June 2018

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


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.

The Global Challenge


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.

El Sistema Kenya 2018 Updates


El Sistema Kenya (ESK) has just celebrated its fourth year of working with children in Nairobi. ESK currently has three staff members who handle program logistics and finances, and six teachers who teach violin, clarinet, flute, recorder, singing, and music theory. They are working with over 200 children in three different slums in Nairobi.

A New Sistema-Inspired Program in the Pacific Islands


Ensemble Nambanga, a new El Sistema-inspired ensemble of young string students, is taking shape in Port Vila, the capital city of the Pacific island nation Vanuatu.  The name Nambanga refers to the banyan tree. Banyans are deep-rooted, strong trees that grow to enormous proportions and have deep spiritual meaning for the Vanuatu people.

FEATURE: The Americas Take On Collaborative Composition: A Right Answer to the Hard Questions


It’s even more important than I thought.  The Ensemble and The World Ensemble have published positive pieces in the past about the Collaborative Composition (CC) work that Dan Trahey leads with other teaching artists in support, but this was the first time I witnessed most of the full process.  It is educationally and artistically powerful, and bursting with potential for the El Sistema-inspired movement.


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