Perspectives & Collective Action

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

Embracing the Unexpected

05-05-2020

It’s built into our DNA to think, plan, and act towards the future. Your brain is wired to do amazing things, right at this moment.

Online Learning In Denver Deepens Relationships

04-07-2020

As words like pandemic, quarantine, and social distancing enter our daily vocabulary, El Sistema–inspired programs everywhere are asking the same question: How do we continue making music in the midst of COVID-19? El Sistema Colorado, like so many other organizations, went online.

Editorial: April 2020

04-07-2020

For the past year, I have enjoyed meeting with a group of educators and administrators from the El Sistema USA community who seek to collectively define “equity.” Our goal is to educate ourselves about big ideas—systemic access barriers, intersectionality and identity, culturally responsive teaching—and articulate what they mean for us. At the core of these conversations is the idea that El Sistema–inspired programs are uniquely positioned to work toward equity. Maestro Abreu paved the way with his vision of universal access and social change through music education; today, in our North American context, the El Sistema-inspired field must engage with the dynamics of race, class, gender, ability, language, and social factors. If we seek to deeply know and empower our students, these conversations are crucial.

U.S. Sistema Programs Respond to Pandemic

04-02-2020

In the U.S., Sistema programs shut down in early March—first one, then a few, and within a week, all of them. As safety issues were clear, there was little energy wasted on resisting the hard choice. All the predictable, wonderful energy that had been building toward culminating projects and special fundraising events was immediately redistributed into three basic concerns: money questions (Can we keep paying staff? Can we raise the money we need in other ways?), event questions (How do we provide a sense of celebration and culmination for the year’s work?), and student learning questions (How do we keep the learning going online?).

Rediscovering Our Passion and Purpose during the Coronavirus Pandemic

04-02-2020

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.”  One of the best known, most philosophical yet universally accessible passages of the Bible (Ecclesiastes, 3:1) sets a consoling frame. Yet who knows for how many seasons the COVID-19 turmoil will last as an unprecedented challenge? So many questions: Why now? Why was it not possible to avoid, or at least predict, and prepare? Why so many different approaches to one identified enemy? Did any of us expect to see such a catastrophic phenomenon over our lifetimes?

Nurturing the Artistry in Leadership: Wind Conductor Development In Chile

04-02-2020

This was my initial mindset in December of 2019, when I received news that I was to lead a Wind Conductor Intensive in Santiago as part of my work with the Global Leaders Program. I was delighted to learn that one of my most important early mentors, Maestro Carl Hammond, would also be in Santiago working with me as a co-clinician on this course.

Music Was Made in the Jungle

03-04-2020

In a little jungle-engulfed town in the Bolivian Amazon sits a music program that has changed the region’s social, cultural, and artistic complexion: The Music School of San Ignacio de Moxos. The school began without much forethought. Seeing it as an opportunity to pass along the musical legacy of Jesuit missions, a nun of the order of the Ursulines of Jesus opened the school in 1996 to encourage musical learning among her teenagers. Despite its modest aspirations, the school grew into something more impactful than she ever could have expected.

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.

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.

Partnering with Parents

11-02-2019

The People’s Music School (TPMS) is the first 100% free music school of its kind in the country. Founded in 1976 by Rita Simo, an immigrant from the Dominican Republic, our school has grown into a strong community movement. We serve 1,000 students ages 5-18 through programs in the four corners of Chicago: Uptown, Albany Park, Back of the Yards and Bronzeville.

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