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The El Sistema Philosophy

The Youth Orchestras program provides unique, intensive, ensemble-based instruction that is inspired by the philosophy of the Venezuelan musical youth development program, El Sistema. El Sistema has gained both national and international recognition as a widely successful music and social program that facilitates the development of skills and core competencies and promotes long-term social success.

The goal of El Sistema is to strengthen executive function skill development and intrinsic motivation through collective musical ensemble learning. It also increases social capital through the development of positive relationships with peers, parents and other adults.  In addition, the El Sistema philosophy promotes civic engagement of youth by instilling problem solving and leadership skills that are transferrable into out-of-program contexts.

El Sistema has had international reach and impact, and has inspired networks of programs in numerous other countries, including Columbia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Korea, Sweden, Scotland, and the United States.

In the United States, El Sistema has been widely acclaimed. While interest in El Sistema has percolated since at least 2007, the intensity of that interest increased significantly when in 2009 Gustavo Dudamel, a product of El Sistema, was named Music Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Maestro Abreu, the founder, received the TED Prize to fund a training program at the New England Conservatory to train young leaders to build and run El Sistema inspired programs in the United States. Since then over 100 new El Sistema inspired programs have been created that use intensive, ensemble-based programming for at-risk youth. Over 6,000 children currently participate in El Sistema programs across the U.S. with the number rapidly increasing by the month.

For more information about El Sistema please visit:

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