Student Voice & Leadership
The Ensemble seeks to connect and inform all people who are committed to ensemble music education for youth empowerment and social change.
News & Resources
Enjoy this short documentary from Ottawa-based program OrKidstra about the highs and lows of musical growth and achievement. Produced entirely virtually, You Are Your Own Best Teacher: OrKidstra’s Masterclass Story is a 20-minute video that shares how OrKidstra members kept the music going during distance learning.
“Student voice” is a focus of many music for social change programs. This recording of the annual school show at Renaissance Arts Academy (created virtually in this pandemic year) sets a high bar for student originality and authentic expression. RenArts, as it’s called, is a charter school in Los Angeles that infuses artistry throughout its curriculum and offers extended-day Sistema-like programs in music and dance.
Toward the end of May, Melbourne experienced our fourth COVID-19 lockdown as a result of 26 new cases in two days. Unfortunately, the cases continued to increase, and the lockdown was extended from one week to two. As such, Pizzicato Effect once again returned to online learning. Happily, as we reached the third week of staying indoors, the number of daily cases decreased, and we were able to return to on-site learning.
The National Guild hosts weekly calls on Fridays at 6:30 p.m. EDT for young artists ages 13–24 across the country. The calls encourage these young artists to “artistically explore different art forms, challenges, and opportunities to thrive together.”
Amira Axelle Miel, Ambassador (Philippines)
I am honored to be a part of this year’s World Ensemble Ambassadors, a talented bunch of youth musicians from nine countries around the world. As much as I love sharing stories with them and writing about our respective programs, I also look forward to growing in my artistry through the mentorship that we receive as Ambassadors.
Christina Placilla, Director of Education, The Harmony Program, and Dan Trahey, Founder and Creative Director, The Collective Conservatory; Creator and Director, Tuned In, The Peabody Institute at the Johns Hopkins University; and Artistic Liaison, OrchKids, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Earlier this year, Dan Trahey and Pete Tashjian of The Collective Conservatory were invited by the Harmony Program to facilitate an eight-week Saturday-morning creativity workshop with students from multiple Harmony Program sites across New York City. The partnership was a natural fit. The Collective Conservatory’s work is rooted in creating environments that allow for personal expression, group problem-solving, self-esteem building through promoting individual assets, self-awareness, and increased musical skill sets. The Harmony Program, which provides after-school music education programs in underserved NYC communities, has long prioritized the development of Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) skills. As a natural extension of The Collective Conservatory’s programming, the workshop emphasized SEL to create a framework and pathway to concretely study creativity.
You may hear the old prejudice that “social” programs don’t produce musical excellence. Sistema NB student Shinie Wagaarachchi just won a major international prize in music performance.
This article on Lapsinäkökulma (Finnish for “Children’s Perspective”) presents the case for child-centered research from a doctoral student and researcher who is studying El Sistema programs in different countries.
Called “the X-prize for music” by Wired, the annual Guthman Musical Instrument Competition has announced its 2021 winners.
We are re-sharing this February resource for those who may have missed it: Please consider encouraging an extraordinary young person to apply for the Global Student Prize (aligned with the Global Teacher Prize).