the world ensemble

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

Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra: Opening Global Doors for Local Teacher Development

10-12-2020

In July 2020, I was scheduled to deliver workshops for the local teachers of the Antigua and Barbuda Youth Symphony Orchestra (ABYSO), the first youth symphony orchestra in the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. The global lockdown as a result of COVID-19 abruptly put an end to work in person, and as the world started to embrace principles of working remotely, I began to think about whether I could turn this barrier into an opportunity: if I could demonstrate that teacher development does not necessarily need intervention in person, this could become a more sustainable model for ABYSO and for other similar organizations around the world. Over the following weeks, I developed a ten-week remote teacher development program, aimed at empowering local teachers to provide an inspiring musical education for children within their own community.

Ceding the Floor to Young People in Crisis Times

10-07-2020

Have you ever wondered what the future will be like? Will future leaders be more aware and empathetic? At El Sistema Greece (ESG), such questions never cease to concern us. How do we help our young people become the leaders they’re capable of being?

Shaping Curricula to Overcome Resource Scarcity

10-07-2020

The first time I smelled tear gas, it was a January morning around 10:00 a.m. I was sitting in the car alongside Franco Toro Contreras, the Music Director at Enrique Soro Music School in Quilicura, Chile. Franco picked me up every morning from Monday through Friday at the “Zona Cero” in Santiago, ten miles from the school. Against a backdrop of political and economic upheaval, we drove every morning through the smell of tear gas that had been deployed against protesters the previous night. Despite this troubled socio-political situation—and the fact that I was teaching summer classes—I noticed that attendance never wavered throughout my time at the school.

Government Support Is Essential, Especially Right Now

10-07-2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has deeply affected many economic sectors across the world—none more so than the cultural and creative industries. Cultural heritage infrastructures, museums, libraries, galleries, cinemas, and arts education institutions have been locked down. Shows, exhibitions, fairs, cultural tourism, and international exchange opportunities for artists have been canceled. Millions of artists have lost their jobs, and people everywhere have lost access to cultural life. Less visible but equally important are the millions more whose jobs depend on the work of artists.

Ambassadors Updates, October 2020

10-07-2020

This month, the Ambassadors decided to take a break from reporting about their programs to share stories about the places they call home. Watch our five-minute compilation video of experiences and from around the world!

Saved by Music Foundation: Restoring Hope and Building Trust

10-07-2020

Saved by Music Foundation is a community-based non-governmental organization located in Mbale, a city in eastern Uganda. As a former street child who was saved from the streets by music, I started the organization in 2009. Children face many challenges in our community—extreme poverty, child abuse, drug abuse, child pregnancies and marriages, lack of access to education and housing, and so much more. As a result, many children become hopeless. It is easy to fall victim to the streets, where many start using drugs or join criminal gangs, putting their lives on the line while becoming dangers to the community. It was in these circumstances that I decided to do something to help restore hope among children and youth like me.

Editorial: Virtual Music-Making as a Tool for Diplomacy

09-02-2020

As the world went into lockdown this year, most educational institutions throughout the world adapted to a new virtual learning environment. Musical classes and performances were no exception. But music is fundamentally a field that relies on subtle human interactions, bringing people physically together. The abrupt change has meant unfamiliar territory for many.

Musicaustral Nurtures a Modern Latin Folk Music Community

08-05-2020

The story of Latin American folk music in 20th century Chile illustrates how artists reflect and impact societies. One of the most important figures of this period was Violeta Parra (1917-67), a visionary artist and activist known as the “Mother of Latin American Folk.” Parra led the Nueva Canción Chilena, a revival of Chilean folk music and traditions. Her life and work inspired generations of musicians who gave voice to social and political movements throughout Latin America.

Lessons in Listening

08-05-2020

Buffalo Public School #45 is the go-to public school for newly arrived refugees in Buffalo, NY. Speaking dozens of different languages and dialects, many of the school’s students are displaced from countries across the world. As we sat down in front of them, we introduced ourselves, our instruments, and the music we were about to play. Our audience was quiet, even distant. But as we placed our bows on our strings and the first notes emerged, everything changed.

Mentorship and Peer Collaboration at MusikSak

08-05-2020

MusikSak is a socially motivated string orchestra program based in Aarhus, Denmark. Both cellists, we founded the program in early 2015 after visiting El Sistema in Venezuela in 2013 and volunteering in two different programs (Oficina dos Sonhos and Atitude Cooperação) in Natal, Brazil in 2014.

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