Virtual Programming

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.

Youth-Driven Online Music-Making: Channeling innovation through the screen and into the global community

01-05-2021

For ensemble music learning programs, the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic seemed at first to mean a mandate to compromise music learning, by squeezing and narrowing curriculums to fit into a suddenly two-dimensional space. As time went on, however, the field blossomed with creative initiatives. For our programs, the crisis was a call to action not only to channel innovation through a screen, but also to blow it open into a far-reaching, multi-dimensional, and globally expansive experience. The key? Collaboration—the kind that stretches to every corner of the globe the Internet can touch.

Music for the Whole Community, One Backyard at a Time

01-05-2021

East Lake Expression Engine (ELEE), which began in 2014, serves the East Lake neighborhood of Chattanooga, Tennessee. We usually serve 75 to 100 kids each semester. Our program meets in a church that is conveniently located between the elementary and middle schools that serve our neighborhood. East Lake is wonderfully walkable; our staff members walk to the elementary school to pick up our students there, and our middle and high school students walk to us. Several of our staff members live in the neighborhood. This has long provided us with daily opportunities for casual, neighborly relationships with our students’ families. During 2020, that proximity has been invaluable.

Side By Side: Digital Video

09-16-2020

Back in June, El Sistema Sweden and the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra were forced to adapt their annual Side by Side music camp to COVID times, transitioning an event that usually hosts over 2,500 young musicians into an entirely virtual experience. Having long desired a digital platform to complement the in-person camp, they hit the ground running. The result? Side by Side Digital, a virtual music camp that hosted 700 participants from 30-plus countries. Their performance of The Lion King’s “Circle of Life,” put together by Christer Hedberg from &friends, combines self-filmed clips with camp recordings from the Concert Hall. In the words of ES Sweden, “‘Circle of Life’ represents for us in a very brilliant way the basic idea behind Side by Side—that music can unite us beyond all boundaries.”

(Re)Setting the Stage Announces Eight New Sessions

09-15-2020

The Global Leaders Program, The Spanish Association of Symphony Orchestras (AEOS), Classical:NEXT, and Banco de la República (Colombia) have announced a second season of their industry panel series (Re)Setting the Stage. Taking place from September 24 – December 17, Season II will feature eight conversations with arts leaders and those on the front lines of our sector, focusing on a wide variety of topics designed to help participants adapt to the evolving landscape of performing arts. Among the many themes are “Digital Divide & Cultural Inclusion: Connectivity & Accessibility after COVID-19,” “On Stage to On Demand: Growing Audiences into Communities,” and “On the Brink!: Public Funding & the Recovery of Cultural Institutions.” Registration is free and simple; sign up here and join these ongoing conversations with thought leaders in our field.

Brazil to the Silk Road, Handmade Drums to Pro Tools: How two youth music organizations in the UK are maintaining engagement and exploring new territory

09-02-2020

With the continuation of lockdown halting all live music activity, orchestras and ensembles are becoming more and more accustomed to this new ‘Zoom’ reality. In this article, I mention two recent online musical events I’ve been involved with, specifically the National Orchestra For All’s (NOFA) Online Summer Course and Jubacana’s Summer School. I also contribute my own observations about each occasion given that both events were the first of their kind for the respective organizations.

Collective Conservatory and The Harmony Project

09-02-2020

This year, despite the ongoing pandemic, students at the Harmony Project exercised their creativity while participating with the Collective Conservatory, an organization that offers immersive and meaningful musical-making experiences for communities to improve youth-development, restorative practices, and wellness.

Student Voices Take the Lead during YOLA National at Home

09-01-2020

For close to a decade, the month of July has meant national Sistema gatherings hosted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and this year was no different—except that it was extremely different, because it was all virtual: YOLA National at Home.

Editorial: August 2020

08-04-2020

For me, as for many, the pandemic has been a time of Janus-like reflection—simultaneously looking back and making plans for the future. I’ve been reflecting about the early years of the El Sistema movement in the United States: we were driven by Maestro Abreu winning the 2009 TED Prize, the fiery Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, the appointment of Gustavo Dudamel to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the growing media attention on El Sistema. We had that fire-in-the-belly impetus to found new organizations across the country, with dreams of a new wave of music education.

Prioritizing Families in NEOJIBA’s Virtual Programming

07-01-2020

NEOJIBA is a public El Sistema-inspired program in Brazil, founded by Ricardo Castro in 2007 and implemented by the State of Bahia through the Secretariat of Justice, Human Rights, and Social Development (Secretaria de Justiça, Direitos Humanos e Desenvolvimento Social). One of our most critical components is the Social Development Sector, which is composed of eight professionals with educational backgrounds in social work and psychology. These professionals work daily to ameliorate socioeconomic and educational inequalities that confront many of our students, and to provide full access to social rights. They also provide individual and/or group psychosocial appointments for students and their families. Through attentive and qualified listening, our professionals enable families to work through social circumstances and establish intervention strategies. These unfold in a set of actions, tailored to each individual or family, that help participants work through their specific issues.

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