Our INSPIRATION: El Sistema
· MusicWorks! is a part of a larger after school intensive music program movement called El Sistema. El Sistema is a government financed music education program in Venezuela founded by Jose Antonio Abreu, a Venezuelan musician, activist and educator.
· El Sistema provides free after school and weekend music instruction to impoverished youth in Venezuela. There are currently 416 sites, 1,210 youth orchestras, 372 choruses, and 8,929 teachers.
· Maestro Abreu said, “Music has to be recognized as an agent of social development, in the highest sense because it transmits the highest values - solidarity, harmony, mutual compassion. And it has the ability to unite an entire community, and to express sublime feelings.”
· EL Sistema’s Core Values as described by Eric Booth (January, 2012):
1. Every human being has the right to a life of dignity and contribution, filled with beauty.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Learning organizations never arrive but are always becoming—striving to include: more students, deeper impact, greater musical excellence, better teaching, improved tools, more joy. Thus, flexibility, experimentation, risk-taking, and collegial exchange are inherent aspects of every program.”