The Ensemble

The Ensemble is a monthly newsletter reporting the latest developments in the El Sistema USA movement: Tricia Tunstall, Editor and Eric Booth, Publisher. To subscribe (no cost), please send an email of request to:

Social Action Thru Music Symposium 2012

As of December 2012, teachers in El Sistema-inspired programs in the U.S. had not yet had the opportunity to sit down together at length to discuss this unprecedented challenge — how can we grow the El Sistema-inspired seeds of teaching and learning practices on U.S. soil. At the symposium, we identified the key topics commonly faced, and distilled our current understandings, practices, and experiments in the crucial areas of curriculum, teaching methods, classroom management, musical basics, use of chorus, repertoire, and more. We explored promising practices through short activities, and we learned through our colleagues’ reports of mistakes and successes; we also identified experiments teachers can take home and try. With experienced lead teachers Kathleen Krull, Rebecca Harris, Eric Rasmusse and Joe Hamm, facilitator Eric Booth guided an active and penetrating inquiry into what we have learned as pioneers in this field, and how we can all get better. There was an opportunity to join the leadership seminar participants investigating issues of shared concern, such as teacher professional development, family and community engagement/education, and advocacy.

Philadelphia Teaching Seminar Summary Document

Philadelphia Leadership Seminar Supplemental Documents
is a resource for emerging and established leaders in non-profit arts, educational, and social organizations interested in El Sistema and the power of improving young lives through the pursuit of music. This highly interactive seminar was designed to explore special topics in leadership, management, governance, fundraising, and advocacy, encountered when building music programs for social change. Each session of the leadership track explored a particular strategic topic, with the facilitator first providing a framework of best-practices and current knowledge, followed by El Sistema program executives relating how they handled similar situations in their organizations; finally the session topic opened to a facilitated “consultative” discussion of participants’ related issues and concerns. Sessions provided opportunities for shared problem solving in which all session presenters and participants were encouraged to actively explore together the issues encountered by today’s leaders as they attempt to build and sustain strong programs inspired by El Sistema.

Sistema Global Literature Review
The Sistema Global Literature Review is an inclusive document and represents a wide range of perspectives, not necessarily the views of El Sistema leadership. As in common practice, it’s the intent of this paper to report what’s been written about El Sistema and comment only to the extent of helping make that information accessible and useful. Andrea Creech and her diligent and insightful team have provided an excellent Executive Summary that mirrors the outline of the full report and where complete references and original sources are listed.

El Sistema and Sistema-Inspired Programmes

Recommended reading for Teaching Artists

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? In this groundbreaking work, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle provides parents, teachers, coaches, businesspeople — and everyone else — with tools they can use to maximize potential in themselves and others.