El Sistema

SJMA is Canada’s first ever El Sistema inspired program. El Sistema is a music movement that first began as a modest program to introduce the wonders of music to children living in and around the poor districts of Caracas, Venezuela. Since then El Sistema has become a worldwide phenomenon, today teaching over half a million children. SJMA employs the five principles of El Sistema, some of which are a departure from traditional methods of music education.

  • Music is a tool for social change. Music is passion first, refinement second. The joyful expression of music is the energy that fuels the process for positive social transformation in the individual and the wider community.
  • Music learned and played together. Orchestra, choir and small groups effectively act as a model society, where competition between individuals is replaced with shared struggle. Maestro Abreu states that “the orchestra is the only group that comes together with the sole purpose of agreement.” Collaborative music-making refines social skills and teaches the value of a shared triumph.
  • Music by immersion. The learning experience is strengthened with frequent instruction. Young people are brought into the music experience often, as early in life as possible, and for as long as possible. Neither background nor ability is a detriment to participation.
  • Music for all. All barriers to music education are removed, including physical or cognitive ability, ethnicity, or belief, and most especially, lack of financial resources.
  • Music unites. Music binds people together in a spirit of cooperation and peace. Although El Sistema programs run independent of one another and often customize their respective course, all are connected through regional, national and international associations which unify the vision, and also provide opportunities and mutual support.

For teacher resources on El Sistema methods visit the resource category of our blog HERE.