El Sistema is a success story of unprecedented proportions in music, education and youth development, often cited as one of the significant musical and social accomplishments in the world. Each El Sistema-inspired program is unique to the community and culture of its participants and is generally a vehicle for social change and betterment through the teaching of music. El Sistema, began in Venezuela in 1975 uses peer to peer teaching and an emphasis on group music-making. In 1975 Venezuela had only two orchestras, and today they have 400,000 of the nation’s youth participating in El Sistema. There are more than 100 El Sistema-inspired programs currently in the United States. B Sharp Youth Music, a member of El Sistema USA, is the only El Sistema-inspired program in North Texas.
Our goals and initiatives were developed from the core values and principals of El Sistema. However, we have adapted these to the culture and values of the communities we serve. In order to have a better understanding our program, an understanding of El Sistema is important.
El Sistema is … a set of inspiring ideals which inform an intensive youth music program that seeks to effect social change through the ambitious pursuit of musical excellence. El Sistema focuses primarily on children with the fewest resources and greatest need.
El Sistema Core Values:
• Every human being has the right to a life of dignity and contribution, filled with beauty.
• Every child can learn to experience and express music and art deeply, can receive its many benefits, and can make different critical life choices as a result of this learning.
• Overcoming poverty and adversity is best done by strengthening the spirit, creating, as Dr. Abreu puts it, “an affluence of the spirit,” and investing that affluence as a valued asset in a community endeavor to create excellence and beauty in music.
• Effective education is based on love, approval, joy, and consistently successful experiences within a high-functioning, aspiring, nurturing community. Every child has limitless possibilities and the ability to strive for excellence. “Trust the young,” informs every aspect of the work.
To learn more about El Sistema USA, please visit the following website: https://www.elsistemausa.org/
Jose Antonio Abreu is the charismatic founder of a youth orchestra system that has transformed thousands of kids’ lives in Venezuela.