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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.

The YOLA National Festival and Symposium in Los Angeles

08-02-2019

In July, the Los Angeles Philharmonic sponsored the YOLA National Festival and Symposium, a multi-dimensional gathering for the El Sistema movement in the United States. The Festival was an intensive orchestral training program for students ages 12-18 from across the country; close to 150 young musicians came together for two weeks of immersive rehearsals, sectionals, concerts, and community-building activities. 

An American in Gothenburg

08-01-2019

Often, when we think about the word ‘culture,’ we think about the qualities of a communityits shared music, food, or religion. However, the word is derived from the Latin word ‘colere,’ which means to tend or cultivate; so when we take a more active perspective, we can define culture as ‘the medium for growth.’

FROM THE EDITOR August 2019

08-01-2019

Dr. Bettina Love, the author and cultural philosopher whose riveting keynote speech kicked off last week’s YOLA National Symposium in Los Angeles, teaches her education students at the University of Georgia a course called “Black and Brown Excellence.”

Impressions from the YOLA National Festival

08-01-2019

The U.S. El Sistema movement came together in Los Angeles last week for the YOLA National Festival and Symposium. Two Festival ensembles of students chosen from Sistema programs across the country spent an intense week rehearsing and performing together, while the Symposium brought program leaders and teaching artists together for dialogue.

Changing Lives; Changing Interlochen

07-01-2019

I first discovered Interlochen as a young child. The campus is just seven miles from my grandparents’ summer cottage, and my love of classical music was inspired by Interlochen Public Radio.

Fostering Epic Parents

07-01-2019

EPIC Music, in St. Johnsbury, VT, was one of four El Sistema-inspired organizations recently invited to partner with a team of Duke University undergraduates to explore parent engagement in El Sistema USA member organizations. Parent engagement is an important goal for us; we have talked for more than a year about offering violin workshops for parents, so that they can understand our students’ challenges and learn how to help their children practice at home.

Editorial: July 2019

07-01-2019

I went last week to Side By Side By El Sistema Swe- den, an intensive international music camp spon- sored by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra in partnership with the city and El Sistema Sweden. Let’s start with the statistics.

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.

FROM THE EDITOR, June 2019

06-01-2019

When a famous conductor finishes an artist residency at a storied Ivy League university, he should be given a proper sendoff, right?

The members of the El Sistema New Jersey Alliance, which includes all the Sistema-inspired programs in the state, thought so. So they brought in a 250-piece orchestra to do the job.

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.

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