coverConceived in . . . [a] collaborative spirit and with the critical understanding of El Sistema as a non-system, this book intends to support the advancement of such an open, adaptable movement. My hope is that its readers will contribute in a full and meaningful way toward creating a new era of music education in other countries.” -Dr. José Antonio Abreu, Founder, El Sistema

El Sistema – “the system” – is a music education phenomenon. Since its inception 40 years ago, over a million Venezuelan children from many different socio-economic backgrounds have participated in its mission of “social change through music.” This collection of essays, edited by Christine Witkowski, offers practical information for those seeking knowledge, inspiration or guidance for adapting El Sistema to widely diverse settings, particularly within the USA.

This book explores the voices and experiences of teachers, leaders, parents, and experts from related fields through four main sections:

I. Why El Sistema? gives a historical and philosophical overview of El Sistema in Venezuela and evidence of its value in arts education and advocacy in the twenty-first century.

II. Understanding Communities offers brief portraits of El Sistema programs in widely varying contexts in the United States, Europe, and Asia, and shares caveats to consider when working within communities in crisis.

III. Teaching and Learning describes practices and attitudes that empower and engage students, teachers, and musicians in the El Sistema classroom.

IV. Groundwork provides sketches of practical and administrative solutions that support a program’s development, growth, and connection to the movement.

The essays in El Sistema: Music For Social Change are fascinating, touching, shocking and awe-inspiring, describing a project that is truly revolutionary.

Published by Omnibus PressISBN: 9781785580055.

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Proceeds from the sale of this book will support the students and families of Youth Orchestra Los Angeles (YOLA) at Heart of Los Angeles (HOLA)