Venezuela’s El Sistema will hold a World Congress of El Sistema on September 28th, 29th, and 30th. The virtual event is designed to foster an exchange of ideas on topics of global relevance for like-spirited programs and projects around the world. The Congress will include discussions, presentations, workshops, and screenings, all with Spanish-English translation. Focal topics will include organizational and pedagogical issues, artistic vision, social impact, research in the field, child and youth protection policies, and fundraising.
Three conferences this fall promise to spark your creativity and passion. And, happily, none of them fall on the same day:
The 2021 YOLA National Symposium will be held October 20–23, 2021. Happening both in person and virtually, the Symposium will explore the theme of Embracing Change: how to “adopt a transformational approach to teaching, learning, and program design for a stronger future for our young people and communities.” The array of sessions will provide attendees with opportunities to collaborate, share, learn, train, and network. Registration opens on June 3, and the deadline to submit a proposal is July 15. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions and visit the YOLA site to register and learn more.
Thanks to an anonymous donor, YOLA and the LA Phil are launching a new regranting initiative for creative youth development and music programs across the U.S.
Assal Habibi, Principal Investigator, Brain and Music Program, Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles; Beatriz Ilari, Department Chair, Music Teaching and Learning, USC
The past two decades of psychological and neuroscientific research on music have provided robust evidence that learning to play music can support brain maturation and the development of cognitive and social skills in children and adolescents. Learning an instrument requires long hours of practice, focused attention, memory, and discipline; mastering one involves the continuous capacity to improve motor, auditory, and executive skills, and is likely to influence the differential development, maintenance, and function of certain brain structures and systems.
To honor the four decades of service that Leni Boorstin has dedicated to the Los Angeles Philharmonic in shaping their community and learning programs, with a central role in launching YOLA, the L.A. Phil has created The Leni Boorstin YOLA Administrative Fellowship. This is a paid annual fellowship for two young people, to provide YOLA graduates an even greater role in shaping its future. Working alongside staff members at the new Beckman YOLA Center at Inglewood, they will contribute to the learning programs and build connections in the community.
Tricia Tunstall, Executive Editor, The Ensemble Newsletters
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.
YOLA National at Home, this year’s online version of the annual YOLA National Festival and Symposium, offers keynotes (Thomas Wilkins and Gustavo Dudamel), community and artist conversations, teaching tools, and project-based learning opportunities for youth and adults. Students, educators, and artists are invited into these interactive experiences, held 3–4 times per week over Zoom and YouTube Live from July 10–31. Register for updates here. YOLA is also partnering with Project 440 to provide musicians of the YOLA National Festival Orchestras with a six-week virtual program on using art as a vehicle for positive change and how to prepare for college or conservatory.
Robert Saunders, Music Education Director, Miami Music Project, FL
As learning programs of every kind and in every part of the world find ways to respond to the global health crisis, El Sistema-inspired programs are doing what we encourage our students to do: we are learning from one another. At Miami Music Project, we quickly reached out to El Sistema USA about creating resources for other El Sistema-inspired programs. We were excited to learn that Monique Van Willingh, Director of the Masters of Arts in Teaching (MAT) program at Longy School of Music at Bard College, was already working to develop a webinar series with the goal of sharing field experiences and best practices of organizations that are successfully transitioning to digital programming. Since summer camp activities are the immediate concern for many El Sistema-inspired programs around North America, El Sistema USA President Katie Wyatt reached out to several program leaders to begin sharing their experiences and innovations in this area.
Institutional funders of El Sistema-inspired programs are typically limited to those dedicated to the arts and arts education. Foundations supporting social programs might think, “Why would we fund Sistema? That’s arts, which we don’t do.”