El Sistema USA

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

Making Time for the Milestones

01-05-2021

This past summer, the evening that Play On Philly (POP) presented its virtual showcase concert happened to mark the ten-year anniversary of our decision to launch the program. As I sat at my laptop watching, I felt sad not to be celebrating that milestone in person with my POP family. But I also felt gratitude as I reflected on how our community has supported each other since the day we started. We have always embraced the El Sistema philosophy and encouraged our students and teachers to reach for levels of learning and engagement we know are possible to achieve.

Connect.Adapt.Thrive! El Sistema USA Releases Theme for 2021 National Symposium and Seminario

12-01-2020

El Sistema USA has released the theme for their 2021 National Symposium and Seminario, charging the field to “Connect.Adapt.Thrive!The event, now in its third year, will be held virtually and will be hosted by the Sistema-inspired program Miami Music Project. It will take place from February 15-19, 2021, and focus on three main areas: Racial Diversity and Cultural Understanding, Musical Excellence during the pandemic, and Team and Family Support pre- and post-pandemic. Requests for session proposals are due December 15. Proposal submissions can be made here.

New Uniform Test 11-19-2020

11-19-2020

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Northeast Seminario Drop Party Recording

10-07-2020

From August 10–14, El Sistema USA and the Collective Conservatory partnered to host the Northeastern Seminario, this time with a special focus on blues music. Eight programs from the Northeast participated in this virtual Seminario, providing the 60 participating young musicians with many opportunities to connect and collaborate. Their week of jamming and improvising together will be presented in a live “Drop Party,” taking place Thursday, October 8, at 7:00 p.m. EDT. Check out ESUSA’s Facebook page for the watch link, which will be accessible after the event as well.

The Importance of Mission Statements

07-07-2020

How do you describe your program to funders? What stories do you tell, and how do they affect your students? These were some of the questions explored in a session called “How We Talk about Our Programs: The Stories We Tell Ourselves,” that I facilitated alongside Dr. Tia Harvey of Accent Pontiac at the El Sistema USA Symposium in January 2020.

Editorial: April 2020

04-07-2020

For the past year, I have enjoyed meeting with a group of educators and administrators from the El Sistema USA community who seek to collectively define “equity.” Our goal is to educate ourselves about big ideas—systemic access barriers, intersectionality and identity, culturally responsive teaching—and articulate what they mean for us. At the core of these conversations is the idea that El Sistema–inspired programs are uniquely positioned to work toward equity. Maestro Abreu paved the way with his vision of universal access and social change through music education; today, in our North American context, the El Sistema-inspired field must engage with the dynamics of race, class, gender, ability, language, and social factors. If we seek to deeply know and empower our students, these conversations are crucial.

The 2020 El Sistema USA Symposium & Seminario

03-03-2020

Long before I joined The Ensemble newsletters editorial team a few months ago, I knew about El Sistema. I had read about it, listened to interviews, spoken with people inside the movement. But I hadn’t lived it—had barely seen it up close. I grew up playing jazz and orchestral pieces, but my professional background is as an editor, not a music educator. So I arrived in Durham for the 2020 El Sistema USA Symposium and Seminario expecting to listen to a language I barely understood.

News Notes, December 2020

12-03-2019

Creative Youth Development (CYD) is a theory of practice integrating creative skill-building, inquiry and expression with positive youth development principles. These principles can fuel young people’s imaginations and assist in building critical learning and life skills.

News Notes, November 2019

11-05-2019

El Sistema USA recently announced the launch of the El Sistema USA Working Groups. These groups provide both a virtual and in-person space for leaders to come together to discuss and share best practices and challenges they face.

The El Sistema USA National Symposium

03-01-2019

It was clear that the 2019 El Sistema USA National Symposium was going to be special when, in the midst of a historic cold spell, over 200 attendees representing 80 different El Sistema-inspired organizations braved sub-zero temperatures to attend. Attendees arrived early for the welcome and filled the ballroom with the type of vibrant energy surrounding a convening of friends for their annual trip. Christine Taylor Conda, the ESUSA board chair, chose to forgo the typical welcome and, instead, immediately had the entire room singing a three-part song to meet and welcome one another, setting a tone of collaboration and camaraderie for the symposium.

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