Teaching & Learning

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

Resources, December 2020

12-03-2019

If you are inspired by the lead article in this issue of The Ensemble and are interested in starting an El Sistema-inspired school, the Walton Family Foundation: Innovative Schools Program grant can help. They support educators who open all types of K-12 schools, particularly schools that look and feel truly different, achieve unprecedented outcomes, serve high-need students, and embrace successes and challenges to share with other schools.

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.

Announcing the launch of Music In Action Journal: A Knowledge Hub for the Frontlines of Music-For-Social-Action

06-15-2019

When cultural historians reflect on the late 20th and early 21st centuries, one of the most significant paradigm shifts noted will be the explosion of music-for-social-action initiatives across the globe. Inspired by the work of pioneering figures including Jorge Peña Hen, José Antonio Abreu, Ana Milena Muñoz de Gaviria, Hilda Ochoa-Brillembourg, Ricardo Castro, and others, largely in Latin America, the centuries-old platform of the symphony orchestra has found renewed purpose at the epicenter of grassroots transformations from inner-city Port-Au-Prince to rural Canada, from Scotland to Kenya, from Jamaica to Honduras.

El Sistema Hong Kong

06-02-2019

El Sistema Hong Kong (ESHK) is a registered charitable institution that since 2017 has provided free-of-charge musical training to people of all ages in difficult social and economic conditions.

Ten Years of Learning

06-01-2019

After 10 years of programming at Harmony Project’s YOLA EXPO site, what have we learned?

We have learned that 7 years old is generally too young to start the French horn; it’s better to wait until at least 10 years of age. We learned that it’s best to start classes a few weeks after school starts, and end them a few weeks before the school year ends.

Illuminating True Progress for All Students

06-01-2019

As a Sistema movement, the two main goals we aspire to are musical growth and social growth. We often use some iteration of the motto “social change through music.” However, it is often hard to show data that supports this. El Sistema-inspired programs tend to more easily keep track of information pertaining to musical growth. They accomplish this through playing tests, juries, and concerts.

The Archipelago Project

04-01-2019

The Archipelago Project’s objective is to empower student creativity and ownership by supplying musical knowledge, performance opportunities, and professional models to inspire the next generation of engaged musicians. For the past 15 years, Archipelago Project’s iterative process in curriculum design has resulted in our Musical Leadership Academy, a summer music camp focused on providing a diverse population of students and teaching artists with opportunities to create music together, learn when to lead and to listen, and thrive in the ensemble as a metaphor for community.

Social Change from Within: Learning Human Values Through Music

03-30-2019

Social change, the primary objective of most El Sistema programs, is usually thought of as an external challenge. Addressing such challenges as poverty, violence, racism, inequitably funded schools, language barriers, and other familiar obstacles to success often involves outside foundations bringing in programs to the communities of need. This work is critical and important, and needs to continue and grow. However, because true change also must come from within a community, looking within ourselves to more reflective practices can help provide context, clarity, and purpose.

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