and one – there is something intensely human about that number. It suggests that the organizers set out to recruit a hundred student musicians – but then there was that one more vivid, luminous youngster they couldn’t leave out.

Helping Teenage Students


The Youth Apprentice Program grew directly out of a need expressed by high school-aged students at MYCincinnati, an El Sistema-inspired program now entering its seventh year. They wanted to continue playing music at MYCincinnati, but they felt pressure to gain meaningful work experience, support their families, and begin a path toward financial independence. This new program provides meaningful employment, job training, and work experience for current MYCincinnati students.

From the Publisher


How much should teaching artists in El Sistema-inspired programs be paid?

It’s a fool’s mission to come up with a hard number, because there are too many variables and particularities to factor in. But I can bring some hard-number research to bear on the question.


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