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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.

From the Editor

07-01-2018

“Cell phones and social media.”

That was the succinct answer I got from a Sistema teacher I spoke with recently, when I asked her why she said her job is getting harder, not easier. She added, “And this year, it’s really ramped up; the problem is worse than it’s ever been.”

Music Therapy & Sistema

07-01-2018

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The Great Lakes El Sistema Seminario

06-28-2018

On June 27-28, Goshen College hosted the Great Lakes El Sistema Seminario in Goshen, Indiana.

From the Editor

06-01-2018

A recent article in the academic journal JAMA Pediatrics, on the subject of teaching students self-regulation, bears the subtitle “A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” – a phrase so densely academic that I almost stopped reading right there. But I’m glad I didn’t. There’s some important good news here for Sistema programs.

Summer Camps for Young Sistema Musicians

06-01-2018

In the vast network of Sistema-inspired programs across the U.S., there is nearly as vast an array of summer programs. Each summer camp has distinguishing features, but all are united around a common purpose: preventing “summer learning loss.” Every executive director and program director surveyed for this article told me that summer programs are important bridges of learning between one year and the next.

The Global Challenge

06-01-2018

When I was 12 years old, I was invited to join the Los Llanos Symphony Orchestra in Guanare, Venezuela. I was the youngest of a group of children who joined the orchestra that year. The first rehearsal was of Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony. I have never in my life felt more lost than I did in that rehearsal. Three years later, I became co-principal cellist of this orchestra, along with my former teacher.

From the Editor

05-01-2018

In this issue, we are taking the unprecedented (for us) step of adding a third page. We decided that a third page was necessary to honor and to mourn Draylen Mason, a young bass player and student leader in the Austin Soundwaves program who was killed last month. We also decided that the Action of the Month should be a symbolic action of mourning by all programs.

Jazzing Up Sistema Relevance

05-01-2018

To many classically trained musicians, the El Sistema program model of learning in group classes and ensembles is very different from how we learned. However, the development of technique and discipline, and the understanding of music that comes with classical training, are just as important for playing in other genres. Classical training provides a foundation that can be used for learning any style of music. The notes, rhythms, and instrumental techniques are the same in classical music as they are in jazz. Professional brass bands may play the same notes and rhythms to Liza Jane as our students would, but in a different key, with open sections for improvisation and with a different sound.

Engaging Family

05-01-2018

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Interning Into Leadership

04-01-2018

At the age of ten, I was chosen to be part of Tuned In, an El Sistema program at the Peabody Institute in Baltimore. During my eight years there, Dan Trahey, the director, gave the students opportunities to intern with other programs. As a middle school student, I was able to choose between going to band camp and interning at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Orchkids program. I loved Orchkids in particular, so I chose that program, and started my first summer internship there in eighth grade. Orchkids was also an El Sistema program, so it felt like home. The students were like me; we faced the same problems and challenges, we had the same interests, and we all just wanted to play music. I interned at Orchkids every summer through high school, and I learned so much not only about music but also about administration, skills I could use in the real world.

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